Sudden massive weight loss and pregnancy can cause the skin over the abdomen to droop. This can also occur in people who have had BARIATRIC SURGERY to lose weight. Looseness of the abdominal muscles which can lead to hernias can also be treated at the same time.
Unlike liposuction which is meant for removing fat only, abdominoplasty is more extensive and involves removal of fat, tightening of the musculature and removal of excess skin.
In some cases, liposuction surgery can be combined with excision of just the excess abdominal skin below the belly button ( this is called Mini Tummy Tuck). When a full tummy tuck is planned, contour liposuction is best performed at the same time. Liposuction (SAL) helps shape the thighs, back and sides. Abdominoplasty takes care of the loose abdominal skin. Occasionally minor touch up Liposuction is required later.
Tummy Tuck Surgery
Thorough liposuction of the abdominal skin is first carried out. The excess skin then moves more easily and the skin to be removed is marked. The incision is marked within the bikini line and the excess skin is excised, the belly button is then cored out. The abdominal muscles are tightened in the midline and if required in the lower abdomen. If there is a hernia that is also repaired at the same time. The belly button is brought through good skin and the incision closed in layers over a suction drain. Contrary to what you may think, the belly button is not removed during the operation.
Recovery from Tummy Tuck Surgery
After surgery, you will put in a pressure garment for about 6 weeks. There will be fluffy dressing over the suture line. You will feel sore for a few days but will be essentially mobile. The drains will be removed once the drainage volume is low. You will be discharged from the hospital in a couple of days. You will be able to walk and go about your routine activities with due care.
Risks of Tummy Tuck Procedure
Bleeding and infection rates are low in this surgical procedure. Since it is more invasive, there might be some residual unabsorbed fluid( Seroma) which will have to be drained. Rarely skin necrosis, fat necrosis and delayed healing of the incisions may occur. Very rarely due to associated medical conditions like diabetes, loss of skin may require corrective procedures in the form of skin grafting. This is much more likely in people who smoke heavily; hence cessation of smoking for a weeks is a must.
The scar is present in the bikini line and initially turns dark or red (depending on skin type). The scar fades with time and the areas become softer.
Early mobilization is very important as this prevents formation of blood clots in the legs. Injury to deeper organs is rare as the surgery is done under direct vision. CT scan is done before surgery to assess any weakness of the abdominal wall or pick up intra abdominal problems that can cause abdominal fullness.