Abdominoplasty (“Tummy Tuck”) is a surgical procedure that helps to flatten and shape the abdomen and waist by removing excess fat and skin and tightening muscles.
The best candidates are in good physical condition with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven’t responded well to diet and exercise. Older, slightly obese people whose skin has lost some of its elasticity can be helped. Abdominoplasty can also be useful for women with stretched skin and muscles from pregnancy, although results from the procedure will diminish if they continue to bear children. For this reason, women who plan to have children again are advised to delay abdominoplasty. Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight are also encouraged to wait before undergoing the procedure, since skin in that area typically loosens after substantial weight loss.
The procedure takes approximately two to five hours and can be performed with general anesthesia or local anesthesia with a sedative. Recovery time ranges from two weeks to a few months, but with a balanced diet and regular exercise results are long-lasting.
Abdominoplasty will likely leave a permanent scar stretching between the hips, although it should be low enough for even a bikini to conceal it. Patients who have had previous abdominal surgery should know that their old scars could be raised, stretched or generally more noticeable after the procedure.
Dr. Reiffel will make two incisions: one from hipbone to hipbone close to the pubic area, and one around the navel. Skin is separated from the abdominal muscles, which are then pulled together and stitched into place for a firmer abdomen and narrower waist. The skin flap is stretched down and over the newly tightened muscles, excess skin is removed, and the navel is reattached. Finally, the incisions will be stitched, dressings will be applied, and a temporary tube may be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.