Nowadays, many people seek plastic surgery to improve all areas of their body. They also seek to correct imperfections that can occur as a result of aging, a lack of an active lifestyle, weight fluctuations and pregnancy. Among the most popular procedures, there is abdominoplasty commonly known as a tummy tuck.

What is the purpose of an abdominoplasty?

This procedure is performed to remove the excess skin that in the inferior part of the tummy and restore weakened muscles. Patients aim to achieving a flat and firm tummy afterward.

When is the abdominoplasty recommended?

This procedure is recommended when the patient has a stable weight and has no plan for a future pregnancy. If the patient has given birth recently, the recommendation is to wait at least a few months after childbirth.  This will allow her to get back to her normal weight and sustain it for a little while. In fact, the results of an abdominoplasty can be altered by a subsequent pregnancy or considerable weight fluctuations.

Who are good candidates for the abdominoplasty?

woman doing abs for abdominoplastyBoth men and women who feel uncomfortable about the extra skin hanging in their abdomen are good candidates. The saggy skin can cover partially or entirely the pubic area, hence causing discomfort for the patient. Yet, these patients are unable to get rid of it regardless of diet and exercise.

A good candidate for this procedure is someone in reasonably good health and has realistic expectations from this plastic surgery procedure.  His or her goal is to obtain an aesthetically pleasing abdomen.

When is the best time to schedule the procedure?

Generally speaking, patients should schedule a tummy tuck when they can take a couple of weeks off from work. This time is necessary for the recovery period. Keep in mind that after the surgery, the patient will need help with some activities around the house for at least a few days. The Plastic Surgeon will also discourage lifting heavy objects as it can cause pain and the sutures to rupture.

What does abdominoplasty involve?

To perform a tummy tuck, the Plastic Surgeon starts by making an incision on the lower part of the tummy (called the suprapubic area).  The incision is usually low enough on the trunk to hide the resulting scar in the bikini line. The length of the incision is determined by the excess of skin that needs to be removed. This means that if there is a large amount of skin hanging, the incision can be as long as from one hip bone to the other.

In the case of minor skin sagginess, the incision will be smaller (the procedure is called a mini tummy tuck). After the incision, the Plastic Surgeon detaches the skin and fat tissue from the muscles of the abdominal wall and lifts them. This gives the Plastic Surgeon access and visibility to bring together and strengthen the abdominal muscles with sutures. This step is essential for patients suffering from diastasis recti which is a condition characterized by the gap that can occur in between the muscles of the abdominal wall, weakening them.  After having reinforced the muscles, the next step is to redrape the skin over the tummy to ensure the proper tightness creating a firm tummy. The Plastic Surgeon then removes the excess skin and sutures the incisions.

In some cases, the patient might require the correcting of a hernia, which the Plastic Surgeon can do during this procedure.

The tummy tuck does not automatically involve liposuction, but in many cases, patients get the two procedures together to ensure a better result. Liposuction can be used on the abdominal wall and the flanks to remove fat pockets. As a result, the tummy will be firmer and flatter and the waist smaller. Learn more here: Lipo vs Tummy Tuck, which one is better?

How to prepare for a tummy tuck?

The preparation stage for abdominoplasty should begin a few weeks before the date of the procedure.  At that point, the patient should stop taking birth control medication and quit smoking. Two weeks before the surgery, the Doctor will recommend avoiding taking anti-inflammatory pills as they could lead to excessive bleeding during and after the abdominoplasty. A balanced diet is highly recommended before the tummy tuck.

What not to do after an abdominoplasty?

The recovery period after the tummy tuck is not overly long. Most patients can resume their daily activities after a couple of weeks. After the procedure, it is essential to avoid smoking as this can delay wound healing. Plastic Surgeons do not recommend sleeping on the tummy for a minimum of three weeks. When resting in bed and walking, the patients should keep the back slightly curved. This means that the patient can sleep with pillows under the back and the knees to ensure there is no pressure on the incisions for a couple of weeks.

Scars and recovery after the abdominoplasty

The final results are expected to occur after a minimum of three to six months post-op. After the surgery, the patient will experience swelling and bruising, typical side effects of any surgical procedure. They will dwindle with time. The scars are permanent, but they will fade over time and be barely visible due to their position. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery,  the full cicatrization process can take up to one year.

In women who have undergone a cesarean section, the existing scars may be consolidated into the Tummy Tuck scar.

In summary…

After an abdominoplasty, the patient will have a flatter and firmer tummy. The procedure will result in strengthened abdominal wall muscles, a possible correction of the umbilical hernia as well as the elimination of the extra skin.

The multiple benefits associated with this procedure are partially dependent on the patient’s post-op behavior. The results of the abdominoplasty can be permanent if the patient manages to avoid future significant weight fluctuations.

About Dr. Rosso and Peninsula Plastic Surgery

Dr. Ron RossoDr. Rosso is one of the leading Plastic Surgeons in the South Bay and performs a large number of breast lift, breast augmentation, and breast reduction surgeries, in his state-of-the-art Surgery Center or at the local Torrance and Little Company of Mary Hospitals.

Awards & Recognition

Dr. Rosso has been voted 2019 Daily Breeze Reader’s Choice Winner; 2018 Daily Breeze South Bay’s Favorite; 2017 and 2018 Best of the Beach; and the Peninsula Plastic Surgery doctors and staff have been awarded the 2018 Spectrum Award for Customer Service Excellence.  At the end of 2018, he has also received an Award from the ER Doctors and Medical staff at Providence Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance for his great work and commitment to patients.

Leave a reply