Tummy Tuck Surgery “Abdominoplasty”

Abdominoplasty, or a “tummy tuck,” is designed to correct a protruding abdomen resulting from weak abdominal muscles, weight gain or pregnancy. Obesity causes the skin to lose its elasticity. These conditions may not respond well to diet or exercise. If the skin and underlying muscles have been stretched, this surgery will address these trouble areas.

Dr. Bray, Jr. performs many abdominoplasty procedures, and he will customize the procedure based on your concerns. Tummy tucks may be combined with liposuction to achieve optimal results.

With tummy tuck surgery, the abdominal wall muscles are tightened and excess fatty tissue and skin are removed to improve the body contour. Stretch marks are removed from the lower abdomen.  A tummy tuck is the best body contouring procedure for patients who have loose or hanging skin, stretch marks, and muscle laxity of the abdomen. The goal is a narrower, flatter abdomen. Realistic expectations are important with this procedure. Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss.

Many patients seeking a mommy makeovermay also decide to have breast augmentation surgery at the time of their tummy tuck. Dr. Bray, Jr. considers age,
obesity, medical problems, and smoking habits when evaluating a candidate for a tummy tuck.

Tummy Tuck: Before Surgery

Dr. Bray, Jr. will meet with you for an initial consultation. During this consultation he will take a complete medical history and conduct a careful examination to evaluate your general, overall health prior to tummy tuck surgery. Ideally, the patient has no health problems, and wishes only to remove an excess deposit of fat and loose abdominal skin. Patients on a weight-loss plan should be close to their target weight before having the operation. Women planning future pregnancies should delay the surgery, as pregnancy may promote further abdominal stretching.

Photographs will be taken before and after surgery.

Antibiotics will be prescribed prior to surgery to prevent infection. To minimize the possibility of excess bleeding, you will need to avoid taking drugs containing aspirin. You will also be advised to bathe with an antiseptic soap for several days prior to surgery.

The “Tummy Tuck” Procedure

Abdominoplasty is performed using general anesthesia. You may be given medication beforehand so you will feel relaxed. The surgery may take 2-5 hours, depending on your overall condition. You may be released after a few hours, or you may require a couple days of hospitalization.

Tummy tucks are most commonly performed by making a transverse incision below one hipbone, across the pubic area and under the other hipbone. A second incision is made around the navel. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall and lifted up to the hipbone, exposing loose tissue covering the abdominal muscle.

Loose, stretched out muscles are tightened with sutures, and excess skin and fat are removed. The skin is lowered over the abdomen and the navel is reconstructed. The incisions are then sutured together. Drains are often inserted to eliminate fluid buildup, and firm elastic bandages are applied to the area.

Recovery: What to Expect after Your Tummy Tuck

You may experience some discomfort immediately following tummy tuck surgery, which can be controlled with pain pills. Some swelling is normal. You will be given special instructions for showering and changing your dressings.  You may also be required to wear a support garment.

The speed of tummy tuck recovery depends on your physical condition prior to surgery; those with stronger abdominal muscles usually recover faster. Allow at least 2-4 weeks to recuperate before returning to work.

Some scarring is also normal. Dr. Bray, Jr. places the sutures under the skin to optimize the scar and prevent scars related to sutures. Dr. Bray will also recommend scar treatments that may improve the quality of the tummy tuck scar.

Though the recovery period is longer than some other cosmetic procedures, the rewards are great for a patient previously distressed by a protruding abdomen. Those who follow a proper exercise routine and healthy diet will benefit from abdominoplasty the most.

Additional before/after images of Dr Bray, Jr.’s abdominoplasty work are available in the image gallery.