Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty
A flat and well-toned abdomen is something many of us strive for through exercise and weight control. Sometimes these methods cannot achieve our goals. The abdominoplasty incision is designed to be hidden by underwear. It is made directly above the pubis, going across towards the hips. When the targeted skin and adipose tissue are removed, the skin of your entire abdomen is lifted up to your chest in order to ensure that the surgical wound can close properly and that your navel is preserved. Your navel is then repositioned aesthetically in the upper portion of your abdomen. Once the surgical wounds have been closed with melting stitches, an abdominal support belt (elastic band) will be placed around your stomach. You will need to wear this support belt day and night for several weeks to ensure that the wounds heal properly and that your abdomen maintains a good shape.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is a good candidate for an abdominoplasty?
The ideal patient for this procedure is in good general health, physically fit and at a healthy body weight (or has reached a stable weight after significant weight loss). Candidates for tummy tuck often perceive that their abdomen is too prominent in comparison with his or her silhouette. Certain people may also be embarrassed by their physical appearance. The most common causes of this include:
- Prior surgery
- Fluctuations in weight
What tummy tuck surgery cannot do ?
A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program. Although the results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent, the positive outcome can be greatly diminished by significant fluctuations in your weight. For this reason, individuals who are planning substantial weight loss or women who may be considering future pregnancies would be advised to postpone a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck cannot correct stretch marks, although these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised.
Does the RAMQ cover this procedure ?
An abdominoplasty is considered to be a cosmetic procedure and is not reimbursed by the RAMQ.
What are the potential complications?
In healthy patients, a tummy tuck is safe and causes little complications. The following is a list of possible complications immediately following the procedure and over the long term.
After any surgical procedure, there is normally some bleeding at the site of the wound. Such bleeding should slow over time and stop altogether after a few days. If, however, there is extensive bleeding that cannot be stopped by applying pressure, another surgical procedure would be required.
An excessive amount of the fluids that are normally produced by the body may accumulate inside the wound. This is not dangerous, but the fluids may need to be drained with a syringe on one or more occasions.
An infection can sometimes occur despite using sterile methods and taking antibiotics before surgery. Depending on the severity of the infection, oral or intravenous antibiotics may be required. If an abscess (an accumulation of pus) develops, it will need to be drained by opening the affected area of the skin or by using a drainage tube.
Wound dehiscence refers to a complete or partial opening of the wound that is not healing well. This can be caused by an infection, a pocket of blood or seroma, or by insufficient blood flow. Dehiscence is usually treated conservatively, that is, either by applying dressings and wound management, or through surgery to close the wound again.
Necrosis of the skin
Necrosis of the skin is a rare complication where a portion of the skin does not receive enough blood to heal properly. Skin that is affected by necrosis can be treated by applying dressings and wound management or may require surgery to close the wound again. Patients who smoke are at greater risk.
Necrosis of the adipose tissue
Fat necrosis is characterized by a flow of liquified fat which can last several weeks. This condition is caused by insufficient blood flow to the adipose tissue and is more frequent in patients who smoke or are obese.
Phlebitis, which is rare, is an inflammation that can occur in the deep veins of the legs. Blood-thinning medication and compression stockings may be prescribed to prevent/treat this condition. The best form of prevention is moving around as soon as possible after the surgery, because contracting the calf muscles greatly improves blood flow in the legs.
The scar will change gradually for up to two years before reaching its final appearance. It may become pigmented, raised, painful or sensitive to touch. Depending on how the scar evolves, Dr Zadeh will suggest treatments such as silicone, gel application, cortisone injections, microneedling,light therapy, to improve the scar’s appearance.
How can I control pain at home?
Dr. Zadeh will be giving you prior to the surgery, a prescription for pain medication to take home with you. That way, the medication will be at your disposal once you arrive home from the surgery.
Note: Make sure Dr. Zadeh knows about pain medications that have caused you problems in the past.
How long is the recovery period? Are there any restrictions in terms of activities ?
Postoperative dressings must remain intact and dry for approximately one week. You may shower once the dressings and drainage tubes have been removed. You must avoid any intense physical exercise during the first six weeks following your surgery in order to give your body a chance to heal comfortably. For the same reason, it is recommended that you sleep with a pillow under your knees. However, it is important to get out of bed and walk regularly in order to activate blood flow in the legs and avoid thrombophlebitis. You will need to wear an abdominal support belt for a minimum of one month in order for the tissue to heal properly.
You can resume your normal physical activities three to six weeks after your surgery. It is important for you to listen to your body. It will tell you if you are ready to exercise and how much exercise you can handle. Pain or discomfort when exercising is a sign that your body is not quite healed and that it would be better to wait a few more days before trying again.
How much does the surgery cost ?
Generally the cost of an abdominoplasty starts at $9,700. Additional charges may apply if the patient has a particular condition or if different surgeries are combined.The final cost of your treatment will be calculated on an individual basis in accordance with your needs.