The abdominoplasty procedures, also known as tummy tuck, are aesthetic surgical procedures performed to eliminate deformations in the abdomen, caused by aging, genetic factors, pregnancy and constant weight gain and loss. With abdominoplasty, excess fat in the abdomen is removed and the skin is tightened to create a flat and tight abdominal profile. With this surgery, excess sagging skin with stretch marks is removed in order to give the abdomen a flatter appearance.
For overweight patients, diet and sports are recommended first. People who plan to lose weight or get pregnant are recommended to postpone abdominoplasty. If the patient cannot burn the fat in the abdomen despite losing weight, and he or she has excess sagging skin, he or she can gain a more aesthetic appearance with abdominoplasty.
Patients may sometimes complain of a sagging and protruding abdomen despite exercise and weight control. In patients with a history of pregnancy, the abdominal muscles may be separated from each other in the midline, and this problem causes the abdomen to have a convex appearance. Therefore, in patients with such complaints, the separated muscles are stitched together (inner corset) during the abdominoplasty procedure to obtain a flat abdomen.
Quitting smoking at least 2 weeks before the surgery is of great importance for the healing process. The patient should also avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements that may increase bleeding.
Abdominoplasty operations take 2 to 5 hours, depending on the procedures performed. The patient may need to stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 days, depending on the surgeon's preference.
In abdominoplasty, the technique is determined based on whether the laxity in the abdomen is below or above the belly button. Whether or not separation exists in the abdominal muscles is another factor that determines the technique.
Mini abdominoplasty (mini tummy tuck): If there is a small amount abdominal laxity and sagging skin below the belly button, the mini abdominoplasty procedure is performed. This procedure involves less incision, and therefore it leaves a smaller scar that can be hidden in the bikini line. The procedure takes about 2 hours.
Full abdominoplasty (full tummy tuck): If the patient has abdomen laxity extending to above the belly button, separated muscles in the midline, and stretch marks, the full abdominoplasty procedure should be performed. The incision is made horizontally between the patient's groin and belly button. After the surgical removal of the abdominal skin, the exposed weak and separated abdominal muscles are stitched together. The upper abdomen skin is pulled down and the excess part is cut and removed. The remaining parts of the skin are then stitched together. By creating an opening on the skin, the belly button is placed where it should be. The procedure including anesthesia takes about 3 to 5 hours.