A tummy tuck at our Missoula cosmetic surgery practice is a procedure to remove excess skin and fat around abdomen area. A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is ideal for patients who have sagging abdomen caused by multiple pregnancies or massive weight loss. A tummy tuck can create a smoother and firmer abdominal profile, but it’s not a substitute for weight loss.
DR. STEPHEN HARDY: The abdominoplasty or tummy tuck procedure is really a very good operation for two types of patients. One is a mom who's had one or two children or more, and their abdominal skin is stretched out, and they have that little roll that no matter how much they get themselves in shape, how much weight they lose, the skin is still there. Our body really doesn't have a way of absorbing skin the way we do of absorbing and utilizing fat, for example.
So the skin will be there, and so an abdominoplasty is a procedure where an incision is made in the lower abdomen, and we dissect and elevate the skin all the way up the rib cage level and then pull that skin down and remove all the excess and set it down in nicely so it lies nice and smoothly, but it's a nice, flat tummy.
The other group, aside from the mother's who have had children, are the patients who have had a massive weight loss, either with diet and exercise or with bariatric surgery. And they have a very large amount of excess skin. And very often, those patients will have it not just in their tummy but in other areas. But in terms of the abdominoplasty or tummy tuck, they're very, very good candidates for it.
I tell my patients, out of all the plastic surgery procedures, however, this is the procedure that requires the most in terms of healing. It's an extremely large surface area, when you really think about the amount of body surface area that's exposed in an abdominoplasty in one single operation. It's very large. It's really from just above the pubic area to way up to the ribcage on both the muscle side and the undersurface of the skin, and those two layers have to heal down to each other.
And the more somebody's twisting, moving, getting in and out of her car, carrying her kids into the store or whatever it may be, lifting boxes, moving stuff around, that belly is constantly twisting, and that skin can't heal down. So we're pretty strict on our patients on what they can do for the first couple of weeks after.
But when people behave, boy, it works really, really well. For the average mom who undergoes a procedure, usually they're back to work in two weeks.