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What is Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)?

Oct 9, 2007
Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and liposuction are two of the most common surgical procedures requested by patients. Usually, the question is not "tummy tuck versus liposuction", because many times a patient needs both. Instead it is necessary to determine which will work form the individual patient.

The important determinants of whether a tummy tuck is necessary are:

a) Whether the skin will adequately tighten if only liposuction is done or,
b) does the abdominal wall need to be tightened with sutures.

To explain further, if liposuction is carried out on the abdomen, then will the skin have the ability to "tighten" afterwards? If the fat con-tent is decreased and the skin does not have the ability to "take up the slack" then what may be left is just hanging skin, which is clearly not a very desirable aesthetic result.

Very little can be done to increase abdominal skin tone. Creams advertised as being able to tighten the skin, usually will not be effective. Also, although exercising is good for you, it will not cause the skin to tighten.

The best predictor of whether the skin will tighten, is to look at the skin tone before surgery. If the person has skin that is hanging in a roll over their pants, it is very unlikely that the skin will be able to tighten. The presence of many stretch marks suggests that skin tone is not very good.

There are many women who have had children and the abdominal fascia, (which is similar to thin shoe leather and lies above the abdominal muscles and it is this fascia that keeps the abdominal wall flat), has been permanently stretched out. This is analogous to a nice new leather suitcase which gets packed tightly with clothes and is placed in a closet for nine months. When the clothes are removed the tone and shape never come back to the suitcase.

When a tummy tuck is done, the muscles are tightened with permanent sutures, which weave through the muscle. This acts like a corset and pulls back the muscle layer giving a much flatter appearance.

Although an incision in necessary for a tummy tuck, this incision can be placed very low down and can be hidden by a bikini. Of course, when naked there will be a scar but this scar will often fade a great deal over a few years. Remember too, everyone will see the benefits of a tummy tuck on you, but only a select few may see your low abdominal scar.
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