Abdominoplasty is the technical name for a "tummy tuck," surgery that removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area and tightens the abdominal wall muscles. Partial abdominoplasties concentrate on the area below the navel; complete abdominoplasties are more extensive.
What Abdominoplasty Can (and Cannot) Do
Abdominoplasty can reshape an abdomen that resists traditional weight-loss methods. But no form of surgery should be a substitute for proper diet and exercise.
As with other forms of cosmetic plastic surgery, you need to have a clear and realistic idea of why you want the surgery and what you hope to look like after it. You should discuss your expectations with the surgeon.
Improving your appearance can't solve all of the difficulties you may face in life, but it may increase your self-confidence to help you deal with them.
Before Your Surgery
During your first consultation, your doctor will ask you about your expectations, your general health and any specific conditions that might interfere with surgery. Then your doctor will examine you and develop a plan for surgery and healing with you, including whether you will have a partial or complete abdominoplasty and the type of anesthesia that will be used.
IMPORTANT: You must stop smoking for several weeks before and after the surgery because smoking can interfere with healing.
What to Expect
Before your abdominoplasty, you may be given local anesthesia, though for a longer, more complex procedure you'll probably receive general anesthesia.
- Local anesthesia means you'll be sedated and the area around the surgery will be numbed. You're awake during the surgery, but relaxed and feeling no pain.
- General anesthesia means you'll be asleep during the operation.
Types of Abdominoplasty
There are two types of abdominoplasty procedures, including:
Immediately Following Surgery
You may go home several hours after surgery or spend a day or two in the hospital, depending on the extent of your procedure and the plan developed with your doctor. In general, you should walk around as soon as possible after surgery to reduce abdominal swelling. You may feel some pain and notice the swelling for the first few days after surgery; the pain will be controlled by medicine.
After a Few Weeks
Normally, your stitches will be removed within a week after surgery, though deeper sutures aren't removed until two or three weeks after. You may also wear a support garment for few weeks to reduce swelling. You should be able to go back to work between two and four weeks after surgery.
Healing is Slow - But Results are Great
Healing from abdominal surgery is slow and gradual and complete healing may take several months. How fast you recover depends in part on how extensive a procedure you had and your general physical condition. It will take about nine months to a year for your scars to get smoother, lighter and less noticeable. For several months after surgery they may even seem to be getting worse. This is normal.
It's also quite normal for people to feel depressed for a while after plastic surgery, especially in the early days when the results of the surgery aren't apparent. This will pass. Concentrate on why you chose to have the surgery. If you've met your goals, then your surgery is a success.
For more information on having abdominoplasty surgery, call us at (585) 275-1000, or request a consultation appointment online.