Abdominoplasty, or tummy-tuck, is a great way of eliminating excess skin and fat that can’t seem to go away with diet and exercise alone. It is often included as part of a mommy makeover, or after weight loss surgery. Of course, many patients only want their abdomen treated. There are different types of abdominoplasty, from a mini tummy-tuck to a full abdominoplasty. A mini tummy-tuck involves skin and fat only, and is designed to treat small deposits of skin and fat. The belly button, or umbilicus, is often left alone, and the procedure may not treat stretch marks and loose skin that exists at or above the level of the umbilicus. If you’ve thought about tummy-tuck surgery, call (949) 432-4730 to discuss your options with Dr. Zelken.
Full abdominoplasty includes repositioning your belly button to a new “hole” that is created in your upper abdominal skin when the upper abdominoplasty flap is re-draped. It also includes tightening of your six-pack muscles. The abdomen usually stretches out along the midline making the six pack more like parentheses than straight lines, and the skin is often stretched. There may even be hernias found on exam or in the operating room. By tightening the six-pack muscles like an internal corset and cutting out the extra skin, a significant improvement of abdominal contour can be achieved. Any hernias that are found will be repaired. Liposuction and liposculpture can address love handles and improve overall contour. Drains are almost always used in abdominal procedures but can be avoided in certain cases. Ask Dr. Zelken about the tubeless tummy tuck if you truly do not want drains placed.
Regardless of approach, complications and dissatisfaction can occur. Women who have a barrel chest or wide rib cage and women with deposits of intra-abdominal fat may not achieve the same result as a patient with a slighter frame. Wound breakdown can occur, especially centrally along the incision and at the umbilicus where blood flow is least and tension is greatest. If this occurs we often allow the breakdown to heal from the inside out, and revise the residual scar if necessary. If drains clog or fall out early, or you are too active too soon, it is possible to develop a seroma or fluid collection between your abdominal muscles and skin. These may go away without surgery. Also, a dog-ear (standing cone deformity) may result at the corner of one or both incisions. This may occur whenever an oval or ellipse is closed as a straight line and is more likely with a bigger resection. Dr. Zelken will do everything he can to avoid these; if a dog-ear persists beyond 3 months, Dr. Zelken will gladly revise it the Z Plastic Surgery procedure suite under local anesthesia.
To minimize pain, Dr. Zelken will provide a targeted nerve block using long-acting anesthetic at the end of the case. When you wake up, you may have little to no pain; this is expected to facilitate your recovery.