The operation begins with a "bikini" incision. Dr. Baeke tries to place this incision so that it is hidden by whatever style of bikini bottom the man or woman wears. The surgery then involves elevating the skin & fatty layer of the lower abdomen and progressing upwards. Those receiving a mini-abdominoplasty, only have loose skin beneath the belly button, thus the surgery stops at that level. A full abdominoplasty will treat the entire abdomen.
In many patients, especially women who have experienced a term-pregnancy, their abdominal muscles will have separated. The analogy is similar to a woman wearing a stretched-out girdle. There is a lack of abdominal support. To give the man or woman a flatter more taught set of abs, this separation can be corrected with the placement of permanent stitching in the muscle fascia, sort of like shoe-lacing. That optional portion of the abdominoplasty is referred to as a "rectus plication". It only takes a few minutes to perform and gives dramatic results, but does cause increased discomfort for a while after surgery. Dr. Baeke will discuss with you whether that is appropriate in your unique situation.
A mini-tummy tuck (panniculectomy) generally takes about 11/2 hours; full tummy tuck about 21/2 hours. Add another hour for any combination liposuction. In some patients Dr. Baeke will also apply the Prevena device which can speed healing. Please read more about this device from KCI•3M at mykci.com.
After surgery, patients will wear either an abdominal binder or other snug fitting swim trunk style compression garment (Dr. Baeke recommends Isavela garments). Beneath this garment, there will be 1 or 2 drains. A drain is a small flexible tube (about the diameter of a #2 pencil). This drain will allow any fluid which accumulates beneath the skin to escape. These generally stay in for several days.
In individuals with a particularly large amount of redundant abdominal tissue, there may also be a scar around the belly button, and even extending down vertically toward the horizontal bikini incision. Dr. Baeke will show you precisely where your scar should be.
Complications are rare, the most common being: hematoma/seroma, which is accumulation of blood or serum beneath the skin/fat (use of drains helps prevent this); infection (you will be given antibiotics during and after surgery); and poor wound healing (this rarely requires anything more than application of a medicated bandage). All told, the chance of complications should be less than 10% and rest assured Dr. Baeke will never abandon you. He knows how best to deal with anything that should develop.
Q: Does insurance ever pay for a tummy tuck?
Answer: Yes, but in very select circumstances. There must be a documented history of certain symptoms; or prior bariatric surgery. Dr. Baeke can discuss this in more detail during your consultation.