Questions About Tummy Tuck

What is a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) removes excess skin and fat, as well as restores weakened or separated muscles in the abdomen which are common characteristics following pregnancy or significant weight loss. Sometimes liposuction is used to refine the result or address problems that coexist in the flank areas.

Where are the scars?

The incision runs along the top of the mons pubis and angles up to the hip points. We try to design it so that it will be covered by panties and bathing suit bottoms. It is a long incision, but the length is necessary because of the large amount of redundant skin that is usually removed with this procedure.

Is there a difference between abdominoplasty following pregnancy and that following massive weight loss?

The main difference is that following massive weight loss there often is so much excess skin that the typical incision must change. Most often the incision continues around the side to the back. This is termed a belt lipectomy or circumferential abdominoplasty.

Where will the operation be performed?

The surgery is performed in our Charleston area office operating suite. It is fully accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities.

What kind of anesthesia will I have?

Our anesthesiologist will give you medication through an IV. Once you are asleep, we will inject local anesthesia into the surgical areas. You will be breathing through the entire procedure so there is no need for a breathing tube or ventilator. You will not feel or hear anything during the procedure.

How long does the operation take?

An abdominoplasty usually takes 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours, depending upon the size of the patient. More time will be needed if liposuction of the flanks is being performed. That will usually add another 1/2 to 2 hours. A belt lipectomy takes 5 to 6 hours.

How much pain will I be in after tummy tuck?

The tightening of the muscles does cause discomfort. Patients are unable to walk fully erect or lie flat for some days following surgery. Discomfort is greater when moving around, so sitting or reclining quietly lessens pain. Oral narcotics and muscle relaxers will make the pain tolerable. All that said, I have never had a patient tell me she would not do it again.

How much swelling will there be and how long before it resolves?

There is significant swelling after surgery. This is particularly true of the area immediately above the incision line. Swelling is usually maximal after about 48 hours. It will resolve slowly, but most will be gone in a couple of months. The area immediately above the incision line may not reach its final level of flatness for some 6-9 months.

When can I shower?

We usually recommend waiting for the first shower until the second postoperative day. Sooner than that and we find that it is simply too uncomfortable, which risks dizziness and fainting.

How long will I be out of work?

That depends on the work. Sedentary occupations usually require a week or two of recovery. More demanding occupations will require longer.

How long before I tan?

It is recommended that you avoid sun exposure while any bruising remains. It is also recommended that the scar be protected from any sun exposure while it still remains red or pink (usually 6-9 months).

If I become pregnant following tummy tuck what will happen?

The pregnancy will proceed normally. However, in all likelihood, all of the aesthetic improvements will be undone.

If I were to get breast cancer and require a mastectomy, will you be able to use abdominal tissue for reconstruction?

The blood supply to the abdominal wall skin and fat is altered following tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) such that this tissue can no longer be used in breast reconstruction. Fortunately, there are many other options available, including other areas of your own body tissues which can be used.

contact Charleston tummy tuck surgeon William Terranova, MD

If you are interested in the tummy tuck procedure and are in the Charleson, South Carolina area, please contact Charleston tummy tuck surgeon William Terranova, MD today to schedule an initial consultation.