04 Dec Advantages and Disadvantages of a Tummy Tuck
What is a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a major surgical procedure requiring general anesthesia and involves liposuction and excision to remove fat, plus a large excision of skin. The typical result is usually a flatter tummy with a large scar extending from the pubic area to the lower abdomen to anterior hips. Because the surgeon can directly visualize the muscles of the anterior abdominal wall during a tummy tuck, lax abdominal muscles can be surgically tightened during a tummy tuck procedure. Before the invention of liposuction, a tummy tuck was the only surgical method for removing excessive abdominal fat. In many patients (but not all) liposuction of the abdomen can often provide equivalent or better results than a tummy tuck. Because liposuction is safer and causes less scarring compared to tummy tucks, abdominal liposuction is now far more common than are tummy tucks.
What are the advantages of a tummy tuck (compared to liposuction)?
The only patients for whom a tummy tuck is superior to abdominal liposuction are the relatively few women having extreme degrees of lower abdominal skin laxity, unusually extensive stretch marks, or severely stretched abdominal muscles (as a result of pregnancy). Tummy tuck surgically removes skin with severe stretch marks. Liposuction does not remove stretch marks. A tummy tuck can produce a flatter abdominal wall by tightening the abdominal muscles. Liposuction is appropriate for patients who have abdominal muscles that have not been excessively stretched out of shape by pregnancy. A tummy tuck can remove excessive amounts of loose abdominal skin. However, the loose abdominal skin does not mean that a tummy tuck is necessary. After liposuction, abdominal skin often contracts to a surprising degree so that an excision is not necessary.
What are the disadvantages of a tummy tuck?
Tummy tucks are often associated with scars in the lower abdominal areas. Although the lower abdominal area is usually covered when a bathing suit is worn, the scars can be visible without clothes. Tummy tucks are more involved than abdominal liposuction and as such, there is a greater risk. Due to the fact that it is a more invasive surgery, the recovery time is longer than liposuction alone. However, the benefits of a tummy tuck might outweigh the scaring, extended recovery time, risk, and other downsides and are relative to the patient’s needs and goals.