There are generally two types of tummy tuck: full abdominoplasty and mini-abdominoplasty. The full version includes removal of extra skin and fat, as well as tightening of the upper and lower muscle layer and resetting the belly button. The mini-version is fat and skin removal of the low-belly only, with limited or no treatment of the muscle or naval. The choice depends on your specific anatomy and goals. Liposuction is often combined with abdominoplasty to contour the upper abdomen and flanks.
Regardless of the surgical technique, Dr. Donaldson or Dr. Sieffert will mark your abdomen in the pre-operative area of the surgical center. They will show you where to expect your scar – generally low enough to be concealed by low-cut jeans and bikini-bottoms! You will sign consent forms, and then receive an IV, as well as medications to reduce pain and nausea and prevent blood clots and infection.
Once you are asleep, Dr. Donaldson recommends allowing the board-certified anesthesiologist to perform a “TAP” block, where numbing medicine is placed around the nerves that provide sensation to the abdominal wall and skin. This minimizes the amount of pain medicine that is necessary, which improves post-operative breathing, mobility and bowel function.
Next, Dr. Donaldson places numbing medicine directly into the skin before making an incision. This reduces trauma to the nerves and the body’s stress response to surgery. After the incision is made, the muscle separation (diastasis) is identified and repaired if necessary, the extra skin and fat is removed, liposuction is performed, the belly button is reset, the small drain is placed and the incision is closed. Three layers of strong, durable suture is used for secure closure. The sutures are all hidden beneath the skin and are dissolvable so they do not need to be removed.
A thin layer of surgical-grade glue (Dermabond or Octylseal) is placed over the incision as a final protective measure. A supportive abdominal binder is wrapped around the trunk to secure the tissues, improve posture and reduce the risk of fluid collection.
Other procedures may be considered at the time of your tummy tuck. For a complete mommy makeover, breast augmentation and/or breast lift is often added. Liposuction of other areas such as the neck, arms, thighs or hips and labiaplasty are popular combinations as well. Review all of your aesthetic goals with Dr. Donaldson or Dr. Sieffert so they can help you decide what combination of procedures may be best. It is possible to have multiple procedures at once, and many women choose this option for the convenience of having a single operation and recovery. There is also generally a financial savings due to the efficiency of combined surgery.