Who Is a Good Candidate?
Abdominoplasty, also known as "tummy tuck," is a procedure that
is good for addressing excess skin and fat around the abdomen,
as well as for tightening stomach muscles that have been
stretched out after weight loss or pregnancy. Often, exercise
alone will not eliminate the laxity of the stomach wall that occurs
after pregnancy or weight loss, because it is not the muscles
themselves that have stretched out and become lax, but the
connecting tissue between the muscles that is now stretched.
Additionally, each person has connections between the skin and
the underlying tissue that are set, and if these set points of
connection are what cause pockets or fatty tissue or rolls of skin
to become more pronounced, no amount of exercise will get rid
of this either.
The "Mommy Makeover" refers to the combination of an
abdominoplasty and breast procedure done at the same time.
Abdominoplasty is done in an outpatient ambulatory surgery
center under general anesthesia. The procedure usually takes about
2 hours. It consists of an incision just above your pubic area from hip
to hip and also around your belly button. Your abdominal skin is raised and pulled tighter, and liposuction of the "love handle" area is sometimes done to give better definition to your waist. The stomach muscles (rectus abdominus) are sewn back together underneath all of this to act an "internal girdle." You will have 2 drains after surgery, and be wrapped up tightly in an abdominal binder.
Recovery from a tummy tuck is moderately difficult because so much of your everyday activity involves using your core muscles. Patients can generally shower after 48 hours. There will be 2 drains, the first of which is usually removed in the office around 1- 1 1/2 weeks after surgery. The second drain is taken out most typically between the 2-3 week mark after surgery. For 4-6 weeks, patients must not lift anything more than 5 lbs or do any high end exercise. Any targeted abdominal exercises should be avoided for 6-8 weeks total. An abdominal binder is worn 24/7 for the full 4-6 weeks to provide support and compression, and some patients choose to switch over to spanx type garments after 2-3 weeks when most of the swelling has subsided. Final results for a tummy tuck are usually not apparent until at least 6 months after surgery because it takes at least that long for the swelling to go away completely and the scar to become less apparent.