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Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)

Abdominoplasty, a procedure otherwise known as a tummy tuck, is designed to tighten the muscles of a lax abdomen, remove the fat from around the waist and stomach with liposuction, and remove loose hanging or stretched skin from the area to get a firm abdomen. The corset trunkplasty is a body contouring procedure which can effectively remove the excess skin rolls in patients with massive weight loss who would like to improve their abdominal and waistline contours. Similar to a traditional abdominoplasty and belt lipectomy, the corset trunkplasty treats the lower abdomen, but it also targets the upper abdomen, which enhances the entire waistline.

Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck surgery?

Patients must be in good health and should not have any active illness or pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart or lung disease. All patients must have realistic expectations of the outcome of the surgery. It is better to discuss your goals with your surgeon and learn what can be achieved with the procedure. You must be mental, physically and emotionally stable to undergo this procedure. Sometimes there is a period of depression after surgery and that can exacerbate the previous depression state. It is recommended to wait until women are finished with having children before having a tummy tuck since the muscles and skin will stretch again and all will be reversed. If you are in the process of losing weight, it is better to wait until you have reached your ideal weight before a tummy tuck is done.

The usual candidates for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) are people with poor skin tone who have lost a significant amount of weight and are left with hanging skin or women who have lax abdomens from pregnancy and do not wish to have any more children. The procedure leaves the patient with a significantly tighter, flatter abdomen, usually resulting in clothing size reduction if the abdomen is where the patient carried most of their weight.

At what age is a tummy tuck usually performed?

There is no certain age for an abdominoplasty to be performed. It is done often after women have had their last child or for someone who has lost all the weight they intend to lose.

What is involved during a tummy tuck consultation?

A tummy tuck consultation involves talking to a board-certified plastic surgeon (Dr. Fara Movagharnia) during which you express your expectation of what you would like to achieve from the procedure. There is an examination of your abdomen, and he may recommend liposuction with the procedure at the same time. During the consultation, you will see “before” and “after” photos of his patients. All of the risks of surgery will be explained to you. You must ask questions if you are not sure about any issues. Here is a sample of questions that you can ask.

  1. Where can I read feedback, testimonials and comments from your tummy tuck patients?
  2. Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck surgery?
  3. Are you a board-certified plastic surgeon who is certified to perform tummy tucks?
  4. What are the risks and side effects of a tummy tuck surgery?
  5. What is the cost of a tummy tuck surgery?
  6. How long does a tummy tuck operation take?
  7. Can you perform my tummy tuck surgery at the hospital?
  8. Can I see "before" and "after" photographs of your tummy tuck patients?

How long does the result of the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) last?

The results can last for many years if you do not lose weight, get pregnant or tear your muscles underneath. There is some relaxation of the tissues gradually with age.

How is a tummy tuck and corset trunkplasty surgery performed?

A full abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia in the hospital, although there is no hospital stay required after surgery. Dr. Movagharnia makes an incision across the lower abdomen in the bikini area, below a C-Section or any other scar present. The incision is usually from hip to hip. The skin is lifted all the way to below the breasts. The abdominal muscles are then tightened, and the extra skin in the lower abdomen from the navel to the incision is removed. Prior to reaching the navel, an incision is made around it, and the navel is detached from the surrounding skin. When the skin is pulled down, the navel will be brought out at a new location with a scar around it. In a full tummy tuck, the muscle and fascia tightening is done in the center of the abdomen from the breastbone to the pubic area. In a mini tummy tuck, this tightening is done from the navel to the pubic area, and only the skin in the lower abdomen from the navel downward is removed. Therefore a mini tummy tuck is not for patients who have excessive skin and muscle laxity above their navel. There are usually at least two drainage tubes (plastic tubes that are attached to reservoirs at the end to collect blood) placed in the pubic area, and these will be removed when there is no bloody drainage. The duration of these drains varies from patient to patient.

The Corset Trunkoplasty is done entirely under general anesthesia in the supine position. There will be a vertical scar in the midline of the abdomen (extending from the xiphoid down to the pubis), the lower chest side-to-side in the folds of the breasts, and a scar from hip to hip.

How long does a tummy tuck surgery take?

Depending on the extent of the surgery, the procedure can take between 2 to 5 hours. The time will depend on whether liposuction is being done at the same time.

What should I do after my abdominoplasty surgery?

The most important thing to do after surgery is to follow the post-operative instructions to prevent complications. You must walk and keep the stockings on to prevent blood-clot formation in your legs, which can be dangerous. During the walk, you must be bent over (it would be helpful to use a walker for assistance). Do not stand up straight until you are instructed to do so. Failure to follow instructions can cause serious complications and a bad outcome. The drains are removed when there is minimum output and the color is like apple juice. Once the drainage sites have scabbed over you can take a shower but not before then. Prior to that, you may sponge bath without getting your incisions or the drainage sites wet. Postoperatively and for the next six weeks, you are instructed to wear a compression garment. You must make sure that your garment is tight, and do not allow it to bunch up. Swelling and bruising are normal for several months, but they get less and less with time. For a period of one year sometimes the skin will be numb.

Pain is perceived differently by different people, but this procedure is very painful. You will have pain medication to take only when you need to. Pain medicines are not taken around the clock as taking too much pain medicine can cause respiratory depression and death. There is a new technology which can help with the relief of the pain and that is the use of the pain pump, which your surgeon will explain to you. This pain pump reduces your pain tremendously for the first 3-4 days that you have the pump in place.

What are the risks & side effects of a tummy tuck?

In practice, the following side effects happen quite rarely, and your physician will examine you thoroughly to minimize the risks.

  • Swelling and discoloration
  • Bleeding and hematoma
  • Seroma Infection and/or abscess
  • Dehiscence (wound breakdown)
  • Bad scars Pain (early, late, neuroma)

When can I return to work?

Abdominoplasty takes a long time to heal completely. You must rest in bed or on a couch or recliner for a couple of weeks. You must get up and walk around several times during the day. In between walking, you must exercise your legs to avoid blood clots known as DVT. Depending on the type of work you do, and the extent of the surgery, you may need 2-3 weeks off. When you return to work, your surgeon may give you a note for light duty if necessary. During the recovery period, and for several months after, you cannot use your abdominal muscles to sit up from a flat position, and that is why you must sleep in a sitting position on the bed or on the recliner.

When will I see the results?

The result is instant but the swelling can last several months. At the first post-operative visit to your surgeon's office, all the bandages and the compression garment will be removed, and you will see your new figure in the mirror. Of course, with time, you will get better results, and your waistline will get smaller as the swelling goes down.

What are the risks of the tummy tuck surgery (Abdominoplasty)?

This procedure is a serious surgery and patients must understand that if they do not follow instructions they can have a serious, even fatal, outcome. Please follow your surgeon's instructions and always stay in touch with him.

Because of the surgery, there can be the loss of blood supply to the skin that can cause necrotic tissue or dead skin. This requires further surgery to remove the necrotic tissue and allow the tissue to heal and close. One of the causes of necrotic tissue is smoking, which must be stopped prior to the surgery.

Patients who are diabetics have a higher chance of infection, and your surgeon may not agree to do your surgery if your blood sugar is not controlled.

Pulmonary embolism can be fatal and is the result of immobility and a blood clot in the legs. You must walk and exercise your legs to avoid that. Deep breathing is a must to avoid lung complications also. Because of the tightening of the muscles, or if there are any lung illnesses, there is a chance of having pneumonia or atelectasis, which is the result of not taking deep breaths post surgery.

Scars are permanent, and they can become hyperpigmented post surgery. Avoid exposure to the sun or tanning light. Hematoma or blood collection under the skin is another risk. Infection can occur, so take your antibiotics, and keep your surgical sites clean and dry. Apply antibiotic ointment to the incisions and drainage sites.

How long is the tummy tuck plastic surgery recovery?

Depending on the extent of the surgery and the work patients have, it can take 2-3 weeks to be able to return to work. Heavy activities and exercise should be avoided for 6 weeks. A compression garment must be worn for 6 weeks, and patients must make sure that the garment is smooth in order to minimize swelling and collection of blood. Patients who are using nicotine in any form must avoid it for one month before and after surgery. Full recovery takes 3-6 months, and scars will fade through the process of maturation and healing within 6-12 months.

What else should I know about a tummy tuck surgery (Abdominoplasty)?

Depending on the type and extent of the tummy tuck, scars will vary. For a complete full tummy tuck, there will be an incision made from hip to hip very low in the bikini area and just above the pubic region. Another scar is made around the navel. For a partial or mini tummy tuck, the scar in the bikini area will be shorter and there is no scar around the navel.

What is the cost of a tummy tuck operation?

During your meeting with Dr. Movagharnia, you will receive detailed information about tummy tuck costs. Because abdominoplasty procedures can vary depending on each individual size, prices will differ accordingly. When you select Dr. Movagharnia, you will be treated with warmth and the utmost respect. He will make sure you are well informed about the tummy tuck so that you can make the best decision for you. Some people may need liposuction with a tummy tuck. We are proud to offer abdominoplasty to patients in metropolitan Atlanta and patients from all over the USA. Please schedule a consultation with us today and discover why we have a reputation for providing meticulous, compassionate care.

For more information about Abdominoplasty call our office at 770-951-7595.