Loose or sagging abdominal wall skin sometimes combined with excess fat of the abdominal area and laxity of the abdominal muscles. This change in appearance is often a result of wide weight fluctuations commonly seen after pregnancies or bariatric surgery for weight loss.
Abdominoplasties (tummy tucks) are done in most cases as an outpatient under a general anesthetic. If a large amount of liposuction is done at the same time, it is safer to have the patient stay overnight in an ambulatory outpatient facility like Jewish East. The surgery involves removal of excess skin, tightening of the abdominal muscles and liposuction of the excess fat of the abdominal wall, flanks and hips. An extended abdominoplasty may be necessary to remove large amounts of excess skin in both a vertical and horizontal fashion resulting in a “T” shaped incision. Like liposuction, we add a tumescent fluid containing numbing medication and adrenalin to narrow the blood vessels. We also use On-Q® pain pump catheters, which are small tubes about the size of spaghetti that are threaded through the skin and under the area of muscle tightening. They are connected to a pump that places a continuous flow of long-acting numbing medicine into the area of surgery.
RECUPERATION AND HEALING
Typically recovery for a tummy tuck takes about 10 days to 2 weeks. Pain is controlled with oral pain medications. The pain pump catheters deposit a continuous flow of long-acting numbing medication and are removed by the patient when they are empty on day three. We will send patients home with a catheter in their bladder to allow the bladder to return to function the next day when the catheter can be removed. We also place a drain tube that will collect the fluid that can accumulate between where the skin has been lifted and the muscle has been repaired. This is removed on day 5-7 when its output is minimal. In patients with desk type jobs, work can usually be resumed after 2 weeks for tummy tucks. More vigorous types of work may require 2-3 weeks before work can be comfortably resumed.
Abdominoplasties are often combined with cosmetic breast procedures such as breast reduction, breast lifts, or breast augments. Also, other areas of liposculpture such as the legs, arms or neck can be done at the same time.
The specific risks and the suitability of this procedure for a given individual can only be determined at consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are unusual.
Dr. Salzman is an extremely experienced tummy tuck surgeon having performed thousands of tummy tucks since 1989. His procedure is done without any blunt tearing of the tissues producing a more comfortable postoperative experience.