A tummy tuck, otherwise known as abdominoplasty, is a two- to four-hour cosmetic procedure that helps give the stomach a firmer, fitter look. It is usually performed in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures, such as liposuction or breast enhancement. However, a tummy tuck can also be done in conjunction with medical procedures, such as with a hernia surgery or hysterectomy.
A tummy tuck starts with a cosmetic surgeon making visual markings across the area that is going to be worked on. Using a pen, the surgeon marks incision lines to help guide the surgery once you are on the operating table. You may be marked the day before, or directly before your procedure.
Preparation for surgery can be stressful to the patient. As such, many cosmetic surgeons provide a sedative to help relax the body as you prepare. An IV line is inserted into your arm for any medications or fluids that you may need during surgery. Once you are in the operating room, you will be hooked up to special equipment that will monitor your vitals, such as your heart rate and oxygen levels. You will also have compression cuffs placed on you to help prevent blood clots during surgery.
Once you have been hooked up to all the necessary equipment, an anesthesiologist will administer anesthesia. Anesthesia can be administered in two ways. The first is through a separate bag hooked to a computer that drips the correct amount of fluid into your IV. The second is via gas, in which a mask will be placed over your face until you are unconscious.
After you have been administered anesthesia, the surgeon will begin to make incisions in your body. The first will usually be just above your pubic mound, and another around your navel. The surgeon will then take your skin and loosen it from the wall of your abdomen. Your abdominal muscles will then be pulled into a tighter position and sutured to keep them in place. The excess abdominal fat will be sucked out using liposuction techniques, and the skin of your abdomen will be pulled tight. Since the procedure moves the skin of the navel below where it is supposed to, a new navel hole will be cut where the old navel used to be.
Once the procedure is finished, the surgeon will count his sponges and instruments to make sure nothing was left inside of you. He will then stitch you back up or use tissue glue, and you will be ready to begin the healing process. A drainage tube may be placed inside the incision to drain any excess fluids that can build up after surgery.