Who are the people undertaking abdominoplasty or tummy tuck?
Persons from two distinct groups of people are more likely than others to take up this procedure.
The first group comprises child bearing women. To have the progenies, the child bearing women make many sacrifices, one of which is degradation of their own bodies. Due to multiple pregnancies, sometimes even due to single pregnancy, the womens abdominal areas get stretched loosening the muscle, fascia, fat and skin. This creates significant discomfort in moving about and degrades the area aesthetically.
The other group is made of heavy weight or obese people. Many of these people lose massive weight by dieting and exercise, thanks to their willpower, and as a consequence, are left with loose and hanging skin. This occurs due to the skin being initially stretched much beyond its elastic limit due to fat accumulation and then being unable to adjust to the new body contour after the weight loss.
With aging, people tend to develop loose abdominal muscles and skin also.
In all the above cases, dieting and exercise are of no use as solutions. The solutions lie in physically tightening the layers and abdominoplasty, by most measures, is the top procedure to achieve the best results.
The present day culture of looking good, promoted by fashion and bill board models, TV and movie stars and competition in the work place, have been driving both men and women to look young and fit.
People are going in large numbers for liposuction for fat removal from pockets in the abdomens, thighs, flanks, buttocks etc (liposuction was the most performed cosmetic surgery in America in 2011 as per one survey) and trying to have well sculpted bodies. In many of these cases, after losing the fat, people find themselves with loose skin which they get tightened through abdominoplasty.
A full abdominoplasty is used to tighten the skin in the entire abdomen and an incision is usually made from one hip to the other just above the pubic area under general anesthesia. The navel is made free from the adjacent skin and fat tissues.
The skin and the fat layers are then lifted and the underlying muscles and fascia tightened by applying sutures. The skin and fat layers are then pulled and the extra skin and fat are cut out before draping them back in position.
The incision is closed with drain pipes in position to drain out the inner fluids. Sometimes, liposuction is applied in the transition zone to have a smoother contour there.
There are other versions also, named
(i) Mini- abdominolplasty- appled on a smaller area using smaller incision,
ii) Extended abdominolplasty- comprising full abdominoplasty combined with lateral thigh lifts.,
(iii) High lateral tension tummy tacks- A newer technique tightening horizontally in addition to the conventional vertical tightening of the skin and tissue layers.
(iv) Circumferential abdominoplasty- Also known as belt lipectomy or body lift, it is an extended procedure with incision round the body, covering full abdomen, thighs and buttocks, done for people with massive weight loss.
Full recovery period from a full abdominoplaty may be as long as three to six months with the return to work period being about three weeks after the procedure.
Wearing a compression garment or a support abdominal binder is required to control swelling and retain the condition of the treated area of the skin.
Like in any surgery, there are certain risks in this procedure, despite it being quite safe. The risks relate to anesthesia, blood clots, hematoma, seroma, skin necrosis i.e skin death.
There may also be risks of stroke, cardiac and pulmonary mal-functions. The best way to minimize these risks is to seek out the surgeons advice on pre- and post-operation precautions to be taken by the patient and following the same fully.
Complications, though rare, do occur and if these happen post surgery at home, like chest pain, shortness of breath or bleeding and others, the patients must immediately seek medical attention including contacting their surgeons.
Post surgery studies indicate that despite some major and minor complications during and after surgery, the overall patient satisfaction level remains high. According to several surgeons dispensing with the surgery, there is increasing peoples interest in getting the procedure.
The cost of abdominoplasty surgery varies widely depending on which particular type among several types of the procedure the patient undergoes as well as on the geographical location and qualification and experience of the surgeon. With all these variables in play, a rough estimate of the total cost would be $3,000 to $ 10,000.
The best course open for a patient is to consult a few surgeons who can come up with accurate estimates after examining the patient and determining what type of abdominoplasty procedure would be best for him or her.