Georgeanna Huang, MD Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

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Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgery procedure designed to remove loose hanging abdominal skin, as well as tighten weakened abdominal wall muscles. Because diet and exercise cannot fix these problems, over 80,000 American men and women undergo Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty procedures every year in order to regain their figure and improve their abdominal strength.

The two "Rectus" muscles (the ones used for "sit ups") are the two major abdominal wall muscles that are normally held together over the front of the abdomen in order to give it its strength and tightness. This procedure re-establishes the strength and integrity of the abdominal wall by repairing the separation and stretching of these muscles.

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. Tummy tuck, or Abdominoplasty surgery should not be seen as a short cut to losing weight - it is a risky procedure in overweight individuals. Before you decide to have Abdominoplasty think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon. If you intend to lose weight it is advisable to postpone the Abdominoplasty surgery. Likewise, if you plan to have future pregnancies it makes sense to wait, as the vertical muscles in the abdomen that are tightened during Abdominoplasty surgery can separate again during pregnancy, also skin can re-stretch. If you have scarring from previous abdominal surgery, your doctor may recommend against abdominoplasty or may caution you that scars could be unusually prominent. The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that won't respond to diet or exercise. The tummy tuck - Abdominoplasty surgery is particularly effective if, through multiple pregnancies, you have stretched your abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where it can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity in older patients, which frequently occurs with slight obesity, can also be improved.

Most commonly, the surgeon will make a long incision from hipbone to hipbone, slightly above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. With mini- abdominoplasty, the incision is much shorter and the navel may not be moved, although it may be pulled into an unnatural shape as the skin is tightened and stitched. Next, the surgeon separates the skin from the abdominal wall all the way up to your ribs and lifts a large skin flap to reveal the vertical (rectus) muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are tightened by being pulled closer together and stitched into their new position. This provides a firmer, flatter abdominal wall and reduces the waistline. The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the incisions will be stitched, dressings will be applied, and a temporary drainage tube may be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site. In a mini-abdominoplasty, the skin is removed below the navel. This skin is stretched down, the excess is removed, and the skin is stitched back into place. The incision is usually shorter and the navel itself is not freed as in a full tummy tuck - abdominoplasty thereby avoiding the need for stitches around it.

Both partial and complete tummy tuck - abdominoplasty produces excellent results, especially if you have weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. If you follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly it is also likely that the results are long lasting. If you're realistic in your expectations and prepared for the consequences of a permanent scar and a lengthy recovery period, you are likely to be pleased with the results of your abdominoplasty.

Mini-Tummy Tuck: Mini-Abdominoplasty 

A Mini-Tummy Tuck does not involve an extensive undermining and tightening of the abdominal skin.  This procedure is not as extensive as a Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty, requiring only one hour of surgery as opposed to the three to four hours needed for a Tummy Tuck. Since it does not usually involve tightening of the abdominal muscles, it is reserved only for those who only have limited amount of loose skin or stretch marks in the lower abdomen or above the pubic bone. Also, it does not alter the shape of the belly button. Since a Mini-Tummy Tuck is not as extensive as a Tummy Tuck, it can be safely combined with full Liposuction of the abdomen and flank. Therefore, the combination of Mini-Tummy Tuck with Liposuction might be a better choice for those with excessive fat, but limited looseness of abdomen skin.

How Does a Tummy Tuck Differ From Liposuction?

A common question for patients who are concerned with their abdomen have is whether they would be better served with a Tummy Tuck or Liposuction.
The main difference between the two is that while a Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty is designed to remove loose abdominal skin and to tighten the belly, Liposuction is designed only to remove excess fat. A Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty will not reduce the dress size in a woman of size 14 who has much fat around her abdomen. Likewise, a woman who has lost all her excess weight after pregnancy and is left with loose, hanging abdominal skin will not be able to tighten her abdomen or remove the stretch marks with Liposuction. These are the major difference between the two procedures.

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is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, with subspecialty training in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery of the breast.
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