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Tummy Tuck - Abdominoplasty 

Introduction
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is used to create a firmer flatter abdomen.  It is common for excess fat deposits and loose sagging skin to develop in the abdomen as a result of aging, weight gain, loss of elasticity of the skin, heredity, and childbirth.  For some people the abdomen protrudes despite dieting and exercise.  A tummy tuck surgically removes excess fat and tissue.  Additionally, the stomach muscles are tightened creating a smoother more youthful silhouette.
 
The best candidates for a tummy tuck are people that have reached a stable weight and women that do not plan on having anymore pregnancies.  For those anticipating a weight change or pregnancy, the decision for timing of tummy tuck surgery may better be performed at a later date.  You will have an initial consultation with your doctor prior to your procedure.  Your doctor will evaluate your abdominal area (specifically-amount of fat, elasticity and excess of skin, and integrety of the abdominal musculature).  You should tell your doctor about your concerns and expectations. Your doctor will perform a general health evaluation. It is common for “before” photos to be taken for your medical records. You will need to stop smoking several weeks before and after your surgery. Your doctor will let you know if any of your medications should be temporarily discontinued as well.

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Treatment
If your tummy tuck is performed as an outpatient procedure, you will need to have another person drive you home and stay with you the first night following surgery.  You will receive general anesthesia or IV sedation depending upon the specific type of tummy tuck and your surgeon's suggestions.  Your surgeon will follow a predetermined incision pattern based on your specific needs (ie. a longer incision to remove more skin).
 
An incision is made horizontally above the pubic hairline.  The extent of the incision will depend on your body shape, skin elasticity and amount of excess or redundant skin.  Next, separated or weakened abdominal muscles are corrected.  Excess fat and tissue are surgically removed.  Depending upon the amount of excess fat, liposuction may be performed at the time of your procedure or at a separate procedure prior to the tummy tuck.  A second incision may be made around the navel to allow excess skin in the upper abdomen to be removed.  A temporary drainage tube may be placed to help prevent any fluid collection beneath the skin.  The incision is closed with sutures, surgical adhesive, surgical tape, or clips and bandaged.
 
Your dressings will be covered with elastic bandages or you will wear a compression garment to help reduce swelling, prevent fluid collections, and provide support while you heal.  It is important that you adhere to your specific self-care instructions.  You may not be able to stand completely upright for the first two weeks following your surgery.  It will also take a few weeks for swelling to resolve to reveal your new flatter and firmer abdomen.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.