Procedures / Cosmetic / For The Body / Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

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Sometimes, even the most rigorous exercise program or diet will not correct "love handles," weak abdominal muscles or loose skin resulting from weight loss or pregnancy … Abdominoplasty is the surgical procedure used to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. It can help correct a protruding abdomen or an abdomen with stretched, excess skin resulting from a pregnancy or weight loss.

The best candidates for this procedure are men and women who are in good physical condition but have excess fat, loose skin, or loose muscles in the abdominal area that won't respond to exercise or diet.
The Procedure
Depending on your situation and the recommendation of your surgeon, you will either be given the option of a mini-abdominoplasty or a complete abdominoplasty. A complete abdominoplasty usually takes two to three hours, depending on the extent of work required. A partial (mini-) abdominoplasty may take an hour or two. These procedures are performed in an outpatient facility under general anesthesia.
The mini-abdominoplasty involves a short, horizontal incision in the lower abdomen and the navel is usually not moved. The skin is elevated from the incision line to the navel. Loose muscles in this area are then tightened. The "skin flap" is stretched down, the excess is removed, and the flap is stitched back into place.
Complete Abdominoplasty
The complete abdominoplasty involves a horizontal "bikini" line incision across the lower abdomen just above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from the surrounding tissue. Next, your surgeon elevates the skin from the abdominal wall and lifts a "skin flap" to reveal the vertical, "sit-up" muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are surgically tightened by pulling them close together and stitching them into their new position. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline. The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the "bikini line" incisions are stitched. Dressings are applied and a temporary drainage tube may be inserted to remove excess fluid from the surgical site.
For the first few days following your abdominoplasty, your abdomen will probably be swollen and you're likely to feel some discomfort which can be controlled with medication. Depending on the extent of the surgery, you may be released to go home within a few hours or you may have to remain hospitalized for one to two days. The drainage tube will be removed within 5 - 7 days and the stitches around the navel will be removed in about two weeks. A special support garment may also be required.
If you start out in top physical condition with strong abdominal muscles, recovery from abdominoplasty will be much faster. Some people return to work after one week, while others take longer. Your scars will flatten out and lighten in color over time. While they will never disappear completely, abdominal scars will not show under most clothing, even under bathing suits.
Dr. Robert Stroup has two offices in the Cleveland area. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation, please contact us at (216) 691-4000.