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Abdominoplasty, or a “tummy tuck,” is designed to correct a protruding abdomen, resulting from weak abdominal muscles, weight gain, or pregnancy. Weight fluctuations cause the skin in the midsection to lose its elasticity and protrude. These conditions may not respond well to diet or exercise if the skin and underlying muscles have been stretched.
During a tummy tuck, the abdominal wall muscles are tightened and excess fatty tissue and skin are removed to improve the body contour. The goal is a narrower, flatter abdomen. Realistic expectations are important, so remember that the tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss.
During the consultation, we consider your age, physical condition, and lifestyle to determine if you are a proper candidate for tummy tuck surgery. We also perform a complete medical history and careful examination. The best candidates will have no health problems and wish only to remove an excess deposit of fat or loose abdominal skin.
Patients on a weight-loss plan should be close to their target weight before having the operation. If you are planning on having children in the future, it may be a good idea to postpone surgery in order to prevent the effects of pregnancy from altering the results of your tummy tuck. To minimize the possibility of excess bleeding, you will need to avoid taking drugs containing aspirin, non-steriodal, anti-inflammatory medications, or herbal supplements. You will also be advised to bathe well with an antiseptic soap for several days prior to surgery.
Abdominoplasty is performed using general anesthesia. You may be given medication beforehand so you will feel relaxed. The surgery may take 2-5 hours, depending on your overall condition. You may be released after a few hours, or you may require a couple days of hospitalization.
The procedure requires a U-shaped incision below one hipbone, across the pubic area and under the other hipbone. A second incision is made around the navel. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall and lifted up to the hipbone, exposing loose tissue covering the abdominal muscle. Liposuction may be combined with the tummy tuck procedure to contour the surrounding areas for a better cosmetic appearance of the abdomen.
Loose, stretched-out muscles are tightened with sutures, and excess skin and fat are removed. The skin is lowered over the abdomen, and the navel is reconstructed. The incisions are then sutured together. Drains are often inserted to eliminate fluid buildup, and firm elastic bandages are applied to the area.
You may experience some discomfort immediately following surgery that can be controlled with pain pills. Some swelling is normal. You will be given special instructions for showering and changing your dressings until the surface stitches are removed in 5-7 days. You may also be required to wear a support garment.
The speed of recovery depends on your physical condition prior to surgery. Those with stronger abdominal muscles usually recover faster. Allow at least 2-4 weeks to recuperate before returning to work. Some scarring is also normal. It often takes 9-12 months before the scars begin to fade.
Though the recovery period is longer than that of other cosmetic procedures, the rewards are great for a patient previously distressed by a protruding abdomen. Those who follow a proper exercise routine and healthy diet will benefit the most from abdominoplasty.
The approximate cost of a tummy tuck procedure is 7,000 to 9,000 dollars. Because the operation varies, the cost of a tummy tuck at our Frederick County practice also varies. View information on our financing plans.
A personal consultation with Dr. Will can answer many of your questions. Contact Will Surgical Arts to learn more about a tummy tuck. Our cosmetic surgery practice is conveniently located for residents of Frederick, MD and the Washington, DC metro area.
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