After losing a massive amount of weight due to dieting and exercise or after pregnancy, many individuals are disappointed in the results. Losing weight does not always equate a slim and tight abdomen because of loose skin. The professionals at Dr. Cooperman Plastics and Reconstruction are pleased to offer abdominoplasty, “tummy tuck”, to address this issue for patients.
Surgical intervention is often the only way to achieve a flat midsection if the skin has lost its elasticity. With tummy tuck surgery, the plastic surgeon eliminates excess skin and fat from the abdomen before repairing the underlying muscle. This results in an aesthetically pleasing tight and flat midsection.
Although tummy tuck surgery can improve the contour of the abdominal area, it is not intended as a tool for major weight loss. Instead, many patients opt for tummy tuck surgery after they have lost a massive amount of weight with bariatric, or weight-loss, surgery. The aesthetic results of tummy tuck surgery can be negatively affected if the patient regains a substantial amount of weight following the procedure.
Therefore, the ideal candidate for a tummy tuck should be slightly above or at their goal body weight. They must be confident they can maintain this weight after surgery, over the long run. Also, the plastic surgeon will advise women who plan to get pregnant in the future to postpone undergoing tummy tuck surgery until they are finished having children. The tummy tuck surgery will not rid the body of stretch marks, but may make them look less noticeable when the skin is pulled taut.
Keeping the above factors in mind, appropriate tummy tuck candidates generally include individuals who suffer from loose excess abdominal skin with poor elasticity, have severely damaged or possibly separated abdominal muscles, are at or just above their optimal body weight, are confident they can maintain that weight after surgery, are frustrated by localized pockets of fat that are resistant to healthy lifestyle efforts, are in sound overall health, both physically and mentally, and are not currently pregnant and do not plan to get pregnant in the future.
Tummy tuck surgery is almost always performed under general anesthesia and is usually performed on an outpatient basis. During the procedure, the surgeon will start with liposuction to remove excess fat from the area if necessary. The surgeon then makes a horizontal incision in the pubic region, extending from one hipbone to the other. Although the incision needed for tummy tuck is significant, it is strategically placed in an area that can be easily concealed by the underwear or bikini line.
Next, the plastic surgeon eliminates the excess skin before repairing the underlying musculature and other supporting tissue structures. To do so, the surgeon positions permanent internal stitches in a corset-like pattern to hold the repaired muscles and tissues in place after surgery. The remaining skin taut and closes the incision with dissolvable external sutures. He or she moves the navel so it is aligned with the newly contoured abdomen, using a second small incision located in the belly button to do so. The treated area is dressed with fluffy bandages and overlying compression garment that must be worn for several weeks after surgery, as directed by the surgeon.
Some patients may not require the full tummy tuck have the option of a modified or “mini” tummy tuck. This is a great option for patients who have poor muscle tone and skin elasticity but whose excess skin is limited to the region below the navel. The modified procedure removes skin exclusively from the lower abdomen and focuses on tightening the underlying musculature. The modified procedure typically requires a shorter incision and often leads to a quicker recovery when compared to full abdominoplasty. Liposuction can also be included in the modified procedure for optimal aesthetic results.
After the procedure and when the effects of the anesthesia have worn off, patients are free to return home in the care of an authorized adult. A responsible individual should stay with the patient for at least 24 hours after surgery. Patients recovering from abdominoplasty will require 2 weeks of rest off from normal activities. Patients should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities, but should walk around the house every few hours to minimize the chance of blood clot development.
It is normal for the abdomen to feel sore, tender or numb. The treatment area may also be swollen or bruised, but these symptoms are expected and should dissipate with time. Although some of the aesthetic benefits of tummy tuck are noticeable immediately after surgery, it will take about 12 weeks for the final results to become actualized, as this is how long it takes for any residual swelling to resolve and for the tissues to heal.
Contact Dr. Cooperman in Livingston, NJ to learn more about New Jersey tummy tuck procedures.