An abdominoplasty, or "tummy tuck", is a surgical procedure which smoothes or flattens the abdominal area. This is often accomplished by removing excess skin and fat from the lower and middle portions of the abdomen while tightening the abdominal muscles. Each patient has different needs, and no two people are built the same, so Dr. Shuster will tailor the tummy tuck procedure to the particular needs of his patients.
The mini abdominoplasty is the procedure of choice for women whose primary concern is a lower abdominal bulge but do not have much, if any, redundant skin. For such women whose bulge is due to laxity of underlying muscles and tissue, the mini abdominoplasty is the procedure of choice. During this type of tummy tuck procedure a short incision is made at the level of the pubic hair and the abdominal muscles below the belly button are tightened creating a very flat appearance to the area.
A modified abdominoplasty treats patients who have a modest amount of skin laxity, particularly over the lower abdomen. An incision is made across the lower abdomen, which allows Dr. Shuster to remove excess skin and at the same time tighten the abdominal muscle.
Dr. Shuster's technique for abdominoplasty is called a "High Lateral Tension Abdominoplasty". This tummy tuck procedure works very well for patients who have laxity over much of the abdomen, particularly the lower half. An incision is made across the lower abdomen within the bikini line and around the belly button. Dr. Shuster's preference is for this incision to be placed as inconspicuously as possible. This allows Dr. Shuster to essentially rejuvenate the abdominal area by narrowing the waist, tightening the muscles, and removing redundant tissue.
A panniculectomy removes a large amount of excess hanging skin, commonly referred to as a pannis or apron. Since this can interfere with many normal activities and become a hygiene problem, a panniculectomy should be performed.
An abdominoplasty can produce a significant improvement in body contour. The surgery usually takes 2 to 3 hours and is performed under anesthesia. Following surgery there are two drains in place which require some care and are usually removed during the first week after surgery. Patients usually take 1 to 2 weeks off from work depending upon the extent of surgery and their occupation. Also depending upon the extent of surgery, it may be performed on an outpatient basis or with an overnight stay in the hospital. Patients can gradually return to their normal level of activity and can usually resume exercise 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
Dr. Shuster performs most tummy tucks at the hospitals he is affiliated with in the South Florida area. For patients who are having more extensive procedures or patients who may have a medical condition or a strong preference, he performs these surgeries in the hospital often with an overnight stay.Return to the top of the page
The recovery following a tummy tuck or an abdominoplasty varies depending on individual patient factors and the type of procedure. Patients should rest and relax the first week after tummy tuck surgery. During the second week, they can begin to resume light activities. Depending upon their occupation and the type of procedure they have, some patients will return to work at this time. During the third week after surgery, patients resume their normal, non-exertional activities. Exercise can be resumed 4 to 6 weeks following surgery.
While patients are able to see changes in their appearance immediately after a tummy tuck, the results continue to improve as the swelling subsides. This typically takes several weeks. The results of abdominoplasty surgery are permanent. However, excessive weight gain or pregnancies can jeopardize the final results.
As with any surgery, complications can occur following an abdominoplasty. These include bleeding, infection, fluid collections and wound healing problems. Some of these may require additional surgery. Dr. Shuster will discuss these with you in detail during your consultation.
Following the tummy tuck procedure, Dr. Shuster and his staff continue to monitor your progress, and are available to help patients with any questions or needs.