Abdomen Surgery: Tummy Tuck
In the abdomen area the excess of fat could be eliminated with a simple laser liposuction but if there exist excess of skin or abdominal muscular problems the only solution possible is the tummy tuck.
The abdomen wall is a very important structure that is used to contain the abdominal organs and maintain the vertebral column firm. It is formed by various muscles, in which the muscles in the abdominal wall must be highlighted. They are 2 muscles that form the anterior portion of the abdomen. They go from the ribs to the pubis, and are joined to each other in the central area. These muscles separate during pregnancy to create room for the uterus which is growing. When pregnancy is over they should join again but they almost never completely do. In other cases, such as in men, the distension is due to the accumulation of intra-abdominal fat. A weak area is created in the middle of the abdomen which is called diastasis. Depending on each case the distance between the abdominal muscles can be larger or smaller and there can also appear hernias in the central area of the belly button.
Aesthetically the distance that is created increases the waist and the profile also will look more round.
Another problem is the skin, which can distend and loose elasticity creating a layer that falls over the pubis.
When we talk about tummy tuck we refer to a complete operation that allows eliminating fat, correcting the abdominal muscles and eliminating the excess of skin. To complete it, an incision has to be done in the inferior part of the abdomen (like a cesarean operation but a bit larger), that allows unsticking the tissues and reaching the muscle. Once this is done, the muscles are joined together again creating a corset and then the skin is pulled down and the excess is removed. The belly button is repositioned back to its original place.
It is done with general anesthesia. The intervention lasts between 3 and 4 hours, depending on the complexity, and the patients wake up with drainage, dressings and an elastic strip. The patient usually stays in the hospital for one night and the next morning, after removing the drainage, he/she can be discharged. It is very important that the patients move and go back to normal activities as soon as possible. The first days are uncomfortable, because of the corset and some itchiness, but there is no pain. In a few days the first revision will take place. This will allow showering and using hidrating lotions, and the few stitches that remain will be removed in 10-15 days.
The patient has to wear the strip all day during the first month and then star to do smooth exercises to recover muscular tone. During this first month, the treated areas will de-inflame and the result will be noticeable. From then on, slight inflammation remains but it will disappear slowly and the scars, always well hidden, evolution until they become thin and pale.
Results and posible complications:
The possible complications are hematoma (very rare), infections (very rare), the seroma (more frequent), scarring problems and the fearsome phlebitis and thrombosis. These last ones are best prevented and treated if the patients move as soon as possible because this will activate blood circulation of the legs.
The results can b spectacular. The abdomen is brought back to its shape, the waist is stretched, the abdominal muscles are defined and, seen from a profile, the abdomen looks flat. In the beginning of the recovery process the scars are uglier, red and hard, but when months go by they will start to whiten and become very thin and easy to hide.
Is there pain in the post-operatory? No, during the first days it will be uncomfortable because you cannot shower entirely and because of the tight sensation of the corset. This feeling will disappear slowly.
When can I go back to normal life? Usually, in 7-10 days the patients are in conditions to resume normal activities.
Can I do sports? After a month it is advised to start with sports activities, but in a progressive mode.