Loss of skin elasticity and abdominal muscle weakness can be caused by pregnancy, weight loss, and the overall effects of time. This generally leaves the body with a lower abdominal bulge and sagging skin that exercise cannot correct. A tummy tuck addresses these issues by removing excess abdominal skin and fat while tightening the muscles. The tummy tuck is frequently combined with other cosmetic procedures, such as liposuction or breast procedures.
Your surgeon will assess your skin tone, the amount of loose skin, your muscle condition and excess fat in your abdomen area. This examination will occur while you are standing as well as lying down.
During the consultation, you should be prepared to discuss your comprehensive medical history. Relevant information includes current and previous medical conditions, drug allergies, previous medical treatments, pregnancy history and current medications. Your Plastic Surgical Arts surgeon’s recommendation is based largely on the complete and accurate information you provide during this initial visit.
For your convenience, your abdominoplasty procedure may be performed at the Lincoln Surgical Hospital, Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center or BryanLGH Health Systems.
This procedure requires the use of a general anesthetic; therefore, you will be asleep during the surgery. Once the surgery is completed, you will be required to remain in the recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. In many instances, small drain tubes will have been placed within the abdominal tissues to help avoid accumulation of fluids. Gauze or other dressings may be applied to your abdomen and covered with tape or an elastic bandage.
You may be permitted to go home after a few hours, unless you and your surgeon have determined that you will stay in the hospital or surgical facility overnight.
The recovery time for the abdominoplasty procedure varies from patient to patient and no two cases are alike. Depending on the extent of your abdominoplasty and your general physical condition, you may be able to return to non-strenuous work anywhere from one to three weeks after surgery. In many instances, you can resume most of your normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, after a few weeks. You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort and swelling during this time, but such feelings are normal. Any severe pain should be reported to your doctor.
Sexual activity should be avoided for 3-4 weeks, in some instances, your plastic surgeon may advise you to wait longer.
Your abdomen should remain firmer and flatter for many years, unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant. Gravity and the effects of aging will eventually affect your results. If, after a period of years, you again become dissatisfied with the appearance of your abdomen, you may choose to undergo a second procedure to restore a more youthful body contour.
One or two drains are placed in the abdominal region at the time of surgery to remove fluid that collects under the skin. These drains generally stay in place for 1-2 weeks. The nursing staff will explain drain care prior to your discharge. The drains can be removed in our office when they are putting out less than 20-30mls of liquid in a 24-hour period, per physicians discretion.
At the completion of surgery, an abdominal binder is provided. This abdominal binder is generally worn continuously for two weeks and should fit snugly, but not too tightly. It should be comfortable to wear and it is okay to remove the binder and wash as needed.
One to two weeks following the surgical procedure, you should sleep on your back with your waist slightly flexed. This will reduce the amount of tension on your abdomen until it is comfortable to lie flat.
Do not submerge the incision in water until it is completely healed; this includes a bathtub, Jacuzzi and swimming pool. A shower may be taken the morning after the surgery, and we encourage you to have someone available for assistance if needed. Please keep your dressings clean and dry and it is permissable to change them as often as necessary. Sanitary napkins work well to absorb excess drainage.
Daily activity is encouraged to keep good blood circulation in your legs. Activity should not be strenuous initially and you should not lift more than 10 pounds for several weeks. Driving is not recommended until you are no longer taking painkillers, have full range of motion in your arms, and you can react and turn your torso quickly. This generally occurs two weeks after surgery.
Returning to work is variable and depends on your everyday responsibilities. Two to three weeks is the general range for returning to work for most patients.
Scar quality will depend on many factors such as skin type, age and tension; your physician will discuss massage to improve scar quality at the appropriate time.
DO NOT SMOKE, as smoking delays healing and increases the risk of complications. We ask that you delay smoking for at least three weeks prior and three weeks after surgery.