Specific steps of the tummy tuck
The tummy tuck can be performed as a stand-alone procedure or in association with other plastic surgery procedures such as liposuction, fat transfer to the hips and even breast enhancement procedures.
The details of the surgical plan and the specific steps to be taken during the tummy tuck should be discussed with the plastic surgeon during the pre-operative consultation. Generally speaking, this is what happens during a tummy tuck surgery:
The procedure starts with the patient being administered general anesthesia. The procedure can also be performed under local anesthesia with sedation, but considering the length of the procedure and the complexity, general anesthesia is often preferred both by plastic surgeons and patients. After the general anesthesia takes effect, the plastic surgeon will perform the incisions. In most cases, two incisions are necessary. One is a circular incision performed around the belly button to allow the surgeon to reposition it and the other is a horizontal incision on the supra pubic area, on the lower part of the abdomen. This incision can go from one hip bone to the other if the amount of fat and skin tissue to be removed is significant.
Once the incisions are made, the plastic surgeon will detach the skin and subcutaneous fat tissue from the muscles and elevate them up to the level of the rib cage. This allows him access to the muscles of the abdominal wall that need strengthening with sutures if they are affected by diastasis recti. After the muscles have been pulled together to the median line and sutured, the plastic surgeon will pull back the skin and fat tissue and re-drape them over the abdominal wall. The excess skin is removed and the incisions are sutured. During this procedure, the plastic surgeon can also correct umbilical hernia if present.
When the procedure is over, the patient will be left with the drain tubes inserted and a compression dressing will be applied to the surgical site.
If liposuction is combined with the tummy tuck, the surgery will start with liposuction. Liposuction is often performed on the abdominal wall and the flanks to reduce the thickness of the adipose layer and improve the profile of the patient even further.
It is important to keep in mind that after the procedure, there are specific post-op recommendations that need to be followed to the letter. These include wearing compression garments, walking and standing with the upper part of the body slightly bent forward, and also avoiding coughing and sneezing for at least a few days or a week after the procedure.
Most patients enjoy satisfactory results. The success of the procedure and also the ability to avoid unnecessary complications is dependent on choosing an experienced and board-certified plastic surgeon to play out the procedure.