Tummy Tuck Surgery

Tummy Tuck Surgery/Abdominoplasty


With increasing participation in outdoor activities and less restrictive general attitudes towards revealing styles, greater attention is directed to the size and shape of our bodies. We are also more conscious of our weight as it relates to general health and social acceptance. It is not at all surprising, therefore, to find greater interest in those surgical procedures that can be selectively employed for figure improvement.

Surgical procedures like Tummy Tuck Surgery are not at all directed toward weight reduction, which is still a dietary problem. Surgery does, however, afford an opportunity to correct some of those conditions which result from the earlier obesity of pregnancy. There are also some situations, familial in nature, that may be considered for correction.

Abdominoplasty is an operation performed to remove excess fatty tissue and skin folds in the mid to lower abdominal region, most often accompanied by stretching of the abdominal structures resulting from pregnancies. Diet and exercise alone cannot provide correction, since the deformity stems primarily from structural change. Repair may include tightening of the abdominal supportive structures and surgical removal of the excess skin folds.

There are many variables and several methods that can be employed in Tummy Tuck Surgery. The basic operation involves raising the abdominal skin and fatty tissue, stretching it in a downward direction, and removing the excess with suture line closure within the so-called “bikini line”. Repair of muscular supportive structures is done at the same time. This operation frequently requires repositioning the navel to a high level. This procedure may at times be performed together with other abdominal surgery (hysterectomy, sterilization, pelvic repair, caesarean section etc.) when the latter is semi elective in nature. Incisions can be so place that the internal surgical procedure is not compromised but permits abdominoplasty to be performed.
In considering abdominoplasty from a strictly elective standpoint (that is, when no other surgery is required), one must consider carefully the question of postoperative scarring, which may take as long as six to twelve months for resolution. There will always be some permanent mark. The question is whether or not the redundant abdominal folds are of such a degree that scars are preferable. Minor degrees of abdominal wrinkling or looseness should not be treated surgically. Other circumstances may give rise to unsightly abdominal conditions that can be corrected. Scars from previous abdominal surgery such as old Caesarean scars may be partially or totally eliminated by this procedure. In this connection, the trade of an old and particularly unattractive scar for one that is less obtrusive may be an appropriate choice.

The W-technique incision is used and the ‘Byzantine’ arch dissection to retain a more youthful and shapely looking abdomen, rather than an abdomen, which is flat, and in one plane only. The umbilicus is relocated to the midline and inverted as a result of its plication to the abdominal wall. Absorbable sutures are used. The procedure takes approximately 1-1 ½ hours and the patient stays in hospital for a period of approximately two days with a twelve-day recovery period and cannot resume sporting activities for a period of four weeks.

In the case of patients that do not have a tremendous amount of loose skin, a combination of liposuction as well as a ‘melon-slice’ abdominoplasty (which is the excision of a small amount of excess skin in the supra-pubic region) in combination is less traumatic and a highly successful method of treating this problem. However, if the skin laxity is excessive an abdominoplasty with relocation of the umbilicus cannot be avoided.

Surgical risks in abdominoplasty, relative to the local changes alone, are limited. Soft tissue loss, secondary infection, or collection of fluid under the skin are always possible, but can be treated quite successfully. To decrease the risk of infection, you will need to clean your belly button with Betadine twice a day pre-operatively for a week.

Generally speaking, abdominoplasty as a separate procedure carries the same risks as any other major surgical operation. Since the patient is usually in good health beforehand, the dangers are significantly lessened.

Plastic Surgeon Dr. Saul Braun operates from the Netcare Rosebank Hospital, situated in the up-market Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg.

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