An abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is performed on individuals who have loose skin, wrinkles, or stretch marks in the abdominal area. The muscles of the abdomen may or may not need to be tightened at the same time as excess skin is removed.
In many cases, excess fat that lies between the muscles and the skin is suctioned out with liposuction either before or along with the tummy tuck. This rids the abdomen of fatty bulk and allows the area to appear smoother, flatter, and thus, more pleasing in appearance.
Excess skin, fatty deposits, and weak abdominal muscles can result from weight gain during pregnancy, weight fluctuations, or hereditary causes.
There are three subcategories of abdominoplasty:
- The mini tummy tuck
- The full tummy tuck
- Endoscopic abdominal muscle tightening
A full abdominoplasty tightens the muscle structure and removes excess skin from the upper and the lower abdomen. An incision is made in the mid/lower abdomen under the belly button area, and the skin is then lifted up to the rib cage area.
Another small incision is made around the belly button itself so it can be freed from the rest of the skin and brought out through another place on the abdomen as the upper skin is pulled downward, tightened, and repositioned. Excess skin is trimmed away, and the area is stitched together with the lower skin.
A mini abdominoplasty removes excess skin from below the umbilicus or belly button. A ‘crescent’ type incision is placed just above or at the pubic hairline. The belly button usually remains unaltered. Muscles can also be tightened in the lower abdomen.
Endoscopic Abdominal Muscle Tightening
Occasionally people have a ‘pouchy’ muscle wall, due to heredity or loss of muscle tone, but they do not have excess loose skin. In these cases, a minimally invasive procedure is used to tighten the muscle structure. A tiny incision is made in the umbilicus or supra-pubic hairline, and a small endoscope is inserted so the surgeon can view the muscles through a special monitor and then tighten them with sutures.
The patient is required to wear a firm compression support garment for a month to six weeks to achieve maximum shrinkage and a smoother appearance. Physical activities will also be limited.
For more information on the risks, benefits, or cost of tummy tuck surgery, contact the Dallas/Fort Worth surgery office of Dr. Clayton Frenzel.