Do you have a belly or love handles you just can't get rid of?

Do you eat right, exercise and hold close to your ideal weight but still not quite have the appearance you wish.  If so a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty might be right for you.

An abdominoplasty removes excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall.  It can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen.

Keep in mind two things - the first is that a tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure and it shouldn't be taken lightly and it does produce a permanent scar which, depending on the extent of the original problem and the surgery required to correct it, can extend from hip to hip.

If you're considering abdominoplasty, this outline will give you a basic understanding of the procedure when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect.  It can't answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon.  Dr. Walker is more than happy to clarify any misunderstandings, please contact her office with any questions or concerns you may have.

What happens during a tummy tuck?

Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during abdominoplasty surgery.

Step 2 – The incision
A full tummy tuck procedure requires a horizontally-oriented incision in the area between the pubic hairline and navel.  The shape and length of the incision will be determined by the degree of correction necessary.  Through this incision, weakened abdominal muscles are repaired and sutured while excess fat, tissue and skin is removed. A second incision around the navel may be necessary to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions
Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes or clips close the skin incisions.

Step 4 – See the results
Your abdominoplasty procedure will result in a flatter, firmer abdominal contour that is more proportionate with your body type and weight.  The final results may be initially obscured by swelling and your inability to stand fully upright until internal healing is complete.  Within a week or two, you should be standing tall and confident about your new slimmer profile.

The best candidates for a tummy tuck

Relatively fit men or women who are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that won't respond to diet or exercise are the best candidates for a tummy tuck.  Older patients who have experienced a loss in their skin elasticity, which occurs frequently with slight obesity, can also be improved.

A tummy tuck is especially effective for women who have had multiple pregnancies and stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal.  Although for women who plan future pregnancies should wait, as vertical muscles in the abdomen that are tightened during surgery can separate again during pregnancy.

If you intend to lose a lot of weight, postponing a tummy tuck is a strong consideration.  Additionally if you have scarring from previous abdominal surgery, your doctor may recommend against abdominoplasty or may caution you that scars could be unusually prominent.

Abdominoplasty can enhance your appearance and your self confidence, but it won't necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or cause other people to treat you differently.  Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.