Abdominoplasty, also commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic procedure that involves the removal of excess skin and fat in the abdomen. Muscles that have become weakened and separated, often due to childbirth, may be tightened or repaired as well. The goal is to create an abdominal profile that is firm and smooth.
For some men and women, a firm, flat stomach has been unattainable, regardless of how much they’ve exercised or how little they ate. The reason why varies. One group who often has an especially tough time achieving a flat, tight stomach is moms. Childbirth, in some women, causes the stomach muscles and skin to be stretched beyond repair. Neither snaps back to their initial form. When this occurs, no matter how many crunches a woman does or the amount of abdominal exercises she engages in, the stomach never retains to its normal state. Loose or separated abdominal muscles can make for an unattractive silhouette because the stomach may protrude.
An Abdominoplasty is also used to remove excess skin. A person who has lost a lot of weight may be left with excess skin, and as a result, that they feel uncomfortable and unattractive, especially in the nude. When this excess skin is on the abdomen, an abdominoplasty can be used to treat this unwanted condition.
Women and men who have excess skin, loose or separated stomach muscles may be good candidates for an abdominoplasty. Women who whose abdomens have been stretched out beyond repair after childbirth make up a substantial percentage of patients who opt for abdominoplasty, as do those who have lost a substantial amount of weight and have excess skin they want removed.
There are a number of complications commonly associated with an abdominoplasty. Some of them are unique to the procedure while others are common to surgery in general. Potential abdominoplasty risks include, but are not limited to, aesthetic allergic reactions, bleeding, unattractive scaring, loss of skin, blood clots, the accumulation of fluid, infection, numbness or loss of skin sensation, wound separation, pain, lack of asymmetry, pulmonary complications, nerve damage, deep vein thrombosis and disfigurement.
While it is impossible to completely eliminate all risks associated with any surgical procedure, working with a competent, experienced and American Board of Plastic Surgery certified surgeon can help reduce some of these risks. Interviewing surgeons and asking the right questions are very important.
Step 1: The surgeon will administer pain medications. The anesthesiologist will administer either general anesthesia or IV sedation. The patient may be given a choice or the doctor will decide.
Step 2: To begin, the surgeon will make a horizontal incision in the area between the navel and the pubic hairline. The length of the scar and its shape will be dependent upon how bad the damage is. A person with separated muscles and an excessive amount of loose skin may require a lengthier scar. The shape of the scar will depend on what the doctor is attempting to accomplish, for instance, if a doctor is trying to get rid of lower stomach stretch marks, the scar may look different then if he or she is attempting to excise stretch marks on the upper part of the stomach.
After the surgeon has made the incision, he or she will then repair any weakened or separated stomach muscles via suture. Any excess skin, tissue and fat will be removed.
The doctor may make a second incision. This one will be around the navel. This is done to get rid of any excess skin on the upper portion of stomach.
Step 3: Both incisions are then closed. Sutures, clips, stitches or skin adhesives may be used.
When an abdominoplasty is done correctly, the result is a tighter, firmer and smoother looking abdomen. Following the surgery, a person will experience some swelling and pain. The surgeon will prescribe the patient medication for pain. It will be difficult for the patient to stand, initially. Internal healing will need to first take place. However, patients will be encouraged to get up and move around as best they can in order to prevent complications, such as blood clots. Most people will be able to walk around, mostly unhindered after about a week or two.
Most surgeons will instruct their patients to wear a compression bandage after the procedure. This helps to keep swelling to a minimum and offers support throughout the healing process. A tube may be inserted into the skin to drain excess fluid and blood.
Properly caring for the incision site, i.e., keeping it clean, applying topical ointment as instructed, taking pain medications and possibly an anti-biotic to ward off infection is very important and will decrease complications. The surgeon who performs the procedure will provide detailed instructions for post-op care. It is very important that the instructions be carried out exactly as they have been presented.
Because an abdominoplasty is considered an elective surgery, it is not covered by most people’s insurance companies. This can make the surgery financially prohibitive for some people. However, paying for cosmetic surgery has become easier. Many surgeons’ offices will offer financing or accept payments in installments.
On average, an abdominoplasty will cost anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000. The price of the surgery will vary based on the experience of the surgeon, their reputation and where the surgery is taking place. An abdominoplasty performed in Beverly Hills, California, is likely to cost more than one done in Kansas City, Missouri.
The price of an abdominoplasty will include the surgeon’s fees, cost of the surgical facility, anesthesia, prescription medications (pain), medical tests and post-op garments.
Questions to Ask
- How much experience do you have performing tummy tucks?
- Are you are certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- Have you undergone training for abdominoplasty surgery specifically?
- Is the surgical facility you will be using accredited and/or licensed by the proper agencies?
- Will the procedure take place in a hospital?
- Am I a good candidate for an abdominoplasty?
- What kind of results should I expect?
- How long will the recovery process take?
- What happens if I am not pleased with the results?
- Do you have any before and after photos I can view?
PRP Treatment for Abdominoplasty
Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess skin and fat in and around the abdomen. Lax muscles may also be tightened. An abdominoplasty is an invasive procedure that requires an incision, the excision of skin, and can include a lengthy recovery time. PRP, platelet rich plasma, is a treatment that is increasingly being utilized in a variety of medical fields. It is being used by some plastic surgeons for its anti-aging abilities and to expedite the healing process. PRP can be utilized in a tummy tuck procedure in its gel form to accelerate the healing process. It can be used in the healing process and to rejuvenate the remaining abdominal skin.
PRP therapy is a newer therapy that has been applauded for numerous reasons. One reason physicians utilize this treatment is because it is completely natural. Whole blood PRP therapy uses an individual’s own blood. As a result, it is hypoallergenic and completely compatible with the biology of person undergoing the procedure. There is no risk of rejection or an allergic reaction.
PRP treatment is quite simple. It involves the injection of a person’s own blood platelets into the area of their body undergoing treatment. As it relates to an abdominoplasty procedure, an individual’s platelets would be sprayed into the stomach area. The platelet concentrate is combined with a calcium chloride/thrombin mixture to activate the platelets as soon as it embeds in the wound.
To begin the procedure, a small amount of a patient’s blood is drawn, typically between 20 cc and 50 cc. It is placed in a vial and then a centrifuge machine. The machine vigorously spins the patient’s blood so that each of its components is separated. The doctor will draw out the separated platelets and as stated above, spray them into the tissue beds of the patients abdomen. The physician will also spray the suture line with platelet concentrate.
Platelets are extremely valuable because of the growth factors and other proteins they contain. Growth factors are used by the body to generate, repair, and rejuvenate tissue and bone.
PRP therapy can help speed up the healing process and also improve the appearance and general health of the remaining skin (the skin that wasn’t excised). There are studies published that by utilizing prp for a tummy tuck procedure, it is less likely that the patient will develop a seroma formation. A tummy tuck seroma is a pocket of fluid that forms in the abdominal area following tummy tuck surgery. It generally is not a serious condition unless it develops into an infection. Patients who develop a tummy tuck seroma unfortunately has to have this access fluid aspirated by a physician. Physicians who utilize PRP for abdominoplasty seem to believe that wounds heal much more rapidly with more aesthetically pleasing scars. It should also be noted that hematoma formation is less likely when PRP is applied for this procedure. Approximately 10 ml’s of PRP is sufficient for this procedure. PRP is sprayed on the superior tissue bed, inferior tissue bed, and along the suture line. The increase in healing and improved patient recovery time are good reasons why patients should consider this treatment with tummy tuck surgery.
A person can expect to pay between $500 and $1500 per PRP injection. However, many doctors will offer a pay schedule for particular types of treatment. It is important for patients to ask their doctor how much the treatment is they are considering.
PRP Related Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Do you believe that PRP therapy is a good option for me?
- Do you think PRP therapy could be used in lieu of abdominoplasty?
- Would shots be required? How about gel or spray?
- How much will this procedure cost?
- When would I begin to see results?
- Will I be required to pay for the procedure all at once?
- Does your practice offer financing?
- Is there any risk of an allergic reaction?
- What’s the difference between whole blood PRP therapy, gel and spray? Is one safer or more effective than the other?
- Is it necessary to use PRP therapy in conjunction with a surgical abdominoplasty?