Tummy Tuck Orange County Abdominoplasty Tummy Tuck
A flat and tight abdominal wall is something most men and women strive for but cannot always achieve through diet and exercise alone! This loss of abdominal elasticity occurs most commonly following weight loss or pregnancy. The following information has been prepared to familiarize you with facts about the surgical procedure known as abdominoplasty ("tummy tuck") or abdominal fascial repair. You are requested to read this information thoroughly and to discuss any questions which might arise with your surgeon before you give your consent to proceed with this procedure. You are also requested to keep this form as a reference in the postoperative period.
An abdominoplasty is an operation in which excess skin and fat from the abdominal wall, particularly below the navel, is removed and the remaining skin tightened. This is accomplished by elevation of the skin and fat, tightening the underlying muscles if necessary, pulling the excess skin downward, and excising the excess. It is particularly effective in removing stretch marks from the lower abdomen, but it must be understood that not all stretch marks can be eliminated, and that some laxity, particularly noticeable when flexing the hips, will persist. The same navel is reinserted into the skin after the tightening procedure.
You may visit your surgeon as many times as you wish, to have all of your questions answered. At your preoperative visit (which takes an hour or more), your final questions will be answered and you will confirm that you understand the procedure to be performed, that this material has been explained to you, that you have read and understand these information sheets, and that you accept the risks by signing the informed consent forms. You will be given prescriptions for surgical soap that will be used before surgery, as well as for pain pills and antibiotics, along with instructions for their use. Certain laboratory tests will also be required within two weeks of surgery.
If you are over the age of 50 or have had any cardiac problems, you will have to obtain a cardiogram at your doctor’s office or any licensed laboratory. You may have blood drawn by our office nurse during your final preoperative visit, or, if you prefer, at your family doctor’s office or other laboratory (e.g. Kaiser Hospital, etc.). Smoking constricts blood vessels and hinders normal healing - all smokers will be asked to stop smoking three months prior to surgery in an effort to maximize your body’s ability to heal the incisions following the operation.
The operation will be performed in an outpatient facility under very deep sedation or light general anesthesia, supplemented by local anesthetics. An incision is made across the lower end of the abdomen, and the skin and fat of the abdominal wall are elevated to the rib margins.
The navel remains attached to the abdominal wall, but is released from the surrounding skin and fat through a diamond shaped incision around the navel.
Adequate pain medication will also be prescribed. All patients, who go home on the day of surgery, will find that an assistant at home is a necessity for the first three days or so. This can be a family member or a trained nurse. High bulk foods are highly encouraged and laxatives may be necessary to prevent straining associated with constipation. Patients will be encouraged to walk as much as possible at home after surgery as this will reduce the possibility of pneumonia or of clots forming in your calf veins. It will be necessary to keep the hips gently flexed for the first week to minimize discomfort and to prevent excess tension on the suture lines. Each patient is allowed to stand up straight when comfortable doing so. Patients will be allowed to shower after the drains have been removed, but soaking in a bathtub is to be avoided for two weeks. Wounds are generally closed with absorbable buried sutures.
Serious complications after an abdominoplasty are relatively uncommon. However, there will be a long scar (usually, but not always, within the bathing suit line) extending from hip to hip. The scar may remain itchy, painful, thick, or otherwise unsightly. It is unusual, but possible, for areas of fat to liquefy and drain through the incision for many months, or to cause a tender mass to develop beneath the skin, which may require excision at a later date. As with any abdominal procedure, it is also possible for a suture to become infected and to erode through the skin years later.
The surgical scars are permanent; however, the incisions are placed so that they are barely discernable on normal visual observation, barring complications, which may result in thick and/or painful, disfiguring scars. If this problem occurs, treatment by excision or steroid injections may be indicated, but it may be impossible to improve an unsightly scar.
It is recommended that patients begin applying MD Performance® Ultimate Scar Formula to the incision about two weeks after surgery. The Ultimate Scar Formula should be applied twice daily until the scar has finished healing and no longer contains any hint of pink or purple.
Social activity should be limited while the patient is uncomfortable. A good general rule of thumb is that patients should avoid any physical activity that causes discomfort.
There is no set time table for resuming strenuous activity – just avoid activities that cause discomfort – but as a general rule of thumb for most patients, it takes approximately six weeks for the muscle repair to heal to a point where strenuous activity does not cause discomfort. Basically, most patients find that they can return to normal activity as the discomfort of the operation fades away.
Office work can usually be resumed within 1-2 weeks of surgery, but the patient should expect a six-week delay before returning to physical labor or strenuous exercise. It will take longer than a year for scars to fade and the abdomen to feel relatively normal. The lower abdominal skin may feel numb forever and completely normal feeling is not to be expected.
If a significant spreading of the anterior muscles or a hernia is present, your insurance company may, rarely, reimburse you for a portion of the Surgery Center bill and of the professional fees. In some instances, it may be possible to verify the amount covered by your insurance carrier in advance; the office staff can assist you in making this determination, but cannot guarantee a level of payment. The office staff will provide you with the necessary information to submit to your insurance carrier. All fees are due prior to the surgical procedure and, if any portion of your procedure will be covered by your carrier, you will be reimbursed directly by your insurance company. Payment of all fees, however, is the patient's responsibility; all fees are due prior to surgery and the proceeds of the insurance check will go to you when the check arrives (minus a 6% billing fee if you chose to use our billing service).