When it comes to a full tummy tuck, it’s all about abdominal wall deformities.
Abdominal wall deformities consist of three components:
1) The presence of wrinkly or loose skin with stretch marks. Most patients suffer from these issues as they age, following pregnancy or after rapid weight loss.
2) Excess fatty tissue. This accumulated tissue is usually most prominent in the lower abdomen and the “love handles”.
3) Rectus muscle diastasis. This condition results from the separation of the anterior abdominal muscles. Patients affected by rectus muscle diastasis cannot improve the condition with exercise because once the abdominal muscles have relaxed and separated, the stomach will continue to noticeably bulge.
A full tummy tuck works to address all three components, treating conditions related to the skin, fat and stomach muscles. The procedure repairs weakened abdominal muscles while also removing excessive skin/fat through tightening, surgical removal and, often, liposuction. Patients frequently lose a number of inches from their waist size as well.Dr. Edelstein talks about the full tummy tuck procedure with a diagram.
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The Full Tummy Tuck Procedure
We first outline the area of the body where skin and fat are to be removed. A horizontal incision, just above the pubic hairline, is then made in order to allow for the removal of unwanted tissue and skin. Consideration is paid to creating an area of skin (above the operational area) that can be pulled down and sutured closed at the end of the procedure. The shape and length of this incision is determined by the degree of correction required. A second incision, located around the navel, is made in order to be able to remove the excess skin and close the incision.
Excess fat above the belly button is removed with liposuction while the skin and fat from the belly button to pubic area is removed by excision. We then place permanent, internal stitches that tighten loose fascia / muscle (by up to five inches) from the rib cage to the pubic bone.
The upper adnominal skin and remaining fat from above the surgical site are then pulled down. We close the lower abdominal incisions with absorbable, internal stitches without having to place external stitches. After the procedure is complete, the patient’s belly button will be oriented vertically to give it a more youthful appearance.
Tummy Tuck Photos
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Full Tummy Tuck
There are a number of significant advantages to undergoing a full tummy tuck. The primary benefits come from resolving the persistent components of abdominal wall deformity discussed above. A full tummy tuck leads to the permanent removal of stretch marks and excessive lower abdominal skin. Barring the patient gaining a significant amount of weight or giving birth to a child, the treatment also leads to permanent tightening of the abdominal wall, an improved waistline and improvement of the belly button’s contour.
The main disadvantage associated with treatment is the presence of an extended horizontal scar (as well as a small scar around the navel). Though tummy tuck scars fade dramatically with time, patients who have undergone a full tummy tuck will have a permanent scar along their lower abdomen.