A "tummy tuck," technically called abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes the excess skin and tightens the muscles of the abdomen to give the stomach a flat and firm look.
Excess skin that sometimes results from past pregnancy, extreme weight loss or gain and localized deposits of fat that are resistant to dieting are some of the reasons a person may choose to have this procedure. Abdominoplasty is however, not designed as a method of weight loss.
Watch the video below as Dr. Kenkel talks about excisional surgery and the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure.
Am I a good candidate for the surgery?
Your visit with Dr. Kenkel will determine if you are a good candidate. If you are in good physical and mental health with reasonable expectations you should be an appropriate candidate.
Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with Dr. Kenkel.
What should I expect from my consultation?
During your consultation, you will learn about the surgery, its limitations and risks, and discuss your needs and concerns. This will help Dr. Kenkel understand your expectations and determine whether they realistically can be achieved. He will examine your body and will consider such factors as the quality of your skin tone and the contour of your body. He will explain which surgical techniques are most appropriate for you. Afterwards a photographer will take photographs for your medical record. You may also schedule an additional consultation to view computer imaging so that you may visualize your results post surgery.
You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions, drug allergies, medical treatments you have received, previous surgeries and medications that you currently take. It is important for you to provide complete information.
How is the surgery performed?
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and usually takes 3-4 hours. Before you are put under anesthesia, Dr. Kenkel will draw the incision line on your abdomen with a marker. The incision line will extend at least from hip to hip right above the pubis area. When you are under, a catheter to drain your bladder is put in place.
The incision is made and the skin is lifted up from the abdominal wall. The umbilicus is released from its position in the skin but stays attached to the abdominal wall. The muscles are then tightened and the skin re-draped over the abdomen. The umbilicus is marked for a new position and the excess skin is removed. The skin is sutured in place with the combination of absorbable and non-absorbable sutures. Two drains are placed under the incision that will remain for a week to ten days. These drains will remove the normal healing fluid that the body produces. A compression garment will then be put in place.
What happens the day of surgery?
Your abdominoplasty will be performed in a hospital. You will stay 1-2 days in the hospital and be released to very limited activity. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home from surgery and to stay with you to assist you in and out of bed the first couple of days while at home. The "Patient Care" link provided will give you instructions to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating, drinking and smoking. If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking well in advance of surgery. Aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs can cause increased bleeding, so you should avoid taking these medications for a period of time before surgery.
Prior to the procedure, medications are administered for your comfort and to lessen the anxiety if need be. General anesthesia and intravenous sedation are used for patients undergoing abdominoplasty. When surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored.
What is the recovery like?
You will have some discomfort and/or pain following surgery. While you are in the hospital your pain control is intravenous narcotics for the first 24 hours. When you are discharged, you will be given prescriptions for pain medication and antibiotics as well.
Plan on at least three weeks to fully recover. The first ten days you will walk stooped over. As the skin stretches you will slowly straighten up. The drains may be removed within ten days depending on their output. You will keep a log to record how much fluid is draining.
You will wear a compression garment or binder for two weeks day and night following surgery and then during the night for the next two weeks.
What should I know about my results?
Whenever surgery is performed on your body a scar will result. Although the scar heals very well, it will always be present. It will take at least a year for the scar to mature and fade from pink/red to pale. It is usually not visible in your swimsuit or underwear. Dr. Kenkel will discuss the placement of the incision on your first visit.
Abdominoplasty should not be used as a means for weight control. It is only used to reduce localized fat deposits. Dr. Kenkel can give you information about nutrition and exercise but ultimately it is up to you to retain your results.
How many visits do I have after surgery?
You will usually return in 3-4 days following surgery then in 7-10 days for suture removal and drain removal. During your postoperative visits, Dr. Kenkel will discuss further postoperative activity and concerns you may have. Following this visit you will return in approximately 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and one year.
What does the surgery cost?
At the time of your initial consultation, you will be quoted a price that will include Dr. Kenkel's fee as well as hospital and anesthesia fees. Fees are due three weeks prior to your surgery. Checks, money orders, cash and credit cards may be used for payment. A $500.00 deposit will reserve a specific time and date for our surgery.
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