TUMMY TUCK (ABDOMINOPLASTY)
This procedure known as abdominoplasty to plastic surgeons, as tummy tuck to most people, is performed on more than sixty thousand people every year in the United States by members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. There probably are many more patients who are afraid of undergoing the surgery or probably thinking that they cannot afford the surgery.
There are several reasons for having the surgery. Number one is someone who has lost a lot of weight and has a large piece of skin called panniculus hanging down to the pubic area. It is difficult to clean under that skin which is always sweaty and moist especially in the summer. Some people have a rash, which is hard to treat. For these people it can be a medically indicated procedure that insurance companies might pay.
Another type of patient is one that has had operations in the abdomen causing herniation and looseness of the abdomen so that they cannot hold the abdomen in. In such cases, a tummy tuck is done bringing together the separated muscles that had allowed the protrusion of the abdominal contents. Some women have a natural separation of the vertical muscles of the abdomen allowing a protrusion between the muscles. This is not a true hernia but is known as a diastasis. In this case a tummy tuck is done tightening the muscles, too.
Then there are those that no matter what they do cannot get rid of the protrusion below the belly button. If the skin is not loose such as a person who has never had babies or has no stretch marks, liposuction alone can give the result of a flat tummy. However, there are people with very wrinkled skin and stretch marks such that a smaller tummy tuck removing part of the skin alone and tightening the muscles would deliver the results desired.
The larger operations need to be done in a hospital but little ones can be done in the doctor’s office under I.V. sedation and local anesthesia. Recovery can be several weeks for the larger operations and about a week or two for the smaller operations. The cost of surgery will range widely from $3000 for the small surgery in the doctor’s office to $10,000 or more for the big surgeries done in a hospital. A way of looking at the cost is to compare it with bodywork done on automobiles. If any of you have had body work done on the hood of a car or the door of a car you will notice that it costs a couple thousand dollars or more and this is on an object that depreciates in value. However, if the human body were to get reconstructive surgery, such as a tummy tuck, you will enjoy the results over many many years.
Complications are few which is true of most surgery on healthy people. The possibility of infection, bleeding, blood clots, and so on is rare. The risk being no greater than that of getting in an accident when driving an automobile.