Abdominoplasty (known commonly as a “tummy tuck”) is a common operation performed in a variety of age groups to remove excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen. The muscles of the abdomen are tightened. This is a major procedure with a prolonged recovery and significant risks. This procedure can improve the contour of the lower abdomen and reduce the protrusion related to excess fat and weak muscles. In order to accomplish this improvement, there is a big “trade-off” resulting in a long, sometimes quite noticeable, lower abdominal scar from hip to hip. The use of pain pumps has helped reduce post-operative pain. Although sometimes this procedure can be performed as an outpatient, in most cases, an overnight stay in the facility is needed. Depending on the degree of the problem, a lesser procedure (known as the “mini-abdominoplasty”) may be possible which results in less pain, scarring, swelling and bruising and a quicker recovery. When the patient is overweight, it is best to loose weight before the operation. A large amount of fat in the upper abdomen and lower abdomen will compromise the end result. Although the fat in the lower abdomen (below the “belly-button”) will be removed, any excess fat in the upper abdomen will be pulled down into the lower abdomen. Thus, if you have a large amount of excess fat in the upper abdomen, when this tissue is pulled down, you will continue to have a contour abnormality. Patients who are overweight will not heal as well due to the excess fat in the tissues, and wound healing problems and open wounds can are very common in this group of patients. For the above reasons, I encourage you to undergo weight reduction prior to the surgery.
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