Tummy tuck procedure: Risks, costs and preparation for abdominoplasty

What is a tummy tuck?

Abdominoplasty, better known as a tummy tuck removes excess skin and fat around the stomach while tightening the abdominal wall. The results is a flat stomach. A male tummy tuck is merely the same procedure done on males after weight loss. It is also known as abdominoplasty.

While a tummy tuck addresses the full abdomen, above and below the belly button, a mini tummy tuck uses a shorter incision to treat only the “pooch” area below the belly button for someone with little excess fat. Recovery time for a mini tummy tuck will be shorter since it removes less skin from the stomach. Contrasting a mini tummy tuck, a tummy tuck with a fleur de lis allows massive skin removal for extreme weight loss patients with the addition of a long vertical incision line.

Who is this for?

This procedure is mostly performed after pregnancy or for weight loss, when the skin has become stretched or saggy. It cannot correct all the stretch marks.

To be a good candidate for this cosmetic procedure, you need to be close to a maintainable weight for your body and lifestyle, if possible with a BMI of 30 or less.

Smokers will need to stop smoking at least 6 weeks prior and after the operation. Also some medication will need to be halted prior to the procedure. These include blood thinners, such as aspirin, but also items like St. John’s wart, green tea extract, and garlic supplements.

In some cases alternative procedures might be better is your health is an issue. Those procedures will have lower risk.

What is the procedure?

The most common tummy tuck incision is horizontal, placed just within or above the pubic area of the abdomen, usually low enough to be hidden by underwear or a bikini. Do note that your surgeon may be able to keep the incision within your bikini lines, but it may not always be likely.

The surgery removes a section of skin and fat from the belly button, or higher, and then down to the pubic region. Up to 30-50% of the stomach skin is removed, including some of the stretch marks. Pulling down the left over skin to cover the whole belly, the stomach becomes much flatter and tighter, and the belly button is repositioned. Rarely, a new belly button may need to be surgically created by what is called an umbilicoplasty. Other procedures such as liposuction or breast augmentation are often performed at the same time. This is commonly referred to as a mommy makeover.

Still there are different types of tummy tucks, like a traditional tummy tuck, an endoscopic tummy tuck, and a circumferential tummy tuck.

Recovery can take several weeks. But it can take up to 9 months before all swelling subsides, and you see the final result of your tummy tuck.

What is the risks?

As will most surgery procedures there are risks. These can include:

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding
  • Infection. You can identify is there is an infection, if there are signs of fever, chills, sweating, pus or greenish liquid coming from the wound. An infection will need to be treated with drainage and a dose of antibiotics.
    Fluid accumulation. Fluid can build up underneath the skin forming a seroma. It is painless to remove a seroma. The downside is that it might need several doctors’ visits. Thin, small tubes can be placed under the skin to drain any build up fluid or blood
  • There can be skin loss that can occur and the fatty tissue might also die, leaving the skin uneven in texture
  • Deep vein thrombosis and hearth problem risks.

What are the problems that might occur?

Although good results are expected from your procedure, there is no guarantee that will be the case. If there is a case of poor wound healing, there can be tissue loss. Other problems that a patient might be left with are changes in the skin sensations, discoloration and scaring.

There can also be psychological problems such as depression that can develop. The issue of pain and medications can make the feeling worse. This for the most part since the down time can be extensive.

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