A flat and well-toned abdomen is something many of us strive for through exercise and weight control. When these methods do not achieve our goals a tummy tuck might be considered. Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgically tightens abdominal muscles and removes excess skin and fat. A tummy tuck cannot correct stretch marks; however these may be removed or minimized if they are located on excess skin that will be excised. Although the results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent, the positive outcome can be greatly diminished by significant fluctuations in your weight. A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program.
The male tummy tuck procedure helps men achieve a chiseled, masculine stomach or six pack abs, the female tummy tuck procedure improves a woman’s abdominal contour and waistline. Younger patients with good skin elasticity might also consider alternate approaches to body contouring such as lipoplasty, or a non surgical option like Coolsculpting.
Who Are the Best Candidates For a Tummy Tuck?
- Men and women who are in good health and at their intended weight
- Women who have had several pregnancies and are not planning future pregnancies, and who want to tighten their abdominal muscles and skin.
- Men and women who were once obese and still have excess fat deposits or loose skin around the belly.
Who Should Not Consider a Tummy Tuck?
- Women who plan to get pregnant.
- Men and women who are planning to lose a lot of weight.
At your consultation, Dr. Sabry will do a complete medical history and physical exam, and record your weight to determine whether you are a candidate for abdominoplasty, or for a less invasive procedure which would still allow you to meet your appearance goals. He will examine your abdomen, the quality of your abdominal skin, the location of any existing scars, the amount and location of any excess fat, and the status of the underlying muscles of your abdomen. He will discuss the possible risks and complications of abdominoplasty, as well as realistic expectations. Once you both have a clear understanding of the risks and potential outcome, Dr. Sabry will devise a specific procedure plan that is right for you and that you both agree on.
Every patient is different. Depending on your goals and anatomy Dr. Sabry may recommend an alternative procedure such as a mini-abdominoplasty, liposuction, or a panniculectomy, (a procedure which reduces the hanging skin in the abdominal area). He will discuss scar placement and length with you before the surgery. Patient education is a very important component of Dr. Sabry’s pre procedural process. If you are a smoker, you will be asked to quit smoking for 6-8 weeks prior to your procedure.
As you approach the date of your surgery you will have a comprehensive preoperative visit in our office approximately two weeks before your surgery. A complete list of “dos and don’ts” will be reviewed as well as the pre and postoperative instructions and any questions that remain will be answered. You will be directed to avoid anything that has a blood-thinning effect (aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E etc.) for two weeks before surgery. You will be asked to minimize alcohol intake. Basic blood work for preoperative testing will be ordered.
A tummy tuck is not really one operation, but a combination of surgeries that address abdominal skin and muscle laxity as well as localized fatty deposits. Abdominoplasties can either tighten skin alone, or both skin and underlying abdominal muscles. Your surgery can take anywhere from one to five hours depending on the complexity. Your particular surgery plan will determine whether you have it as an in-patient or outpatient procedure.
High Lateral Tension Abdominoplasty
Dr. Sabry may suggest High Lateral Tension Abdominoplasty for you, depending on your anatomy and desired outcome. Conventional abdominoplasty tightens muscles in a vertical line only. In High Lateral Tension Abdominoplasty (HLTA) the abdominal muscles are tightened horizontally as well as vertically. Using this approach, more skin can be removed from the flanks giving a more sculpted appearance and a wonderful lift to the upper thigh and pubic area. HLTA naturally preserves blood supply to the abdomen and lowers some of the risks classically associated with traditional abdominoplasty techniques. The final outcome is a dramatically flatter abdomen with a significantly better-defined waistline since the waistline shrinks both in front to back and side to side dimensions.
Dr. Sabry performs conventional abdominoplasty with a low-lying horizontal incision that can be easily concealed. Excess fat and skin are removed and repair of both the upper and lower abdominal muscles is completed. This is very important, since it prevents the bulge that develops in the upper abdomen when only the lower muscles are repaired. Dr. Sabry may perform liposuction in combination with abdominoplasty to further contour the abdomen and waistline. Skin is then re-draped and the navel is repositioned to its original location. Small drainage tubes are placed and maintained for 3 to 5 days. Dr. Sabry uses dissolvable stitches that do not require removal.
Partial or mini-abdominoplasty
A mini-abdominoplasty can be scheduled for patients whose fat deposits are located below the navel and require shorter incisions. The skin will be separated between the line of incision and your belly button and only lifted to the navel, which does not have to be moved. Dr. Sabry can also perform this surgery endoscopically, usually in 2 hours or less time. Drainage tubes may be required.
When there is excess fat in the back as well as the abdomen Dr. Sabry may recommend either liposuction of the back region or circumferential abdominoplasty. The latter procedure entails the removal of both skin and fat from the hip and back region as well, which improves the contour of your body three dimensionally.
Some patients return home the same day, while others return home the next day. For the first few days after surgery, you will experience pain, swelling and soreness, which can usually be managed with painkillers. For the first week after tummy tuck surgery, you will need to refrain from standing up completely straight. Compression garments are recommended for two weeks following surgery. Scarring at the incision site may take up to nine months to heal and start fading; however, most undergarments should sufficiently cover the scar. Dr. Sabry will give you specific instructions regarding when regular activities can be safely resumed, but generally light exercises may begin after two weeks and more strenuous activities should wait for 3 to 4 weeks. Dr. Sabry will see you for post-operative visits. He and our staff will answer any questions you may have about your recovery, as well as your overall health and well-being.
All surgical procedures carry a risk of complications. Under Dr. Sabry’s expert and meticulous care all measures are taken to minimize the potential. Although they rarely occur, risks associated with tummy tuck surgery may include infection, poor wound healing, bleeding, complications from the anesthesia, or pulmonary embolism.