Charleston plastic surgeon Dr. William Terranova, discusses tummy tuck surgery at his state-of-the-art practice.
- What Does Abdominoplasty Accomplish?
- Abdominoplasty Candidates
- The Surgical Procedure
- Mini Abdominoplasty
- Recovering from Abdominoplasty
- Typical Results of Abdominoplasty
- Other Body Contouring Procedures
- Schedule an Abdominoplasty Procedure
Side effects of pregnancy or significant weight loss can include excess skin and fat around the belly, as well as weakened or separated abdominal muscles. Known more commonly as “tummy tuck” surgery, abdominoplasty removes the excess skin and fat from the abdomen and tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall. Most patients will require nothing other than an anterior procedure (the abdominoplasty), but some patients will benefit from additional liposuction of the flank and back areas. A small group of patients (following multiple pregnancies or massive weight loss) will benefit from removal of excess skin and fat around the entire waist line — a procedure called a circumferential abdominoplasty or belt lipectomy.
The Surgical Procedure
You will receive IV anesthesia during your abdominoplasty, and will remain completely comfortable throughout the entire surgery. Depending on whether liposuction is incorporated into the procedure, surgery usually lasts between two-and-a-half and three-and-a-half hours. Belt lipectomy surgery takes approximately five hours.
If he is performing a standard abdominoplasty procedure, Dr. Terranova makes a horizontal incision from hip to hip, right above the pubic area. He will remove excess fatty tissue and other tissue. He usually removes almost all of the skin between the incision and the belly button, and has to make an additional incision around the belly button to relocate it as the skin of the upper abdomen is pulled downward.
Depending on the patient’s particular needs, Dr. Terranova may tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall and secure them into place with sutures. In certain individuals, the muscle wall is already quite flat and tight, and does not require any modification. Some patients decide to forego the muscle tightening portion of the procedure because they want to recover quickly from surgery (muscle tightening can prolong recovery time).
Some tummy tuck patients do not require extensive surgical correction, and are therefore more suited toward a “mini abdominoplasty” or “mini tummy tuck” procedure. During a mini abdominoplasty, Dr. Terranova focuses on excising and tightening excess skin only in the lower abdomen. He usually does not need to tighten the muscles (or does so only minimally) and the patient does not require liposuction.
If you believe you would benefit from a modified version of traditional abdominoplasty, please inquire about your mini abdominoplasty options with Dr. Terranova during your surgical consultation.
There is no “normal” or “standard” abdominoplasty recovery — every body heals differently, and it’s important to listen to your own body and not rush back to work or your normal routine if you don’t feel up to it yet.
The abdomen may be bruised, swollen, tender or sore after surgery, but these side effects will subside with time. If you feel pain or discomfort, you can take oral pain medication, as prescribed by Dr. Terranova. You should do some light walking starting the night of surgery to promote blood circulation and avoid clotting. Other than that, you should get as much rest as possible and avoid any bending, lifting or straining, as these activities can increase the risk of complications.
Plan to take one to two weeks off of work and your everyday activities. Dr. Terranova will remove your stitches and advise when to remove your compression garment during several follow-up appointments. You will gradually feel ready to return to your normal routine. It can take up to several months for your swelling to completely subside.
Once your initial swelling subsides, you will notice a flatter, firmer abdominal profile. The skin in the treated area will be tighter, and your belly button may also look different.
After recovering, you will probably feel like your clothing fits more comfortably, and you will most likely have more confidence in social situations.
Your incision line will fade with time, but it will never completely disappear. Eventually it will be very faint and easy to conceal beneath underwear or a bathing suit. Dr. Terranova can recommend products to minimize long-term scar visibility.
If you’re interested in improving the contours of another area of your body, such as a thigh lift or an upper arm lift, Dr. Terranova can explore the option of complementary body sculpting procedures with you. These procedures can be performed in conjunction with abdominoplasty surgery, or separated out into different stages.
If you would like to learn more about abdominoplasty Charleston plastic surgeon William Terranova encourages you to contact our office to schedule a consultation. You can reach us by calling (877) 737-7182 or (843) 797-0440, or by sending us an email.