What is abdominoplasty?

Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a type of cosmetic surgery that removes extra fat and extra skin from the abdomen and tightens the muscles in the abdomen wall to make it flat. There are two main options for abdominoplasty: complete and partial.
In complete abdominoplasty, the abdomen is cut from hip bone and the incisions will below at the same level of pubic hair.
Partial or mini abdominoplasty is done below the navel and has shorter incisions. It is performed on patients that their body’s fat deposits are placed below the navel.
Abdominoplasty can involve various techniques combination intended to help patients achieve toned a lean midsection. The surgery may include liposuction, underlying muscle tightening and excess skin removal all of which are performed to various extents.
Abdominoplasty is recommended when the patient is already at her/his ideal weight. It is not a way to lose weight.

What is abdominoplasty

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How is abdominoplasty different from liposuction?

They are very similar, but two different surgical procedures. Liposuction removes fat on the tights, bottom, hips, and stomach. Abdominoplasty, on the other hand, removes excess fat that can’t be fixed via exercise or diet. It also removes excess skin that is the result of pregnancy and skin stretch around the abdomen.
Other factors that make the need for abdominoplasty are aging, heredity, weight fluctuations, and prior surgeries.
In liposuction surgery, the surgeon makes some incisions in the patient’s body. These incisions serve as the entry point for devices called cannulas. Cannulas serve as vacuums that suck out the fat from the abdomen.
Abdominoplasty repairs damaged muscles that make abdomen bulge. It starts with a huge horizontal slice that opens up the abdominal area. Thus, it is a more risky procedure, as the patient will have a larger scar. Then, all the stomach muscles and tissues that are weak or torn are repaired and the extra skin is removed. Abdominoplasty is done under generalized anesthesia since the procedure has extra invasive nature.
These differences between liposuction and abdominoplasty procedures make the surgeries risks and recovery different. In liposuction, which is done under local anesthetics, cuts are fewer, so the incisions need less time to heal and most patients can resume normal life in a week. It takes more time, almost more than one month for abdominoplasty. Liposuction is also cheaper than abdominoplasty.
However, in some cases, you may need to get abdominoplasty in conjunction with liposuction

How is abdominal surgery done?

It usually takes between 2 to 4 hours to be performed. However, if you have other surgeries in conjunction with tummy tuck the total time will be longer. Additional surgeries in conjunction with abdominoplasty can be cosmetic surgeries such as liposuction or breast implant or non-cosmetic surgeries such as hernia repair or hysterectomy.

The first step is that the surgeon marks the concerned incision areas with a pen. The marking also identifies the center of the torso. The torso is the area of the repositioned navel and the incisions. Some surgeons do marketing a day before surgery and some do it in the operation room. It can be done while you are standing or lying on the bed, but most of the surgeons think that it is better to be done while you are standing.
To be prepared for the surgery you may be given a sedative pill to care less about the surgery you are going to get.
You will be placed under general anesthesia. The surgeon will make two incisions. One incision is from the hip bone, close to the public area and the other one is around the navel.
The abdominal muscles will be separated from the skin. Then, they are pulled together and for a more narrow waist and firmer abdomen, the muscles are stitched into place. Next, the separated skin flap is stretched over the muscles that are newly tightened and excess skin is removed.
The last important step is that the navel is reattached to the place that looks more natural. Finally, the incisions are closed. The surgeon applies a sterile dressing over the area.

How about abdominoplasty recovery? What can you expect immediately after it?

First, you will experience swelling, bruising, and soreness on your abdomen. So, you have to expect swelling and pain, so you may take painkillers. Numbness and tiredness are also common after abdominoplasty.
In general, there will be dressing or bondages after your surgery. Also, you may have to wear a girdle_like garment, known as an abdominal binder, to reduce your body swelling. It also prevents the blood clots formation and supports your midsection and compacts contour.
You should be wearing this garment at all times unless you are showering. It is generally possible after four weeks to stop wearing an abdominal binder.
Drains may be temporarily placed in your incision to help excess blood or fluid remove from your body and you will get instructions on how to keep the incisions clean and drains clean. The drains are usually ready to remove after about 10 days.
You will need someone to assist you with everything because you will not be able to do anything. Keep in mind that you can’t turn around stretch or do heavy work. More importantly, you will not be able to bend and pick something up from the ground. Lower back muscles will have tremendous pain and back spasm.
Most surgeons think it is ok to take a shower 24 hours after the surgery unless you have drains. In case you have drains you have to take sponge baths till the drains are removed.
When taking a shower is ok, you may remove your dressing, but not for skin tapes, or what is called steri_strips, since they are directly on your skin. They eventually will fall off on their own.
The scars remained from tummy tuck are almost prominent. They fade slightly but never disappear.
If you are physically an active person, remember to limit strenuous exercise for at least 6 weeks.
Generally, you may need to take at least 1 month off work to ensure proper recovery. Most people love to reduce this time as they can’t wait for their new look. But, remember that you for some months you won’t feel a normal self.
The last important thing that you must care for abdominoplasty surgery is that you should follow a proper diet and exercise to preserve your new look.

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How should I prepare for it?

How should I prepare for it?

First, you should consult with your surgeon and discuss the area you are concerned about. The surgeon will evaluate your general health to know about your existing condition. Also, he needs to know about your drug, medication and alcohol usage.
Then, if you decided to move forward, you would need several things to complete including lab tests, taking special medications, medical evaluation and adjusting your current medications.
Remember to stop smoking and avoid anti-inflammatory, aspirin and herbal supplements, since they increase bleeding risk.
If your surgeon is a committed doctor, he/she will talk to you about probable complication including bleeding, infection, blood clots, skin loss, poor wound healing and more to help you decide with previous awareness. It is important to get the home ready before you leave it for abdominoplasty. Your recovery area should include:

  • Plenty of ice packs
  • Loose and comfortable clothing that you can take on and off very easily
  • Petroleum jelly for incision sites
  • Telephone within reaching distance
  • Hand-held shower head and bathroom chair

Abdominoplasty pros

  • Abdominoplasty trims your body’s waistline and makes the abdomen profile smoother and firmer. Thus, you will feel better and more confident.
  • Another pro of abdominoplasty is that it reduces or removes pregnancy stretches and C-section scars marks from your lower abdomen.
  • You might feel improvements in urinary incontinence and pain back including after pregnancy since abdomen strength and stability are restored to pelvic region and abdomen

Abdominoplasty Cons

  • Tommy Tuck’s recovery time is long. You need at least 1-month downtime and the full healing may take up to a year.
  • Abdominoplasty has the highest complications rate among other cosmetic surgeries.
  • Abdominoplasty scars are permanent and noticeable.
    They may extend across your abdomen.
  • Abdominoplasty cost is high and insurance rarely covers it.

What are abdominoplasty risks and side effects?

Importantly, it affects a very serious part of the body. Complications include   blood clots other than infection and under skin bleeding. Blood clots can move toward your ling and make breathing difficulties. If you have some healthy problems such as poor circulation, diabetes, heart, lung or liver diseases the risk of complications increases.

You may experience insufficient healing that will require additional surgery. It also may cause significant scarring or skin loss.

  • Other abdominoplasty risks are:
  • Fluid accumulation beneath the skin
  • Tissue damage or death
  • Skin sensation changes

Thus, you will need someone to help you after surgery

What are abdominoplasty risks and side effects?

Who is the best candidate for a tummy tuck?

It is suitable for both men and women who are in good general health and stable weight, but in the lower abdomen, they have excess fat and skin in the.
Those who intended to lose weight have to wait before undergoing the procedure as abdominal skin typically loosens after substantial weight loss. Also, those women that plan to get pregnant should wait before abdominoplasty.
Illnesses such as cirrhosis, advanced cardiopulmonary and uncontrolled diabetes reduce the candidacy for abdominoplasty. Also, cigarette smokers are considered to be poor candidates as abdominoplasty surgery needs adequate blood supply and nicotine constricts blood flow.
A great candidate for a tummy tuck has a normal body mass index (BMI). If you are a little overweight (a BMI of 30) you can still be a candidate. With a BMI of over 30, most people have to achieve some weight loss through exercise and diet first to meet their expectations with liposuction.

Who is a qualified abdominoplasty surgeon?

You need to be very careful about the surgeon you choose for abdominoplasty. A lot of plastic surgeons are not board-certified but give cosmetic surgery surgeries. They cannot be more qualified than board-certified surgeons. Keep in mind that any “ Board” is not a true board regulated by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The ABMS is responsible to supervise and regulate all legitimate Boards in the US. Just the American Board of Plastic Surgery gives certification to plastic surgeons in the US.
Also, look for the surgeon’s membership in different societies which requires his being Board Certified and adherence to a very high code of ethics. It ensures that the surgeon can be a committed one.
The surgeon’s experience is also important. You can ask him/her to give you a history of his/her works. Also check the comments the previous patients post on different social networks.
Anyway, keep in mind that abdominoplasty is a risky surgery and it can lead to dangerous results. Thus, it is of great importance to choose a surgeon who you can trust.

Dr. Salahi performs hundreds of abdominal and thoracic surgeries, abdominal lipatomics, lipomatic abdominal surgery, thighs and arms, breast prosthesis and minimally invasive surgeries and is one of the top-ranked doctors in Tehran in cosmetic surgery. They specialize in cosmetic surgery.

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Abdominoplasty cost

Generally, a tummy tuck is an expensive surgery. According to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in 2018, the average abdominoplasty cost is 6.253 dollars. It is just part of the total price. Other expenses include:

  • Operating room facilities
  • Anesthesia
  • Medical tests
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Post-surgery garment
  • Surgeon fee

The surgeon’s fee depends on his/ her experience, the geographic office location and the type of procedure. As American Society for Aesthetic Plastic surgery declares, the average fee for a surgeon is 5.232. It varies depending on the amount of skin and fat that is removed.

Unfortunately, most health insurance plans do not cover abdominoplasty and its complication. Fortunately, most plastic surgeons may have patient financing plans. So, make sure to ask them about the plans before abdominoplasty.

Abdominoplasty frequently asked questions

If you had given birth to children and your abdomen skin is stretched or has lost a lot of weight you may need abdominoplasty to remove the excess skin and make the abdominal muscles tighten.
However, if you have excess abdomen fat and roll of skin, liposuction may remove them and give you a better look without the need for a full abdominoplasty.

This surgery aims at removing excess skin between the pubis and the belly button and tightens the muscles of the abdomen that are usually stretched out after pregnancies.
Also, it removes stretch marks (striate) between the pubis and the belly button. The stretches marks above the belly button area will remain.

You are going to have a scar around the belly button to have surgery. Its size depends on your surgeon that does the surgery. The patients that experienced weight loss usually have a big upside-down scar across their abdomen which is usually T_shaped.

A good surgeon will try to keep the scar as short and as low as possible. The scar will be in the bikini line. There will also be a scar around the belly button when it is re-inset. In the beginning, the scars are a red line and thin and it will take them 2 years to fully mature. If there are c_section scars they will be replaced with abdominoplasty scar and if there are other scars below the belly button they probably are removed.

For women who had done abdominoplasty before, the abdomen wall and its tissues can still stretch as normal to accommodate a new baby. Some mothers find their bellies do not stretch as much as their previous pregnancy, but this safe and harmless to the child grows. The problem after pregnancy is not the muscles itself but the gap between two rectus abdominal muscles that is the stomach midline and is the connective tissue.
Importantly, as every surgery may lead to some unpredictable complications and everybody responds to pregnancy differently, many cautions women prefer to do abdominoplasty after pregnancy. Doctors also recommend the women to avoid abdominoplasty before pregnancy.

Abdominoplasty is not a suitable option for weight loss or exercise program. Though the results are technically permanent, the positive outcome will be diminished greatly by significant fluctuation in your weight. For this reason, women who consider future pregnancy or those who plan substantial weight loss should postpone the abdominoplasty.
Abdominoplasty can never correct stretches marks. It can only remove or improve them to some extent if they are located in areas where the excess skin will be removed.
Abdominoplasty is the most risky cosmetic surgery, so before taking any action assure that you know everything about it.

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