The 7 Steps Towards a Successful Tummy Tuck Surgery
- 17 June 2016
- Dr. Mark Broudo
As one of the more popular body contouring cosmetic surgeries, the tummy tuck surgery is a favorite among those who want to achieve a flatter and firmer midsection.
There are several types of tummy tuck surgeries that you can choose from, but they basically follow the same step-by-step procedure that involves removing loose skin, eliminating fat deposits, and tightening the abdominal muscles.
Your chosen cosmetic surgeon will explain to you what will happen in your tummy tuck surgery, but here is an overview of the steps involved in an abdominoplasty.
Administering the anesthesia
Despite being an invasive procedure, a tummy tuck surgery can be performed using either general or local anesthesia. However, most plastic surgeons prefer that you are completely sedated during the procedure.
When you are completely unconscious, your abdominal muscles are totally relaxed as well, allowing your surgeon to complete the abdominoplasty with greater ease, speed, and safety. It also prevents you from having any unexpected muscle or body movement while the procedure is going on.
Your doctor will advise you on which type of anesthesia is best for your surgery. But in general, you can only have local anesthesia through intravenous sedation if you are getting a mini tummy tuck surgery, which is shorter and less invasive than other tummy tuck techniques.
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Creating the incisions
The number, location, and extent of incisions made during a tummy tuck surgery all depend on the specific technique that your cosmetic surgeon is employing.
For the complete tummy tuck, a hip-to-hip incision in the lower abdomen is needed to allow your surgeon to easily manipulate the skin and muscles in your abdominal area. It is also combined with another incision around the belly button to make sure that it can be easily moved to ensure natural-looking results.
The incision in a mini tummy tuck is comparatively smaller—a single incision made below the navel. This is the reason why this type of tummy tuck is often dubbed as scar-free. Similarly, an endoscopic tummy tuck only needs an incision large enough to accommodate the endoscope, hence resulting in less noticeable scarring. Larger incisions are needed for the extended and circumferential tummy tucks, usually spanning the entire length of the torso and even extending to the back of your hips.
All incisions are carefully planned before the surgery so that the scars can be easily hidden beneath your underwear and swimwear.
Reattaching the navel
Most tummy tuck techniques involve changing the position of the navel to ensure natural-looking results. After making the primary incision, a second vertical incision is made across the center of the abdomen to detach the navel. At times, another small incision is made to either reattach your existing navel or artificially sculpt a new one. It all depends on your preference, as well as what your surgeon thinks will create a more appealing result.
Keep in mind that reattachment and sculpting of the navel is an art form, so it is best to choose an experienced tummy tuck surgeon to achieve the best results. Do not forget to take a look at tummy tuck before and after photos to see how your surgeon's previous patients fared.
Tightening the muscles
As you age, it is common for your abdominal muscles to become lax and sagging. The main purpose of an abdominoplasty is to remove loose skin, tighten your abdominal muscles, and eliminate excess fat deposits to help you achieve a more youthful-looking contour.
After making the necessary incisions, your skin will be separated from your abdominal walls. Your cosmetic surgeon will pull your abdominal muscles closer together and stitch them into a position that will give them a more toned appearance. Tightening your abdominal muscles will also make your waistline look narrower, leading to an hourglass-shaped figure.
Removing the excess skin
Once the muscles have been tightened, your surgeon will also take care of the skin on your abdomen, which would appear loose and sagging if left as it is. Your skin will be stretched downwards and any excess skin will be trimmed away. If there are any unwanted fat pockets before the skin is pulled taut, these can also be removed through liposuction. Other procedures, such as butt lifts and thigh lifts, can be combined with a tummy tuck surgery.
Removing excess skin will result in a subtle scar that will look like all the loose skin around your stomach has been tucked into your body.
Eliminating stretch marks
If you have stretch marks, here is some good news: a tummy tuck surgery can also eliminate or improve the appearance of stretch marks during skin removal, depending on the location of the incision. This is especially beneficial for women who are trying to regain their pre-pregnancy appearance.
Stretch marks located below the navel are often removed, along with excess skin. Meanwhile, stretch marks located elsewhere in the abdomen appear less prominent after a tummy tuck surgery since the stretching of the abdominal skin flattens the stretch marks and decreases the degree to which they indent the skin.
Closing the incisions
Once the tummy tuck surgery is complete, the skin is sutured together with surgical stitches. Skin adhesives, tapes, or clips may also be used to close the incisions.
With the stitches in place, your skin cells will merge at the site of the incision, closing the wound naturally and healing it over time. For the more invasive types of tummy tuck surgery, surgical drains may also be inserted at the incision site in order to speed up the healing process and alleviate pain from fluid buildup underneath the skin. If not controlled, these fluid buildups can cause complications during the healing process.
The surgical drain is removed before the stitches, usually one week after the tummy tuck. The stitches, on the other hand, are removed in stages over a period of two weeks after surgery.
Keep in mind that the success of your surgery largely depends on a number of factors depends on the capabilities of your cosmetic surgeon. Make sure that you select a qualified board certified and top-quality surgeon who has experience performing different types of tummy tucks. If you want to consult with one of our accomplished plastic surgeons, schedule a consultation with us here on Face + Body Cosmetic Surgery.