May 21

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Women often ask me what is involved in having a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty.  I explain to them that an abdominoplasty is a procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen, and to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall.

This surgery is helpful in women who, through multiple pregnancies or significant weight loss, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal.

I also explain to them that they may benefit from an abdominoplasty done in conjunction with liposuction to remove fat deposits from the hips for a better and more pleasing body contour.

An abdominoplasty typically takes three hours, depending on the extent of work required.  An incision is made along the bikini line, just above the pubic area.  A second incision is required to free the navel from the surrounding tissue.

I explain to them that after their surgery, they will have drains in place to drain fluid from the surgical site.   The drains will be removed when drainage has slowed or stopped.  For the first one to two weeks, their abdomen will likely be swollen.  I tell them they will have a gauze dressing on their abdomen, covered by an abdominal compression garment.  Patients typically wear this for 4-6 weeks.  Sutures are removed at approximately ten days.

When they ask me about recovery, I explain to them they may expect to go back to work within one to two weeks, depending on the level of activity required for your job.  During the first three to six months your incision will be pink and raised.  This will soften and fade.

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