Abdominoplasty FAQs


Q: What is abdominoplasty?

A: Also known as a tummy tuck, abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure that tightens the abdominal walls and removes excess skin to create a flatter contour of the abdomen for patients with stubborn areas of fat that has not responded to traditional diet and exercise. This effective procedure tones the abdomen and provides an overall slimmer appearance that patients will be proud to show off.

Q: What is a partial abdominoplasty?

A: A partial abdominoplasty, or mini tummy tuck, is similar to an abdominoplasty, but involves shorter incisions and an overall less invasive procedure, which is ideal for patients with fat localized in the lower abdomen. Many patients choose this procedure to benefit from less scarring and shorter recovery times.

Q: Who is a candidate for abdominoplasty?

A: Abdominoplasty is ideal for patients who have excess fat and loose skin in the abdominal area that has not responded to diet and exercise. Many patients choose to undergo this procedure to correct the loose, stretched skin that often occurs after pregnancy or bariatric surgery. Patients should be in good overall health and at or near a healthy weight.

It is important for patients to maintain realistic expectation for this procedure, and realize that abdominoplasty is not to be used for substantial weight loss, and is instead for patients close to their ideal weight who have areas of stubborn fat in the abdominal area. Pregnancy or substantial weight loss after treatment can result in stretched, sagging skin, so patients are encouraged to postpone surgery until after these events.

Q: What happens during the abdominoplasty procedure?

A: During the abdominoplasty procedure, an incision is made across the lower abdomen and around the navel. Through these incisions, Dr. Watkins will remove excess fat and tissue from the targeted area and pull the muscles closer together before stitching them in place to create a firmer abdomen and narrower waist.

Once the abdominal walls have been strengthened and repositioned, the skin flap is pulled down, stretched and cut for the new naval fixture. The naval is reattached and all incisions are sewn shut.

This procedure takes two to three hours to perform under general anesthesia. Dr. Watkins will develop a customized treatment plan for you based on the amount of fat to be removed, as well as your age and overall health.

Q: What is recovery like after abdominoplasty?

A: After the abdominoplasty procedure, patients may experience mild swelling, bruising and discomfort. Compression garments are worn and a temporary tube may be inserted under the skin to drain excess fluid from the incision. Patients should avoid strenuous activity and lifting heavy objects for several weeks. You can likely return to work after a week or two.

Recovery times will range for each individual patient, but can vary from two weeks to a few months. Dr. Watkins will provide individual post-operative instructions to help facilitate the healing process and allow for a more efficient return to regular activities.

Q: When will results be visible?

A: The results of an abdominoplasty are visible right away and will continue to improve over time. Patients can achieve a flatter, more toned abdominal area that fits the natural contours of the body. Many patients look and feel younger and slimmer, and benefit from an improved self-confidence as well.

With a balanced diet and regular exercise, results are long-lasting. It is important to be aware that becoming pregnant or gaining or losing a substantial amount of weight may affect the results of this procedure and require additional surgery to recreate the results.

Q: Are there any risks associated with the abdominoplasty procedure?

A: As with any type of surgery, there are certain risks associated with this procedure, including infection, bleeding, poor healing and unattractive scars. Patients who have had previous abdominal surgery may be at a higher risk for complications. However, most patients undergo abdominoplasty with no major complications, and are able to achieve a slimmer body contour and improved self-confidence.

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