What Is Tummy Tuck Surgery?
There comes a time we realize that all our efforts at dieting and exercise are not changing the appearance of our sagging and protruding abdomen. This procedure is massively popular and is often performed following pregnancy, massive weight loss or in the presence of a loose, flabby abdomen with weak muscles.
A Tummy Tuck or an Abdominoplasty procedure can flatten your abdomen, by removing loose excess fat and skin, whilst also tightening your abdominal wall muscles. The procedure can also remove some, if not all, of any stretch marks in your lower abdomen. It is often performed adjunct with many other procedures, for example Breast Augmentation or Breast Lift Surgery, Liposuction and even Vaginal Rejuvenation.
Your surgeon will follow the surgical plan discussed with you before your operation, during your preoperative consultation, where it is determined whether a Mini Abdominoplasty, Full Tummy Tuck or Extended or High Lateral Tension Abdominoplasty is most appropriate for you:
A single incision is made in the pubic area, which will be placed as low as possible and can range from a few inches to the entire span of your abdomen. Through this incision, your surgeon will remove excess skin, tighten slack muscles and possibly use Liposuction to further refine the area.
The ideal candidate for a mini-Tummy Tuck has laxity and protrusion (pouch) below the navel.
A mini-Tummy Tuck is usually recommended for those who have always been in fairly good shape but cannot achieve their aesthetic goals with diet and exercise.
In addition to the incision across the lower abdomen, a traditional Tummy Tuck involves an incision around the navel.
Excess skin is removed, muscles are tightened and Liposuction may be used to contour the abdomen.
This surgery removes skin from above the navel down to the pubic area that has been compromised by pregnancies, genetic laxity or obesity.
If you have excess skin in the love handles or hips, your incision can be made longer to address this problem. The High Lateral Tension Tummy Tuck was one of the first procedures developed to address skin excess after significant weight loss or pregnancy.
The technique uses a layer in the deeper tissue to support and maintain the repair. This procedure includes a Tummy Tuck in the front of the abdomen and transfers the lift over the hip, to the side of the thigh, in order to improve contour in this area, by suspending and improving the hip and thigh.
General anesthesia is commonly used during this procedure. For your safety during the surgery, various monitors will be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood. Your surgeon will follow the surgical plan discussed with you before surgery.
During this surgical procedure, your surgeon will remove your loose abdominal skin and tighten up your abdominal muscles with sutures.
Your surgeon will mark your abdomen to indicate the location of the incisions, the center of your torso and in the case of a Full Abdominoplasty, the location of the repositioned navel.
The primary Tummy Tuck incision will be above the pubic mound, from one hipbone to the other. In a full Abdominoplasty, another incision is made around your navel. In a Mini Tummy Tuck, your surgeon will use a shorter incision.
The surgeon will loosen the skin from your abdominal wall to your ribcage and then place sutures in the fascia of your abdominal muscles to pull them into a tighter position.
After your abdominal muscles have been sutured together, your surgeon will remove excess fat by Liposuction. Your abdominal skin is then stretched down over your incision line and the excess skin is removed.
When performing a Full Abdominoplasty your surgeon then mark the placement of your navel. Although the skin around your navel has been moved and redraped, the navel almost always stays in the same place. Your surgeon cuts a hole through the redraped skin and sutures it around your navel.
Your incisions will be closed in multiple layers over drains to control stretching and swelling.
This procedure normally takes 150-180 minutes
Am I a candidate for surgery?
For certain individuals exercise will never get rid of sagging skin. You are a candidate for a Tummy Tuck if:
Internal or external scars from any previous abdominal surgery may also affect your candidacy.
If you have a significant amount of intra-abdominal fat surrounding your internal organs, you may need to slim down before considering a Tummy Tuck.
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
Advantages of Surgery:
Disadvantages of Surgery:
Preparation for Surgery
Prior To Your Arrival
Before traveling to Cyprus, as part of your surgery preparation you will complete a detailed specific questionnaire and will submit a recent Chest X-Ray and photographic images of the problem areas which you wish to have treated.
Initial Consultation: Once the images have been received by us, we will schedule a consultation with your chosen surgeon, via Skype or telephone. This will allow you to ask any questions regarding the procedure and will also allow your chosen surgeon to assess your condition and determine your eligibility for your chosen procedure.
During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals. Your chosen surgeon will evaluate you as a candidate for surgery and clarify what surgery can do for you. Understanding your goals and medical condition, both alternative and additional treatment options may be considered. You should be prepared to discuss your complete medical history. This will include information about:
Your treatment plan
Depending on the quality of your skin, how much excess there is to remove, and your body shape, your surgeon will determine what options are open to you.
Based on your goals, physical characteristics, and the surgeon’s training and experience, your surgeon will share recommendations and information with you, at this point including:
In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:
Ten days prior to your arrival in Cyprus, you will receive all the necessary pre operative instructions, to prepare yourself both physically and mentally for your chosen cosmetic procedure.
Before your departure to come to Cyprus your records will be reviewed thoroughly by our surgeon. This includes Chest X-ray and a complete medical and surgical history.
Getting your house ready before your surgery
It is also important to get your house ready for after you come home from the hospital. At first it will be harder for you to move around, so arrange your furniture and household items ahead of time to make it easier for you during your rehabilitation.
Preparation for the hospital
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you pack and prepare for the hospital and recuperation:
Getting dressed in the morning helps you feel better, so be sure to bring some comfortable clothing to the hospital:
After traveling to Cyprus, a new set of blood tests, E.C.G and chest X-ray will be taken as well as an in person physical examination.
The surgeon and anesthetist will meet with you and go through your medical and surgical plan.
During this consultation, your surgeon will discuss your surgical procedure and answer any further questions. Your plastic surgeon will proceed to examine measure and photograph your face for your medical record.
Day before surgery
Your doctor or nurse will give you more instructions based on the type of prep.
You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the evening before your surgery.
Morning of surgery
Bring all your medicines, if any in their original containers with you to the hospital.
You will meet with the anesthesiologist. This doctor will talk to you about general anesthesia. This is a controlled sleep while the surgery is being done so you will not feel any pain or remember the surgery. You will have an IV or intravenous line put in to give you fluid and medicine during your surgery.
Your plastic surgeon shall consult with you once again for the proposed procedure.
Recovery after surgery
When you wake up after your surgery, you will be in the recovery room, where you will continue to be closely monitored. You will stay there until you are awake and your pain is under control. Most patients return to their room after a couple of hours.
Immediately following an Abdominoplasty, your abdomen will feel very sore or tender. Any pain you feel can be controlled with pain medications.
Your incision site will be covered with a dressing to keep the area clean and protected. You will also be wearing a wide elastic compression garment to reduce swelling and provide support to the skin as it tightens. You will wear this garment for several weeks.
The first 48 hours after surgery, you will experience varying degrees of swelling and bruising. The swelling is maximal at 48 hours after surgery and mostly disappears within two to three weeks, but there may be slight residual swelling for up to four months. Bruising is normal and typically disappears within seven to ten days.
Hospital discharge and home instructions
Most Tummy Tuck patients require several days of bed rest, even if they return home the same day as their surgery.
On the first day after surgery, you may be instructed to stay in bed with the compression garment on and to periodically move your hands and feet to maintain good circulation. You will be able to get up and walk after the second postoperative day.
Your diet is slowly increased from ice chips to liquids to solid foods as your intestines start functioning.
Before leaving the hospital, our surgeon and staff will help you adjust to recovery in every way possible. You will receive specific instructions and precautions from your surgeon and nursing staff and they will show you safe techniques of simple activities like getting in and out of bed, bathing, going to the bathroom, managing steps at home and getting in and out of a car.
You will be able to leave the hospital when you are:
Most people are able to go home one day after their surgery; however recovery time after the procedure and the length of your hospital stay depend on your overall health and the type of procedure performed.
Life After Surgery
These guidelines give you an overview of what you may expect as part of your care after you leave the hospital. Be sure to follow your doctor’s discharge instructions if they are different from what is listed here. This will include information about wearing compression garments, taking an antibiotic if prescribed and the level and type of activity that is safe. Your surgeon will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
The pull of gravity and the actions of walking, sitting, and bending put stress on the sutured areas, so you should make careful and deliberate movements.
Do not smoke after your Tummy Tuck surgery to prevent coughing and bleeding.
Do not drink alcohol for five days after surgery or while you are taking pain medication.
Pain medication will be prescribed for the pain.
Drains typically remain in place for up to one week.
You must wear a body garment for six to eight weeks.
You should wait a minimum of six weeks before exposure to sun and heat, including sunbathing, because of the possibility of swelling.
You will need to take at least two to three weeks off from work and restrict normal activities for four to six weeks.
Full healing will take several months.
It is fairly common to feel weak and tired immediately after discharge from the hospital. The body needs time to recover from the stress of surgery.
Walking is permitted and encouraged beginning the second day after surgery. At home, start short, daily walks and gradually increase the distance you walk.
Going up and down stairs is permitted. Initially, have someone assist you.
Driving is not permitted for at least 4 weeks after surgery or your first follow-up visit with your surgeon. If you are taking prescription pain medications or narcotics, DO NOT DRIVE.
Sexual intercourse may be resumed for at least 4 weeks after surgery.
Do not go swimming, diving, water skiing, or participate in strenuous athletic activity for at least one month after surgery.
Your bowel habits
You may have different bowel habits after your surgery. Loose stools are common for the first week or two after surgery. If you have watery diarrhea, call your surgeon. This may be a sign of a bowel infection. Severe constipation should be avoided. See the section below on medicines for constipation.
There are generally no dietary restrictions following cosmetic surgery. Avoid foods that cause diarrhea or digestive discomfort. You will eventually be able to resume your regular diet. A dietary supplement or drink can be used.
Your medicines: Take the medicines you were taking before surgery, unless your surgeon has made a change.
Your surgeon will order a prescription pain medicine for you after surgery. As your pain lessens, over the counter pain medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used. They can also be used instead of your prescription for mild pain.
Prescription pain medicines can cause constipation. Your doctor may order a stool softener to prevent this. You should be back to your normal bowel routine in about 2 weeks. If the stool softener does not work, take Milk of Magnesia. If you still are not getting relief, call your surgeon.
Call your surgeon right away if you have:
The healing process is gradual and so you should expect to wait at least three months to get an accurate picture of the results of your surgery.
How Long Will the Results Last?
If you maintain a stable weight, healthy lifestyle, and fitness program, your results will be long-lasting. Naturally however, there will be some relaxation of the skin early after surgery and the skin and connective tissues will loosen and sag gradually with age.
However, if you gain and then lose a large amount of weight after an Abdominoplasty, the skin could stretch out again, negatively impacting the overall contour. Likewise, if you become pregnant your abdomen will loosen again.
Follow-up after surgery is extremely important and our surgeons at Salus are committed to providing all the post surgical care you need. For safety, as well as the most beautiful and healthy outcome, whenever you notice any unexpected changes do not hesitate to contact your surgeon. In order to identify and treat any complications as they may arise, close, lifetime follow-up is essential.