What is a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty?

shutterstock_86467600Tummy Tuck, or Abdominoplasty, involves the removal of loose or damaged skin from the abdomen in addition to tightening the abdominal wall muscles. Often the belly button is relocated after the skin is removed. The best candidates for a tummy tuck are women after childbirth or after massive weight loss. Skin and abdominal wall muscle is irreversibly stretched in these patients and they need skin excision and muscle tightening to get a flat stomach and restore their figure.

Why should I choose Dr. Graham to perform my tummy tuck?

Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is one of Dr. Graham’s favorite procedures. During the refinement of his technique he was able to observe and assist over a dozen other plastic surgeons. He has borrowed tips from each surgeon to develop the perfect technique. He uses multiple small maneuvers to ensure a natural look and minimize visible scarring. This is no more evident than in his “bikini belly button” technique. Unlike other plastic surgeons, this technique is unique in that there is no obvious circular scar around the belly button (see adjacent photo). Whenever possible, Dr. Graham wants all the scars on your abdomen to be hidden so no one will know you had an operation, even in a bathing suit.Belly Button-Compare

What does tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery involve?

Tummy Tuck surgery involves making an incision low on the abdomen. The skin of the abdomen is then elevated off of the underlying muscles. The excess skin is then pulled down and cut away. The underlying muscle is then tightened and the belly button moved to its new position.

What are the main risks of this surgery?

Please refer to the following form published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
Abdominoplasty-ASPS

What is the typical postoperative course?

Day 1-2
• Keep dressings clean and dry
• You will have an abdominal binder in place. This binder or a compression dressing (Spanx, etc.) will be worn at all times for the next month.
• Most likely you will have drains in place. You will record the drain output daily

Day 3-7
• You may now remove the dressings/binder to shower. Tape will be in place over your incision. This tape is to remain in place until removed by your surgeon
• Continue to wear your binder
• Continue to record drain output. The drains will likely be removed at 1 week follow up appointment

Day 7-1 month
• Continue to wear binder at all times

1 month-2 months
• Continue to wear binder at night for one more month
• You may now begin to apply scar creams
• You may now resume cardiovascular exercise and sex

2 months+
• You may now resume full activity including abdominal core exercises

Driving?
You may drive when you are off narcotics and feel confident to control the car.  Most patients are able to drive within 2 weeks.

Time off of Work? Restrictions?
This is dependant on the type of work you perform. Many patients with office jobs only require a week or two. However, patients who perform heavy labor may require 4-6 weeks to recover. You will not be able to lift anything greater than 10 lbs for 6 weeks. You will not be able to run or jog for 4 weeks. You will not be able to perform abdominal wall exercises for 2 months.