Cosmetic Surgery Of The Abdomen, "Tummy Tuck".

“Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a surgical intervention with which you can regain a more stylized body contour, when low-calorie diets or physical exercise no longer work to achieve the desired results.”

By Lefny Díaz

It is ideal for patients who have excess skin and tissue in the abdominal area. Abdominoplasty also addresses the separated muscles of the abdominal wall (diastasis recti abdominis), which can occur after weight fluctuations and pregnancy.

Candidates for a tummy tuck are not those who have a lipodystrophic area in the abdomen (for that liposuction is indicated), but those who have flaccidity in the skin of the abdomen, have lost the original position of the navel or suffer strain in the rectus muscles . Although it is a little or no painful surgery, and with very satisfactory results.

If you are considering the possibility of undergoing a tummy tuck, in addition to discussing the benefits of the procedure and the expected recovery time with the surgeon, it is also important that you know the types of scars that may remain after the surgery.

How are the scars produced by abdominoplasty?
The type of procedure will be decisive in the final appearance of the scars, as well as other variables that are specific to the patient (their skin type, age, habits, etc.). The most common is that the scars of your abdominoplasty present the appearance that we show below:

Standard / complete tummy tuck: In this procedure, the surgeon will remove the excess skin from the umbilical area and join it with the pubis. the resulting scar will be a transverse incision on the pubis and another around the navel. The transverse scar is easily concealed by being in areas usually covered by underwear or swimwear.

Mini tummy tuck : When it is not necessary to remove large amounts of skin or fat, and repair of a diastasis in the rectus muscles is not required, this procedure can be chosen, which leaves a much smaller transverse scar on the pubic area.

Extended tummy tuck: A procedure similar to a full tummy tuck, it is performed in patients whose skin excess is greater. The resulting transverse scar, located in the lower part of the belly, extends a few more centimeters to the sides, and some areas may be visible.
Anchor or fleur de lys tummy tuck. This technique, which is generally applied to patients who have suffered massive weight loss. It produces a transverse scar on the pubis and a vertical scar that extends along the midline of the abdomen towards the navel. In some cases, it is the only alternative to regain a plump belly.

Circumferential abdominoplasty or contourplasty: For more extreme cases, in which there is excess skin and fat in different regions of the abdominal contour, this technique is used, which creates a scar that bypasses the body reaching the buttocks in some cases.

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Care prior to tummy tuck surgery

Candidate patients for a tummy tuck should prepare their body very well for this intervention. As it is normally (depending on the case) an extensive surgery, the patient must first of all have an optimal state of health. To do well the care of the tummy tuck before surgery, it is imperative to follow these recommendations:

Stabilize body weight and keep it constant for at least half a year before abdominoplasty (so we know that neither diet nor exercise can achieve improvement).

Hernias or other problems can cause risks and inconveniences that are incompatible with abdominoplasty. For this reason, the plastic surgeon and the patient must be sure that none of them exist or, if they exist, anticipate them with the appropriate professional (general surgeon) to consider the possibility of performing a combined surgery in which the abdominal area is repaired by complete and the need or not of an abdominal mesh is determined.

Any food or medicine that can affect normal blood clotting is contraindicated for tummy tuck surgery. All of them should be removed at least 10-15 days before abdominoplasty.

Smoking, in addition to killing, seriously affects blood circulation. This can lead to poor healing and other problems related to slow healing of surgical wounds. It is very important to keep the abdominal skin perfectly hydrated and sanitized, before the abdominoplasty.
A total fast should be kept for at least 8 hours before the tummy tuck surgery.
Being aware that the postoperative period, although it will not be painful, is limiting when it comes to leading a normal life during the first fifteen days after abdominoplasty.

“Regardless of the approach required by the patient in abdominal surgery, it is very easy to hide the scars of abdominoplasty, since these are usually hidden under underwear or bathing suits. Other women opt for a new trend to completely and aesthetically hide the abdominoplasty scar, which is to tattoo on top of it.”

How Abdominoplasty Scars Evolve
We can divide the scar formation process into three phases:

Closure (first phase): Like every time an incision or wound occurs, the body begins to create collagen fibers to fill and close the tissue. This process, in abdominoplasty surgery, usually lasts between 3 and 4 weeks.

Establishment (second phase): When the accumulation of collagen in the wound, which protects and reinforces the consistency of the surrounding tissue, is sufficient, the body increases the blood supply to the tissue. This causes the scar to increase in size and darken, remaining that way for 3 to 6 months.

Maturation (third phase): When the skin in the area has been restored, the body breaks down part of the collagen and reduces blood flow to the area. This makes the scar look thinner, flattened, lightened and much less visible. The final phase of the process lasts until one year after abdominoplasty surgery.

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