Kimlyn C. Long,MD - Plastic Surgeon

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Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)

Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a very common Plastic Surgery procedure to correct contour deformities of the abdomen. These deformities which usually involve different degrees of excess fat, loose or hanging skin, stretch marks and bulging of the abdomen, are usually noted in women following childbirth or significant weight loss. It is considered to be the most effective way to remove stretch marks though often only some stretch marks are removed.
A tummy tuck may involve removal of excess skin and fat as well as tightening of the muscles called plication. In many cases liposuction is also recommended to improve contouring during this procedure.
The degree of excess skin and fat and muscle laxity will determine the extent of surgery needed, the length of  incisions and the need to "cut out" the belly button.  
The procedure is performed under anesthesia, and takes two to four hours. The incision usually extends from hip to hip depending on the amount of skin to be removed and is located in the bikini line area, similar to a c-section scar. Following the procedure you will experience tightness in the area of the abdomen especially if you have had a muscle plication.
In most cases drains are placed during the procedure and are left in for seven to ten days. You will be instructed on how to care for and monitor them. You will need to wear a binder or compression garment for six weeks following the procedure to help decrease swelling, provide support and asssist in recontouring the treated area.
Recovery from a tummy tuck takes two to four weeks during which time you are advised to refrain from heavy lifting (more than ten pounds) and exertional activity. 

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