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aiken plastic surgery
Dean Page, MD, FACS
...in search of the new you

Tummy Tuck

Sometimes simply dieting and exercising are not enough to take care of waistline problems.  In such cases, a patient may wish to consider a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty).  A tummy tuck is the surgical removal of excess skin or fatty deposits from the abdomen, along with the repositioning of abdomen muscles into a tighter formation.  This bodily enhancement procedure is designed for those who wish to have a flatter and tighter stomach.  It is also helpful in remedying the vertical separation of abdomen muscles known as diastasis, which can occur following pregnancy.

Reasons for Considering an Abdominoplasty:

  • Inability of dieting and exercise to improve the abdomen area.
  • Excessive accumulation of skin following weight loss.
  • Loss of skin elasticity or diastases (loose abdomen muscles) due to pregnancy.
  • The removal of unsightly skin and fat deposits as well as the proper alignment of the abdomen muscles to produce a more flattering look.

General Procedure

Abdominoplasty surgery lasts anywhere from one to five hours, depending on the desired look and the patient’s unique physiology.  To begin the procedure, an incision is made just above the pubic bone area.  This incision goes horizontally across the lower abdomen and sometimes around to the back.  The skin is then stretched away from the muscle tissue, and excess skin is removed.  The abdomen muscle tissue is tightened to provide a firmly contoured stomach and well-defined waistline.  Finally, the incision is closed; and the skin is stitched back into place and the navel is brought out through a separate incision.

Recovery Process

Generally, immediate post-operative instructions call for rest and limited lifting or strenuous activity in order to enhance the healing process and improve recovery time.  Most patients cannot stand up straight for one to two weeks after surgery until their skin adjusts to its new position. As the body recuperates, the patient can expect some swelling, pain, and discomfort.  Medication will be prescribed to relieve pain caused by the procedure.  Most of the stitches will dissolve on their own. Any other sutures will be removed shortly after the surgery depending on the details of the procedure.  A drain is placed with most abdominoplasty procedures and this will be left in place one to two weeks. Patients are instructed on how to care for their drain. Removal is based on how much fluid is draining over each 24 hour period. Driving is usually allowed within two to four weeks after surgery depending on the level of pain and medication required. Patients will be released to normal activities at six weeks.  It may take up to a year for the body to completely adapt to the new abdominal configuration.  With proper diet and exercise the striking results of the surgery will be long lasting.

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