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Tummy Tuck Procedure Overview

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Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck or simply TT, is a cosmetic surgery of the abdomen to remove excess skin and fat, and to create a slimmer, more toned appearance. A protruding or saggy abdomen may be the result of pregnancy, obesity and/or rapid weight loss, or simply age. A full abdominoplasty can include the tightening of loose stomach muscles in addition to the removal of excess skin and fat. A surgeon can move or rearrange the navel (belly button) for a more pleasing appearance. Abdominoplasty can be performed on both men and women.

A full abdominoplasty is major surgery. However, there are less extensive procedures, including one called a partial abdominoplasty, sometimes referred to as a mini-tummy tuck. This procedure may be done as out-patient surgery, with the patient going home that day.

Am I a Candidate for Abdominoplasty?

A tummy tuck, or medically known as abdominoplasty, is a popular type of cosmetic surgery procedure. Abdominoplasty was one of the top five most commonly performed cosmetic surgeries in recent years, with 146,240 performed in 2006, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This is up from 62,713 performed in 2000. Tummy tuck was the fifth most popular procedure in 2006, exceeded only by breast augmentation, nose reshaping, liposuction, and eyelid surgery. The demand for this procedure is driven by many women who want to capture their pre-child bearing figure.

Deciding whether or not to have abdominoplasty should take a lot of thought. The most important factor to consider with any cosmetic plastic surgery is your overall health. You should be free of any active diseases or other pre-existing medical conditions that will complicate the surgery and recovery period. The quality of your skin is also a factor. Having elastic skinskin that more readily stretches and recovers will give better results since it can adapt to the new size and shape of the abdomen.

If you are a woman who is still of child-bearing age and or if you are a woman or man who plans to lose a large amount of weight, you should wait to have a tummy tuck. A future pregnancy or weight loss can affect the results of the surgery.

You should also be healthy, both mentally and emotionally. Healing after major surgery such as abdominoplasty can be difficult and tedious and requires patience and mental stability. You may experience a period of depression after the surgery that could aggravate any pre-existing mental health problem.

Before your tummy tuck, you must discuss the results you want with your surgeon. During your pre-surgical consultation ask your surgeon to view tummy tuck before and after pictures and get the answer to “How much does tummy tuck cost?”

Medical insurance will rarely cover the costs associated with an abdominoplasty. You will be responsible for the cost of the surgery and all the fees associated with it. However, you can arrange financing.

There are several phases in abdominoplasty:

Preparation: This is the phase when you are prepped for the tummy tuck surgery. Before the surgery begins, your surgeon will mark your abdomen to indicate where incisions will be made. The location, length and direction of these incision lines will be dictated by type of abdominoplasty being performed. During preparation, you will be scrubbed with an antimicrobial agent to minimize the risk of infection. You will also be hooked up to several monitors so that the surgical team can monitor your vital signs.

Anesthesia: The choice of anesthesia should be discussed between you and your surgeon prior to the surgery. After starting the anesthesia medications, your surgeon will test to ensure you are sufficiently anesthetized before beginning the abdominoplasty.

Surgical Procedure: After anesthesia is begun, your surgeon will start the procedure itself. After he or she is done, the incisions are then closed and a dressing is applied to protect the wounds, to keep the tissue in place, and to reduce swelling.

Tummy Tuck Recovery: After the surgery, you are awakened and moved to a recovery room where nurses monitor vital statistics for a couple of hours. As you wake up, you may experience pain, nausea, or uncontrollable shivering. Some clients become emotionally upset as they come out of surgery. The staff can provide you with pain relievers, anti-nausea medications, and warm blankets if you need them.

Website References:

American Society of Plastic Surgeons
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Humberto Palladino, MD


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