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Ira H. Rex III, MD
American Board of Plastic Surgery

Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a Tummy Tuck, is a procedure focusing on the abdominal area in which the plastic surgeon removes excess folds of skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and tightens your abdominal muscles to create a lean, flat, and more well-defined abdomen. The best candidates for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) are men and women who are in good physical condition but have excess fat, loose skin, or loose muscles (commonly seen after pregnancy) in the abdominal area that won't respond to excercise or diet. Dr. Rex specializes in body sculpting procedures including abdominoplasty, and will work with your specific goals to determine the best procedure for you. 

Surgery Notes

Length: 2 to 5 hours.
Anesthesia: General, or local with sedation.
In/Outpatient: Either depending on individual circumstances and extent of surgery.
Side Effects: Temporary pain. Swelling, soreness, numbness of abdominal skin, bruising, tiredness for several weeks or months.
Risks: Blood clots. Infection. Bleeding under the skin flap. Poor healing resulting in conspicuous scarring or skin loss. Need for a second operation.
Recovery: Back to work: 1 to 2weeks. More strenuous activity: 4 to 6 weeks or more. Fading and flattening of scars: 3 months to 2 years.

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.  Sometimes the procedure requires an additional incision around the navel in order to provide the best results.

Recovery Process

Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time.  As the body recuperates, the patient can expect some swelling, pain, and discomfort.  Medication can be prescribed to relieve any pain caused by the procedure.  The stitches will be removed shortly after the surgery depending on the procedure(s) involved.  Normal activities can generally be resumed within two 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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