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Tummy Tuck

How Is a Tummy Tuck Done?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 15:51

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

The type of anesthesia administered depends on several factors, including the extent of surgery and the patient's tolerance of pain. Most people having this surgery have general anesthesia, so that they are unconscious and pain-free during the operation.

For a mini-tummy tuck, patients may instead receive local anesthesia that is combined with a sedative to cause drowsiness. Local anesthesia numbs only the area to be treated, so the patient may experience some tugging during the procedure.

Surgical Techniques

Techniques for doing a complete tummy tuck vary. Most commonly, the surgeon makes a

long, horizontal incision in the pubic area, extending almost from one hip to the other. Often, the surgeon can place this incision low enough to not show under a swimsuit.

  • After making the cut, the surgeon removes any excess skin between the pubic area and the navel (belly button). To tighten the contour of the abdomen, the surgeon takes the skin on the upper part of the abdomen and stretches it downward.
  • Then the surgeon repositions the navel in the middle of the stretched skin. It should end up in a fairly normal position.
  • The abdominal muscles are often loose, and the surgeon can tighten these muscles during the operation.
  • Finally, the surgeon stitches the incisions. Small tubes are inserted under the skin for a short time to drain fluid from the wounds.

Variations to this procedure include:

  • Mini-tummy tuck: The procedure for a partial tummy tuck is similar to that of a complete abdominoplasty. The incision is shorter, and usually the navel and the skin above the navel are left alone.
  • Endoscopic tummy tuck: The surgeon performs abdominoplasty through several small incisions while using an endoscope, a lighted, tube-like viewing device. The device has a camera that sends images to a video monitor.

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