Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is a cosmetic procedure used to make the abdomen thinner and more firm. Surgical correction involves the removal of excess of skin and fat from the abdomen, tightening the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall and hernioplasty if needed. This type of surgery is usually sought by patients with loose or sagging tissues after pregnancy or major weight loss.
Candidates for abdominoplasty surgery share certain important characteristics. They need to have appropriate nutrition as surgery is extensive and healing process needs to be smooth and straightforward. They ideally have a well-defined underlying muscles to provide support and contribute to satisfying results. It is mandatory for patients to have realistic expectations, understanding not only what abdominoplasty can accomplish, but also the limitations of the aforementioned procedure.
Miniabdominoplasty (Partial Abdominoplasty) is limited surgery usually with just dermolipectomy and sometimes liposuction. A shorter incision is made and the skin and fat of the lower abdomen are detached up to the navel. The skin is stretched down and excess skin and fat are removed. Liposuction is often used to contour the transition zone or upper part of the abdomen.
Floating Abdominoplasty (FAB Technique) is a technique also known as an “extended mini- abdominoplasty”. It allows for tightening and shaping through a smaller incision that is not located around the umbilicus. Excess skin is removed and the belly button is temporarily detached, floating above the muscles. The muscles are tightened and reshaped from sternum to pubic area. The skin is then tightened and the belly button is reattached.
Complete Abdominoplasty, in general, comprise dermolipectomy, tightening of the muscle and fascia and sometimes liposuction to refine the transition zones of the abdominal sculpture. An incision is made from hip to hip just above the pubic area. Initially the skin is detached from the abdominal wall to allow a secondary tightening of the muscles and the fascia. The muscle fascia wall is tightened with sutures. The original umbilicus is sutured into a new hole and the wound is closed.
An Extended Abdominoplasty is a complete abdominoplasty plus a limited lateral thigh lift and hip reduction. The resulting scar runs from the posterior axillary line from one side to the other. The operation does all of the abdominal contouring of a complete abdominoplasty and allows further improvement of the flank, as well as smoothing the contour of the upper lateral thigh.
A Circumferential Abdominoplasty (Belt Lipectomy or Body Lift) is an extended abdominoplasty with a buttock lift. The resulting scar runs all the way around the body, and the operation is also called a body lift. This operation is most appropriate for patients who have undergone massive weight loss.
Abdominoplasty operations are always performed under general anesthesia and vary in extensity. Depending on the extent of the surgery, a complete abdominoplasty can take from 2 to 5 hours. A partial abdominoplasty (miniabdominoplasty, floating abdominoplasty) can be completed in 1-2 hours.