What is Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck procedure is designed to remove excess skin in the front of the tummy along with fat that causes flabs and hanging or loose skin. Tummy tuck also allows tightening and repairing the rectus muscles of abdomen.
It is also called as abdominoplasty.
Who needs Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is indicated in women with multiple pregnancies or who have lost weight massively. Multiple pregnancies or caesarean surgery causes excess skin with loss of elasticity. There is tearing of dermis causing excessive stretch marks. There is also separation of rectus muscle and bulging. These leads to a combination of bulging tummy with excess skin flabs.
In patients with massive weight loss of more than 25-30 kg particularly after bariatric surgeries such as sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bands or bypass, there is excess skin flabs and loose skin in the tummy. Tummy tuck is indicated in such patients where excess skin is removed along with any excess or residual fatty tissue.
Men may also need tummy tuck if they have been obese and have lost significant weight.
Other indications of tummy tuck is abdominal hernia in women due to weak or separated abdominal wall muscles.
What are the types of Tummy Tuck?
There are different types of tummy tuck depending upon the areas and extent of excess skin
- Conventional abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is the commonest procedure where the incision is in the bikini line and a small incision around the umbilicus. This is most common procedure.
- Lipoabdominoplasty is a modern innovation where tummy tuck is combined with 3 dimensional liposuction allowing waist sculpting, removal of love handles and flattening of tummy.
- Circumferential abdominoplasty is a form of tummy tuck where the incision extends around the waist to the back allowing removal of loose skin from sides of abdomen and buttock lift. This procedure is indicated in patients with massive weight loss or postbariatric weight loss who has excess skin all around the tummy with buttock sagging.
- Reverse abdominoplasty is a procedure where the incision is placed under the breasts. This is required in male or female patients with excess skin that is mostly located in the upper abdomen above the naval.
- Mini abdominoplasty is a modified procedure performed in patients with limited problems such as isolated loose skin below the belly button and in patients who have lax and bulging muscle with good skin quality. This procedure involves a small bikini line incision and the umbilicus is not incised. The muscle repair if required, is performed with a small incision above the umbilicus.
- Fleur de Lis abdominoplasty is an extensive procedure where a bikini line incision is combined with a long central abdominal incision. This is required in patient with massive weight loss where they have excess skin in vertical and horizontal direction.
What are the latest Technologies used in Tummy Tuck?
The most important innovation in tummy tuck is the "liposculpturing". Ultrasonic assisted liposuction or Vaser assisted liposuction allows sculpting of the tummy and waist. This also facilitates tummy tuck making it easier to contour the tummy and expediting the procedure. "Lipoabdominoplasty" or "LABP" gives a long term outcome making it easy for patient to maintain their shape.
Endoscopic assisted tummy tuck is yet another innovation that has allowed minimal approach abdominoplasty. Endoscopy uses a small telescope that is introduced through belly button and it allows muscle repair with a small bikini line incision.
Laryngeal mask is a new innovation in anesthesia that has made tummy tuck safer than in the past. The patient after General anesthesia has a mask introduced in the mouth instead of a tube inside the trachea. The anesthetic medication required is less and the patient recovers quickly immediately after the surgery.
Tumescent technique is yet another innovation where the fat is transfused with a cocktail of medication that makes the procedure literally bloodless and also provides significant local anesthesia minimizing the General anesthetic medications.
How much does Tummy Tuck cost?
The cost of tummy tuck varies according to the extent of procedure and anesthesia required. The procedure is performed in a well-equipped and quality hospital to ensure safety and comfortable recovery. The cost may vary from 7000 USD to 20,000 USD.
How to prepare for Tummy Tuck?
The most important step is to have a detail consultation with the surgeon to get complete information about the procedure. It is important that the patient is in good health with stable weight. Any form of tobacco including smoking Ned's to be stopped few weeks prior to the surgery. A healthy nutrition and moderate exercise will increase the healing capabilities.
The nurse and surgeon will provide all detail instructions to prepare for surgery, what medications to avoid, type of diet and prescription necessary after the surgery.
What to expect after Tummy Tuck?
A dressing is placed on the tummy free the surgery. Patients are encouraged to walk around in few hours. The pain is controlled by Intraoperative local anesthesia and intravenous pain medications. There is some amount of drainage of fluid inside the dressing. The drains are removed next morning and dressing is replaced with a compressions garment. The patients usually go home in a day or two after the surgery.
There is moderate pain in use of abdominal muscles while sitting up and lying down. Nurse will explain how to avoid excessive use of abdominal muscle while getting up.
The patients are sent home with antibiotics and different kinds of pain medications for a smooth recovery.
Regular follow up with the surgeon allows care of the wound. The patient can shower after 48-72 hours. A complete recovery is expected in 4-8 weeks. Moderate exercise can be resumed after 3-4 weeks.
What are the risks of Tummy Tuck?
The potential complications of tummy tuck are hematoma, infection, scarring, deep vein thrombosis, skin loss. These complications are avoided by the expertise of the surgeon and proper pre and postoperative care.