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Tummy Tuck Surgery tips
Tummy tucks are major surgeries that require careful preparation on the part of the patient. Abdominoplasty surgery, once performed, requires several weeks’ recovery time to allow the body to heal from the incisions and the muscle manipulation. Tummy tuck surgery does, however, provide the patient with many benefits, including improved appearance and, in many cases, an elevated level of self confidence. For patients interested in the specifics of the abdominoplasty surgery, DocShop has provided a detailed account of the techniques used by cosmetic surgeons. For information that pertains to your tummy tuck surgery specifically, you should consult a cosmetic surgeon during an in-person patient consultation.
Abdominoplasty surgery can be performed using either generalized or localized anesthesia. If you choose to undergo the cosmetic surgery procedure using localized anesthesia, then you will be awake for the duration of the tummy tuck surgery. Full tummy tucks can take up to five hours to complete depending upon the extensiveness of the work you want done. There are pros and cons to being awake for the entirety of such a long surgical stretch, but most surgeons will recommend sedation through generalized anesthesia. Although there are some risks to remaining sedated for extended lengths of time, many surgeons agree that an abdominoplasty surgery performed while the patient is completely sedated is the safer surgery. This is because when the patient is unconscious, the abdominal muscles are completely relaxed, allowing the surgeon to complete the procedure with greater speed and ease without being hampered by unexpected muscle or bodily movement. Occasionally, a surgeon will employ localized anesthesia for the duration of a mini tummy tuck surgery, which usually takes about an hour and a half to complete.
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Realizing the full benefits of tummy tuck surgery can require a substantial time investment on the part of the patient. A partial abdominoplasty takes about an hour and half to complete, while other types of tummy tucks take two to five hours. Although the location of each incision is carefully pre-planned to minimize the visibility of any surgical scars, scarring after abdominoplasty surgery is inevitable. Being careful to follow your surgeon’s pre- and post-operative instructions can help to minimize the size and darkness of your scars by increasing the likelihood of a smooth and quick healing process for your incisions. The incisions are made to allow the surgeon to remove excess skin and tighten the abdominal muscles, producing a flatter, firmer abdomen.
Creating the Incisions
The number and length of incisions that are made by a cosmetic surgeon performing tummy tuck surgery will vary, depending upon the type of abdominoplasty that is being performed. There are different kinds of tummy tucks to address different kinds of aesthetic complaints. The mini tummy tuck, also called a partial abdominoplasty, for example, involves only a single, very small incision that is made below the navel. By contrast, circumferential abdominoplasty surgery involves the removal of loose hanging skin from the entire hip area, including the back, and thus requires an incision that cuts across the entire waist line. Traditional tummy tucks involve one incision along the front of the abdomen from hip bone to hip bone. The positioning of all incisions is always carefully planned prior to surgery to increase the likelihood that the resulting scars will be easily hidden beneath underwear, bikinis, and other swim wear. The positioning of the incisions can be altered slightly based on your body type and lifestyle preferences, so be sure to discuss the sites of incision in detail with your surgeon prior to tummy tuck surgery.
Most tummy tucks, except for very minor partial abdominoplasty surgeries, involve changing the position of the naval in order to make the tightened skin of the abdomen appear more natural. A second vertical incision is made across the abdomen’s central section to detach the navel. Depending on what your surgeon thinks will create a more appealing result, another small incision is made to either reattach your existing naval or artificially sculpt a new one. Naval reattachment and naval sculpting are surgical art forms, and surgeons with more experience performing abdominoplasty surgeries will generally achieve better results. An experienced tummy tuck surgeon will always have before and after photographs of their results available for you to view. It is a good idea to compare the work of several surgeons before deciding to proceed with tummy tuck surgery.
Tightening of the Muscles
It is common for patients to develop increased laxity of the abdominal muscles as they age. Abdominoplasty surgery gives your cosmetic surgeon the opportunity to tighten sagging abdominal muscle mass, as well as remove packets of excess fat and skin from the stomach area. After the necessary surgical incisions have been made, if muscle tightening is appropriate for a given patient’s aesthetic goals, then the skin will be separated from the abdominal walls. The abdominal muscles will be pulled closer together and stitched into a position that will give them a more toned appearance. Tightening the abdominal muscles also tends to narrow the waistline.
After abdominoplasty surgery, particularly if you are lucky enough to have a very subtle scar, it may look like the loose skin around your stomach has been tucked into your body. It hasn’t. It has actually been removed. Following the tightening of the abdominal muscles, the skin is stretched downward, and excess skin is trimmed away. Sometimes liposuction is used to remove any unwanted fat pockets before the skin is pulled taut. Often, it is possible to eliminate or improve the appearance of stretch marks during the skin removal, depending on the location of the incision. Any stretch marks located slightly below the navel are often removed along with the excess skin while the remaining stretch marks often appear less prominent after tummy tuck surgery. This is because the stretching of the abdominal skin flattens the stretch marks, decreasing the degree to which they indent the skin.
Closing the Incisions
When the abdominoplasty surgery is complete, the skin is sutured together using surgical stitches. With the stitches in place, your skin cells will coalesce at the site of incision, closing the wound naturally over time. A surgical drain will also be inserted at the site of incision at the same time that the stitches are put into place. The use of a surgical drain makes the healing process quicker and often less painful because it prevents the buildup of fluids beneath the skin as your body attempts to repair the damage to the surrounding cells. Excess fluid buildup is a common source of complications to the process of healing from a tummy tuck, and your surgeon may feel that a surgical drain is a necessary precaution. The surgical drain is usually removed before the stitches, about a week after surgery. The tummy tuck stitches will normally be removed in stages over a period of two weeks following surgery.
Variations in Tummy Tuck Surgery Techniques
At the time of your tummy tuck consultation, you and a qualified cosmetic surgeon will discuss the improvements that you would like to see as a result of your abdominoplasty surgery. Although every procedure is unique, there are several basic variations on tummy tuck cosmetic surgery that can be used to address different cosmetic goals:
* Traditional tummy tucks are the most commonly performed type of tummy tuck surgery. They involve the creation of a hip-to-hip incision, as well as incisions around the belly button. Because they address the patient’s entire abdominal area, they often involve moving the belly button to ensure natural looking results. Traditional tummy tucks are commonly combined with abdominal liposuction.
* Mini tummy tucks (also called partial abdominoplasties) are intended for patients who are within 10 percent of their ideal body weight and are content with making alterations only to the part of the abdomen that is below the navel. Mini tummy tucks require only a single small incision. They usually do not involve repositioning the navel. Partial abdominoplasties result in less dramatic changes to the appearance of the abdomen than other types of abdominoplasty surgery, but also offer a shorter recovery time than most tummy tuck procedures.
* Endoscopic tummy tuck surgery is performed on patients with weakened abdominal muscles, little abdominal fat, and no noticeable loose skin around the stomach area. Endoscopic tummy tucks involve the use of a tiny camera attached to a slender tube, called an endoscope, which is inserted into the site of incision. An endoscopic abdominoplasty results in the least noticeable scarring because the incisions made by the surgeon only have to be large enough to allow for the insertion of the endoscope and the surgeon’s tools. This tummy tuck technique is employed in tummy tucks for men and women who suffer from rectus diastasis, a disorder that involves the separation of the abdominal muscles at the midline of the belly.
* Extended tummy tucks involve the removal of 'love handles’ on either side of the waist as well as the removal of fat and excess skin from the stomach area. The incision is usually kept low so that even if the scar extends behind the hips, it will not be visible, even when one is wearing low-rise clothing. This procedure allows for the treatment of a larger area than the traditional tummy tuck. In order to address the lifting of the entire lower body area, a circumferential tummy tuck is usually required.
* Circumferential tummy tucks is a type of body lift. Circumferential tummy tuck surgeries are often sought by patients who have undergo gastric bypass surgery. Massive weight loss is often accompanied by a significant loss in skin elasticity. Some insurance companies will cover part of the cost of a circumferential tummy tuck surgery. The presence of sagging skin may be a health issue as well as an aesthetic one, as fungus can form between the folds of the skin. Circumferential abdominoplasty can involve the removal of excess skin from the thigh, buttocks, and hips, as well as the central abdominal area. The scars for this type of procedure extend to the back
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