Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a "tummy tuck," is an extensive surgical procedure used to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdominal region as well as tighten the muscles of the abdomen wall. This procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen. It will, however, produce a permanent scar which, depending on the extent of the procedure can extend from hip to hip.
The abdominoplasty procedure usually takes one to three hours, depending on the extent of the surgery. The surgeon will first make a long incision from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area. A second incision is then made in order to free the navel from the surrounding tissue. Next, the surgeon will separate the skin from the abdominal wall and lift a large skin flap to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are then tightened by pulling them close together and stitching them into a new position. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and at the same time narrows your waistline. The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. Your surgeon will then close your incisions and apply dressings. In some cases a temporary tube is inserted to drain excess fluids.
Abdominoplasty produces excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. In most cases, the results are long lasting, if you follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly. After surgery, the patient has a flatter, trimmer abdomen. Scars are permanent, but will fade with time.