The tummy tuck is cosmetic surgery designed to remove excess skin from the abdomen and, at the same time, to tighten the abdominal muscles. It is indicated for patients with lax abdominal skin which causes bulging due to abnormal stretching of the muscles and skin. This occurs frequently following pregnancy or significant weight loss.
Unlike liposuction surgery, which just removes fat, this operation involves removal of skin and fat, with tightening of the abdominal muscles. For this reason, it is more extensive than liposuction surgery. The actual extent of surgery will depend on the amount of excess skin and the laxity of the abdominal muscles.
For patients with bulging muscle and excess fat, whose skin is relatively tight, an endoscopic abdominoplasty may be an option. It is reserved for the patient who has good skin tone, but bulging underlying muscle. Only a small percentage of patients with abdominal complaints fit into this category.
Prior to tummy tuck surgery, the amount of skin that is to be removed is carefully marked. The operation is usually performed under general anesthesia. An incision is made in the bikini line, and the excess skin is pulled down and inward and is removed along with underlying fatty tissue. The muscles are tightened as required; the skin is carefully re-draped, and the incision is closed with several layers of dissolvable suture.
In most cases, the belly button will have an incision around it in a circular fashion because of the amount of skin removed. It is not true that the belly button is removed during the operation. You keep your existing belly button; however, it may look different because the surrounding skin is now tighter after the tummy tuck in Tulsa, OK.
Following tummy tuck surgery, a compressive girdle and stockings are worn for a few weeks. There may be considerable discomfort for several days following surgery, but most patients resume limited activity in a day or so. A urinary catheter is normally left in place for several hours after surgery, and wound drains are kept in place for approximately one week to help prevent the accumulation of fluid.
Because of the risk of possible blood clots deep in the legs that can spread to the lungs or partial lung collapse, it is important for patients to begin movement promptly after surgery–even if it is uncomfortable.
Because of the extent of the surgery, there are risks involved that can result in serious complications. Infection or collections of blood or fluid in the wound may delay recovery and could result in skin loss, fat necrosis, or scarring. These could lead to the need for additional corrective surgery.
The abdominal wall is stretched during surgery, and the blood supply to the skin may be compromised or damaged. This may lead to loss of skin. If this happens, a skin graft may be needed in the event the wound does not heal. Wound problems are much more likely with patients who smoke. Therefore, we require patients who use tobacco products to completely quit for a minimum of four-to-six weeks before and after tummy tuck surgery.
Patients must realize that there is a sizable scar, which, although hidden, may thicken or widen, requiring later revision. It is also important to realize that it will take many months for the scar to fade to its final appearance. Unfortunately, because of the pull involved with the operation, it is not uncommon for scars to be somewhat widened or irregular. A small percentage of our patients will return after about one year for scar revision.
In spite of these considerations, the operation is generally very gratifying. Many patients realize relief of functional symptoms such as low back pain, rash, and abdominal discomfort following the cosmetic surgery.
When surgery is primarily sought for functional purposes, insurance may help cover the cost. If you feel that your condition fits these criteria, our staff will help you to obtain that information from your insurance company.
For more information about tummy tuck surgery at Tulsa Surgical Art, please contact us today at (918) 392-7900 or email us to schedule a consultation.