A tummy tuck usually begins with a relatively long incision across the abdomen, from hip bone to hip bone. The shape of the incision is like a smile, with a flat bottom. The flat part of the smile occurs at the bottom point of the abdomen immediately above the pubic area. The sides of the smile form a gentle curve along the pelvis up to the top of the hip bone. A second incision is made around the belly buttons/button to free it from the abdominal tissue.
The skin is separated from the abdominal wall, up to the ribs, exposing the vertical abdominal muscles (rectus muscles). These muscles have usually been stretched apart by previous pregnancies. The rectus muscles are then stitched into a new position, tightening the muscles and reducing the waistline. After the muscles have been repositioned and tightened, the excess skin is stretched and removed.
The remaining skin is redraped
over the abdominal area and sutured in place. The belly
buttons/button is then brought out through the overlying skin in
its new location.
Preparing for Tummy Tuck Surgery
The first step to your new, flat belly is a consultation with Dr. Hart. This evaluation will determine if you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck.
Dr. Hart will take a thorough medical history. He will review any medications that you are taking, whether you have any allergies or have had any prior surgeries or pregnancies. He will also perform a physical exam to measure the extent of excess fat and the degree of loose skin in your abdominal region.
Dr. Hart will
also assess the condition of your
abdominal muscles and skin tone while
you are standing up and lying down. He
will likely take some “before” photos
during this consultation process.
After Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure: you can expect a considerable recovery time compared with other plastic surgeries. Most people require one to three weeks before returning to work and a normal schedule. Some patients may not need an overnight hospital stay. Others may spend one or two days in the hospital, depending on the extent of the procedure.
Your abdomen will be swollen and sore for the first few days. Dr. Hart can prescribe pain medication as needed. This typically entails narcotics for the first few days after surgery, and then non-narcotic pain relievers after that.