Abdominoplasty/tummy tuck

What is a "tummy tuck"?

Otherwise known as abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin, and in some cases, tighten weakened abdominal muscles. A flatter abdomen and smoother profile can be achieved with this procedure. A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss and exercise.

Who is an ideal candidate for a tummy tuck?

Tummy tucks are performed on adults who are in good general health, have loose abdominal skin or stretched out abdominal muscles (i.e. from multiple pregnancies), and are close to their ideal body weight for their body type and size. We advise those who plan future pregnancies to postpone tummy tuck because the abdominal skin and muscles would be stretched out again with a pregnancy. Good candidates should have their weight be relatively stable. If they are planning to lose more weight, then we recommend waiting.

Things you need to consider prior to tummy tuck procedure.

Smokers have impaired healing and blood flow to skin. Those with heart disease or have extensive scarring above the navel also may have impaired skin circulation.

Why do I need a consultation and what does the consultation involve?

Everyone has different goals and body habitus. A candidate is evaluated individually to achieve the desired result. Dr. Kim will evaluate your skin laxity, areas of fatty deposition, skin tone, your medical and surgical history, presence of overhanging skin, thickness of your fatty layer, your abdominal muscle strength and the contours of your flanks, thighs, and hips as well. She will then discuss with you whether abdominoplasty is the procedure for you - keeping in mind YOUR goal.

Does tummy tuck get rid of stretch marks?

There is no cure for stretch marks. However, some of the stretch marks on your tummy can be included in what is removed during the procedure.

What does the tummy tuck involve?

The procedure is always done under general anesthesia. There are what is considered the traditional full tummy tuck and the mini tummy tuck. The length of incision made is dependent on how much overhanging fat and skin is present. The incision is made along the lower border of your overhanging fat and skin, just above the pubic hair line, so that the scar can be discretely placed within your pantyline. The skin and fat is lifted off the abdominal muscles and the abdominal muscles are tightened, if needed. The excess fat and skin is removed. A new hole is made on your tightened abdominal skin for your belly button so as to keep it in the same place.

What do I expect after surgery?

You will have an abdominal binder to help with swelling and discomfort. You will be given pain medication for discomfort and soreness. We encourage walking after surgery to prevent leg clots, but no heavy lifting or straining. You will be bent over because of the tightened abdominal muscles, but within 2 weeks you should be walking relatively straight. You will have 2 drains to collect serous fluid (or body fluid) over a week's time which will then be removed in the office. Most people can return to work after 2 weeks. You will have some bruising which should be minimal, but expect to be swollen for a few weeks. The scar will mature and flatten over 6-12 months depending on your skin type. We encourage to stay away from suntanning and wear SPF for optimal healing. Once again, we strive to make your experience as comfortable as possible.

What are some of the potential risks?

All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk.  You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following your preoperative and postoperative instructions.  Some potential risks include bleeding and infection.  Aspirin and NSAIDS and other blood thinners inhibit your ability to clot and hence, you are advised to stop taking these medications at least two weeks before surgery.  Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics and wound care.  Smokers and those with certain conditions that impede wound healing may have a higher chance of developing healing problems or widened scars.  Scars need time to mature and fade.  Some other potential risks include seroma, hematoma, numbness around the incision which usually improves over time.  Rarely, if you are immobile after surgery, you are at risk for developing blood clots.  You can minimize the risk by walking around the house or your bedroom after your surgery.