Continue reading to learn more about different types of abdominoplasty procedures and what you can do to prevent or reduce abnormal scarring after surgery.
Types of tummy tuck procedures
Some factors that influence the decision to have a tummy tuck include weight gain, dramatic weight loss, age-related wear, pregnancy, and abdominal separation. There are various forms of tummy tuck procedures designed to achieve different results and address these issues. Depending on the patient’s ideal outcome and the technique implemented by your plastic surgeon, recovery time and amount of scarring can vary. It’s important to know that while tummy tuck procedures can make you appear fit, they are in no way meant to replace healthy dieting and exercise.
Listed below is your guide to understanding different abdominoplasty techniques and the extent of what each can achieve for your ideal silhouette.
Mini tummy tucks are a variation of abdominoplasty designed for otherwise healthy patients who wish to remove small amounts of stubborn fat and loose skin from around the lower abdomen. As its name implies, mini tummy tucks are modified procedures meant to address smaller abdominal areas through a diminutive incision. Comparing the size of a cesarean section scar is a good way to determine the length of a mini tummy tuck incision. Plastic surgeons don’t address skin and muscle laxity (tightness) of the upper abdomen during mini tummy tucks. However, other advantages such as less scarring and reduced recovery time make this procedure an attractive option.
Complete or “full” abdominoplasty: upper and lower abdomen procedure
A full abdominoplasty is designed to address loose skin and excess fat deposits above and below the naval area. Patients in good physical health who wish to strengthen their abdominal muscles following pregnancy or abdominal separation (diastasis recti) may also benefit from this procedure. The tightening of the abdominal (rectus) muscles is called muscle plication and is customarily performed during most full tummy tuck procedures.
To begin the procedure, a plastic surgeon will make a horizontal, slightly convex incision from hip bone to hip bone. The incision is made above the pubic region and below the naval (umbilicus). Your surgeon may use liposuction to suction fat tissue from the designated areas before tightening the abdominal muscles, superficial fascia (connective tissue), and skin. In some cases, a second incision will be made around the naval in order to reposition it after the skin is pulled tight; this is done to achieve a natural, post-surgery look. Stitches are used to hold the abdominal muscles in place and to suture the incision site closed.
Extended tummy tuck: full abdominoplasty with hip and flank modifications
An extended tummy tuck is the most expansive abdominoplasty procedure. This technique is aimed at reducing midsection fat, tightening abdominal muscles, and reducing ptosis (sagging) of the hips, love handles, and lateral (outer) thighs. Such procedures are ideal for patients who have experienced dramatic weight loss and feel overburdened by an abundance of excess skin in the aforementioned areas. Greater scarring should be expected from extended tummy tucks; incisions expand horizontally across the entire length of the lower abdomen to the back of the hips. Liposuction and repositioning of the naval are commonly performed to contour the body and achieve a natural post-surgery physique.
Post-operative care and scar management
Patients can be expected to remain in the hospital for at least one day after an extended abdominoplasty. Mini tummy tuck patients can usually return home within a day of surgery. A plastic surgeon will likely situate drainage tubes under a patient’s skin to counteract fluid buildup and assist in recovery. Drainage tubes can be removed from 3 days to 2 weeks, or as soon as drainage stops. Depending on the patient’s health and the extent of the procedure, recovery time can vary from 2 to 6 weeks post-surgery. Patients can generally return to work within 1 to 3 weeks. Post-operative garments and compression foam are often worn to reduce swelling and bruising and promote uniform healing.
Silicone gel sheeting
To address post-surgical scarring, silicone gel sheeting should be worn. Silicone gel technology emerged over 30 years ago as a prominent scar therapy solution for the reduction and prevention of abnormal scars. Numerous clinical studies support the efficacy of topical silicone for scar management, and it continues to be the surgeon and dermatologist recommended solution for scars. Through the mechanisms of hydration and collagen regulation, medical silicone grants the user the ability to manage their scars to flatten and reduce their appearance.
Biodermis was born three decades ago as the leading innovator of medical-grade silicone and post-operative care garments. Products like Epi-Derm gel sheeting, Pro-Sil scar sticks, and Xeragel silicone ointment give patients a variety of options for scar management. For a unique experience with post-liposuction comfort and recovery, Biodermis offers Epifoam compression pads. Epifoam, the highest quality compression foam currently on the market, is designed for comfort with a gentle silicone adhesive backing for your convenience.