Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a procedure to tighten the abdominal skin and muscles. Pregnancy, and weight gain and loss are the primary culprits in the abnormal stretching and loosening of the abdominal skin and underlying rectus abdominus muscles. The operation is performed the office ambulatory surgical suite under general anesthesia.
An incision is made in the lowest portion of the abdomen, usually in the crease above the pubis. The horizontal length of the incision depends on the extent of skin laxity. The looser the skin, the longer the incision. After excess fat is removed by liposuction, skin and fat are lifted off the underlying muscles. The vertical borders of the restus abdominus muscles are tightened by suturing them together. In some circumstances there is so much skin laxity that the umbilicus (belly button) is removed. In these cases the umbilicus is replaced in its natural position in the newly tightened skin.
An abdominal binder is the usual dressing. Initial post operative days are uncomfortable, and there may be annoying complications associated with the procedure, such as fluid collection. In general, the procedure is easily tolerated and results are good.
Mini-Abdominoplasty is usually combined with liposuction and is designed to remove loose skin of the lower abdomen, between the pubis and the umbilicus. This is the most common area of concern after pregnancy, and the procedure deals directly with the loose skin, and stretched muscle. The incision is confined to the area above the pubis, like a caesarian section scar. There is no need to reposition the belly button. Recovery from mini-abdominoplasty is fast, and usually uncomplicated.