Carlotti Cosmetic Surgery offers the treatment of Abdominoplasty, or “Tummy Tuck”. This procedure is recommended for Carlotti Center patients with excess skin and abdominal fullness. This tummy tuck is not a weight loss technique, and that must be emphasized, but rather is more appropriate for the candidate who simply cannot seem to change the appearance of their abdomen simply with diet and exercise.
Fullness of the abdomen can bring on a weakening and separation of the Rectus Abdominus muscles. This weakening and separation of the muscles is called a diastasis. Tight and well-developed Rectus Abdominus muscles, on the other hand, are often called a “six pack.”
A lot of things can cause weakening and separation of these muscles, such as weight gain, but the effect of pregnancy is the most common cause. During the third tri-semester of pregnancy, as the uterus expands, the rectus abdominus muscles separate to accommodate the growing baby. After the baby is born, many patients experience stretch marks, caused by the high estrogen levels, and a long lasting weakening and separation of the rectus abdominus muscles. Many are also left with unwanted excess skin below the umbilicus, (belly button).
Reversal of these conditions cannot be done just with diet and exercise. Liposuction can decrease the amount of excess fatty tissue, but it cannot address stretch marks, excess skin or muscle separation. With the full Abdominoplasty procedure the outcome is predictable: removal of stretched/excess skin and repair of the diastasis of the abdominal muscles.
Method of Abdominoplasty Surgery
This procedure is performed together by Drs. Carlotti and is approximately 2 hours in length. During surgery the patient is under an anesthetic provided by a Board Certified Anesthesiologist. The patient should wear their choice of undergarment to help Drs. Carlotti conceal the incision.
The incision is placed horizontally from hip to hip and descends to the level of the pubis at the midline, with a separate incision made around the umbilicus (belly button). The abdominal tissues are lifted away from the covering over the abdominal wall muscles and the umbilicus is released. From the breastbone to the pubic bone, the weakened muscles are repaired drawing the flanks (sides) toward the midline. The excess skin is removed and the abdominal tissues are redraped downward and the umbilicus is passively repositioned through a newly created hole in the abdominal flap.
Usually, two drains will remain in place for 7-10 days allowing the fluid from normal swelling to be evacuated. All incisions are closed and covered and then the patient is placed in a unique Abdominoplasty garment which the patient will wear for 1-2 months.
Drs. Carlotti require an overnight stay with one-on-one nursing care for post-operative control of discomfort, administration of IV antibiotics and monitoring.
Abdominoplasty, generally speaking, is considered a reconstructive procedure rather than purely cosmetic. Patients should be prepared to recover for 10-12 days prior to going back to work.
Muscle spasm is the most common source of controllable discomfort in the post-operative phase. Patients are placed on stool softeners and are asked to maintain a puree diet until normal bowel function returns in 4-6 days after the procedure.
The consistent compression of the abdomen by the Abdominoplasty garment is the most critical component to recovery. This is to be worn 24 hours a day with the exception of showering.
The first drain is typically removed seven days after surgery when the sutures are removed. The amount of drainage through the remaining duct will determine when it to will be removed. Typically it will be taken out in 10-14 days. Drain removal is virtually painless.
Swelling of the abdominal tissues may persist for up to 6 months due to a partial, temporary interruption in lymphatic drainage. If a patient fails to wear the Abdominoplasty garment or fails to get back into their exercise and diet routine at 30 days, the decrease of swelling may be delayed further and the final result may be compromised.
The closure of the incision in a tummy tuck, unlike any other cosmetic surgery procedure, is accomplished under a moderate degree of tension as excess skin is removed and the abdominal flap is re-draped downward. A normal widening of the scar may occur in some instances sometime after the procedure is completed.
Carlotti Cosmetic Surgery provides a minor outpatient procedure known as scar revision. This method can be done to enhance your final result and may be necessary at 6 months or later. There is no pain and hardly any down time following this procedure.