Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, eliminates sagging skin and muscles in the abdominal area after multiple pregnancies or massive weight loss. The tummy tuck procedure, usually done on an outpatient basis, surgically removes excess skin and all stretch marks associated with it, tightens the abdominal wall muscles, and restores perkiness to the belly button in a three-hour procedure. As with all of his surgeries, Dr. Godat performs this operation with an MD anesthesiologist. This will restore a svelte look to the abdomen, narrow the waistline, and flatten the stomach. In patients who have had bariatric surgery and have lost 80 or more pounds of weight, surgery time may be longer and an overnight stay in a hospital may be recommended.
When you arrive for surgery at your appointed time, you will meet your registered nurse and MD anesthesiologist. They will prepare you for the operating room and take care of you until you are ready to be taken home. Arrangements can be made to stay overnight in a hospital if you are having additional work done and desire this service. The activity restrictions after surgery include no heavy lifting for three weeks and no swimming or taking a bath (showering is okay the day of surgery) for three weeks. After surgery, patients must wear a post-operative binder provided by Dr. Godat. Dr. Godat recommends brief walks the evening of surgery and extending these over the next few days to speed recovery and to prevent complications. Narcotic pain medication is provided for the patient's post-operative needs, but patients will not normally need narcotic pain medication after three to seven days.
Once the patient no longer requires these, she can resume driving and daily activities, usually three days following a tummy tuck. The patient may return to work whenever she feels able as long as she abides by the post-operative activity restrictions, i.e. no heavy lifting. Return-to-work after a tummy tuck is never sooner than one week. Incision healing time is about three weeks. By the end of three weeks, the patient may resume regular activity and exercise. The patient should start her exercise routine slowly and work up to her previous full level of exercise by the sixth week. Scar care should also begin at three weeks. The scar is well hidden below the bikini line and for more information on scar care see Dr. Godat's scar regimen.
Dr. Godat closes the incisions with multiple layers of suture beneath the surface of the skin that dissolve on their own. The bikini line incision is closed with surgical glue that peels off by the end of the third week. However, the belly button incision is closed with a series of nylon stiches. These are removed during the first post-operative visit the first week after surgery. In addition, there are usually two drains placed, these too are removed one week after surgery. Removal is completely painless. It is normal to have numbness following surgery and restoration of normal sensation to these areas may take several months up to two years. Persistent numbness may occur in some patients in some areas.
Along with the tummy tuck, Dr. Godat may recommend liposuction to the hips. You may also have breast or other cosmetic work done under the same anesthesia.