An Introduction to Tummy Tucks (Abdominoplasty)

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty): An Introduction

Tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that tightens abdominal muscles and removes excess skin and fat in the mid-section caused by pregnancy, aging, weight fluctuation, and heredity. When performed by a trained plastic surgeon, abdominoplasty can change the contour of your tummy by restoring a firm, toned appearance that often can’t be achieved through diet and exercise alone. Tummy tuck is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures, with almost 150,000 performed in 2007 according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

There are two basic types of tummy tucks: mini and full. If loose skin and muscle are confined to the lower abdomen, a mini tummy tuck may be all that is necessary. The advantage of a mini tuck is a shorter scar and easier recovery. In addition, it is usually not necessary to reposition the belly button with a mini tuck. But if muscle and skin are loose throughout the entire abdomen a full tummy tuck is ordinarily recommended. Although this necessitates a longer incision across the lower abdomen as well as an incision around the navel, it offers greater improvement than can be achieved with a mini tuck alone.

Liposuction is often performed with abdominoplasty and it may even allow a good result to be obtained with a less extensive tummy tuck than would otherwise be necessary. But there is a limit as to how much liposuction can be done at the time of a tummy tuck because extensive liposuction could damage the skin that is being stretched and repositioned for the abdominoplasty.

Like other cosmetic plastic surgery, abdominoplasty is a way to enhance your body but be aware that the goal is improvement, not perfection. You should have realistic expectations and be familiar with the risks associated with the procedure. Check with a board-certified plastic surgeon to help decide which surgical options are best for you.

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