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There are several varieties of abdominoplasty (also known as "tummy tucks"), depending on the amount of fat and skin to be removed, the strength of existing stomach muscles, and the need to have belly button repositioning. Speak with your surgeon about which is right for you. Here is an overview of three typical procedures:
Endoscopic Abdominoplasty: This surgery involves the use of
cameras inserted through small incisions in order to view the operating area. If you have weak lower abdomen muscles and a large amount of stomach fat but have tight abdominal skin, this procedure may be right for you.
Partial/Modified Abdominoplasty (a.k.a. "Mini Tummy-tuck"): As long as your surgery doesn't require you to have your abdominal muscles to be sutured or a
repositioning of your belly button, this procedure may be right for you. While one of the more invasive procedures (more so than endoscopic, for example), it is not as invasive as a full abdominoplasty. You can expect scarring, but not as long as the full procedure's scarring.
Full Abdominoplasty: In this, the most invasive procedure, full abdominoplasty is usually only performed on those whose muscles are very loose and who have a large amount of skin to be removed. Those who have had significant weight loss after surgery and/or pregnancy can be good candidates for this surgery. Incisions run between the hipbones, over the pubic area. The skin is lifted above the navel. The vertical muscles at the front and center of the abdomen are exposed and sutured together with the connective tissue down the center of the
abdomen. This pulls in the loose abdominal tissue and strengthens the
abdominal wall. Loosened skin is pulled down and excess skin is removed. With such an extensive procedure, the navel then needs to be repositioned, so a hole is made in the remaining skin that the navel will be sutured back into.
All abdominoplasty requires extensive recovery time and will involve at least five days of immobility due to pain. As soon as possible, however, you should try to move around even minimally to help the healing process along. It's best to have someone caring for you at home so that you can receive assistance while dressing and moving to and from the bathroom.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|