Gerald G. Edds, MD, FACS

Cosmetic Surgery

2012 President of the
American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, can flatten a protruding abdomen, tighten the abdominal muscles, and remove excess skin. After pregnancy or significant weight loss, many people are left with a protruding abdomen that won't flatten out with diet or exercise because the tissue has been stretched. The tummy tuck was designed to correct this cosmetic problem.

Who can benefit from a tummy tuck?

Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss. The objective of the surgery is to improve the contour of the body by flattening and narrowing the abdomen. The best candidates for the surgery are at a normal weight, but have weak abdominal muscles with excess skin and fat. Age, obesity and smoking habits are some of the factors that Dr. Edds considers when evaluating you for this procedure. Smokers and obese people are at a much higher risk for complications following an abdominoplasty and may not be suitable candidates.

The Full Tummy Tuck

When a significant degree of excess skin and tissue protrudes above and/or below the belly button, a full abdominoplasty is necessary.

The Mini Tummy Tuck

Years ago, the full abdominoplasty was used for most patients. Now we are fortunate to have other surgical options to address the different cosmetic problems of the abdomen. Patients that have excess tissue problems confined to the area between the belly button and pubic line are often good candidates for a mini-tummy tuck or partial abdominoplasty. The mini-tuck is less expensive than a full abdominoplasty and has a shorter recovery period.

Before Surgery

Prior to surgery, a complete medical history is taken in order to evaluate your general health. A careful examination is also conducted. Dr. Edds will discuss what can realistically be expected. Photographs may be taken before and after surgery to evaluate the amount of improvement. The type of anesthesia to be used, the procedure, and possible risks and complications are also discussed.

Preoperative instructions may include the elimination of certain drugs which contain aspirin in order to minimize the possibility of excessive bleeding. Antibiotics may be prescribed prior to surgery to prevent infection. You may also be advised to shower with an antiseptic soap the day prior to surgery.

The Procedure

Abdominoplasty is usually performed in our fully accredited surgery center under general anesthesia.  Premedication may be administered to relax you. Although there are several procedures from which to choose, the one most frequently used by Dr. Edds involves an incision at the bikini line. In a full abdomimoplasty, a second incision is made around the navel. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall and lifted up, exposing the loose tissue that covers the abdominal muscle. Often, weak abdominal muscles are sutured in order to tighten those which are loose or stretched out. The skin is then lowered over the abdomen and excess skin and fat is removed. Before the incisions are closed with small sutures, if needed the navel is reconstructed, and usually drains are inserted to eliminate fluid build-up. Bandages are then applied to the area.

Following Surgery

You may return home the same day of surgery. If drains are used, they will remain in place for several days until fluid levels decrease. Pain and discomfort from the surgery are controlled with oral medication. Sutures are removed approximately one week after surgery and bandages are applied. Bandages are later replaced with an abdominal support garment which is worn for several weeks. During this time, you must refrain from heavy lifting, straining or other activity. Although you are usually up and around the day of surgery, Dr. Edds decides when normal activities may be resumed. This decision is based upon the extent of surgery and your progress. Bruising and swelling which occur around the treated area will disappear within a few weeks. Scars from the procedure remain but fade significantly in time.

Each year thousands of abdominoplasties are successfully performed. The amount of improvement is individual and depends upon the extent of surgery and your skin tone, body build and healing process. Complications connected with the procedure are rare; however, there are inherent risks connected with every surgical procedure. Possible risks and complications will be thoroughly discussed with Dr. Edds prior to surgery. You can minimize complications by carefully following directions given by Dr. Edds.

Insurance companies do not pay for abdominoplasty.

If you are interested in learning more about this procedure, please call our office at (270) 926-9033 or (800) 820-4833 and we will be happy to answer any questions about the procedure itself or about procedure cost and financing.

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