Abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” is a cosmetic surgery procedure used to make the abdomen thinner and more firm. The surgery involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall.

The procedure has been sought after by people who have developed a larger abdomen or waist line due to fat accumulation or loss of muscle tone.  It can also help women who’s abdomen has been irreversibly stretched by pregnancy.  The surgery has been refined in the USA where the procedure has been done in large volumes.  Our surgeons at CASS (Centre For Advanced Specialty Surgery, Nigeria) trained and practice in the USA.  They have introduced the same best practice standars to performing tummy tucks and other plastic surgery procedures in our centers in Lagos and Owerri.

Below, we have provided some detail about the abdominoplasty procedure to give our patients a sense of what to expect.

Types of Tummy Tuck
There are several types of abdominoplasty available, and our doctors will help you choose the right one. Options include:

Traditional tummy tucks are the most commonly performed type of tummy tuck surgery. They involve the creation of a hip-to-hip incision, as well as incisions around the belly button. Because they address the patient’s entire abdominal area, they often involve moving the belly button to ensure natural looking results. Traditional tummy tucks are commonly combined with abdominal liposuction.

Mini tummy tucks (also called partial abdominoplasties) are intended for patients who are within 10 percent of their ideal body weight and are content with making alterations only to the part of the abdomen that is below the navel. Mini tummy tucks require only a single small incision. They usually do not involve repositioning the navel. Partial abdominoplasties result in less dramatic changes to the appearance of the abdomen than other types of abdominoplasty surgery, but also offer a shorter recovery time than most tummy tuck procedures.

Endoscopic tummy tuck surgery is performed on patients with weakened abdominal muscles, little abdominal fat, and no noticeable loose skin around the stomach area. Endoscopic tummy tucks involve the use of a tiny camera attached to a slender tube, called an endoscope, which is inserted into the site of incision. An endoscopic abdominoplasty results in the least noticeable scarring because the incisions only have to be large enough to allow for the insertion of the endoscope and the surgeon’s tools. This tummy tuck technique is employed in tummy tucks for men and women who suffer from rectus diastasis, a disorder that involves the separation of the abdominal muscles at the midline of the belly.

Extended tummy tucks involve the removal of ‘love handles’ on either side of the waist as well as the removal of fat and excess skin from the stomach area. The incision is usually low so that even if the scar extends behind the hips, it will not be visible, even when one is wearing low-rise clothing. This procedure allows for the treatment of a larger area than the traditional tummy tuck. In order to address the lifting of the entire lower body area, a circumferential tummy tuck is usually required.

Circumferential tummy tucks is a type of body lift. Circumferential tummy tuck surgeries are often sought by patients who have undergo gastric bypass surgery. Massive weight loss is often accompanied by a significant loss in skin elasticity. Some insurance companies will cover part of the cost of a circumferential tummy tuck surgery. The presence of sagging skin may be a health issue as well as an aesthetic one, as fungus can form between the folds of the skin. Circumferential abdominoplasty can involve the removal of excess skin from the thigh, buttocks, and hips, as well as the central abdominal area. The scars for this type of procedure extend to the back.

Diet Implications

  • It is essential that patients seeking a tummy tuck are appropriately nourished.  This is particularly important to allow for good timely healing.  It also helps to maintain a functional immune system which can reduce the risk of infection.
  • Tummy tuck surgeries can have dramatic results.  However future weight gain can increase the size of a patient’s abdomen. Beginning healthy habits before the treatment can help ensure long-lasting results.
  • Patients should never try a crash diet or extreme weight loss before a tummy tuck. These regimens are impossible to maintain over a long period, and they will deprive the body of nutrients that are essential for healing.

Exercise
Individuals should also begin a regular exercise routine in the weeks before their surgery. Again, this serves several purposes. With increased muscle mass and a faster metabolism, patients will face an easier, faster recovery. Additionally, a leaner, more efficiently functioning body can help to prevent weight gain in the weeks following surgery when patients must avoid strenuous physical activity. Finally, as with diet, beginning an exercise routine establishes good habits so that patients can enjoy long-lasting results after their tummy tucks.

Smoking
Smoking constricts blood vessels and reduces the flow of oxygen throughout the body. Therefore, smokers face a higher risk for surgical complications, and they typically have a slower recovery than non-smokers. Tummy tuck candidates should stop smoking for at least two weeks before and two weeks after their surgery. Even with this cessation, smokers still have a higher rate of complications, and doctors encourage patients to stop smoking entirely before their abdominoplasty.

Medications
Certain medications, vitamins, and nutrition supplements can increase the risk for surgical complications such as blood clots. Patients should list all of the medications they are taking and alert their doctors if they are taking hormone replacement therapy, birth control, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, or post-cancer treatments. Doctors may advise patients to stop taking these medications several weeks before their procedure, or they may recommend alternative medications. Additionally, patients should not take the following medications and nutrition supplements five days before their procedures:

Aspirin
Blood thinners
St. John’s wart
Green tea extract
Garlic supplements
Any medications that contain aspirin
Your Recovery

Following a tummy tuck, patients will typically have a limited activity level and should plan accordingly. They should prepare to be out of work for at least two weeks. If possible, abdominoplasty patients should arrange to have someone stay with them for a few days to help them change their drainage tubes, prepare food, and complete various household tasks.

Benefits
Tummy tucks and other plastic surgery procedures done at CASS can dramatically remove excess fat, skin (including stretch marks) and tighten the abdomen and waistline.  For the right patients, this can result in an extremely improved and satisfactory figure. It can restore the appearance of people who have had their abdomen stretched by pregnancy or excess weight gain.  It can also provide relief in people who have low back pain due to a strain from excess weight in the abdomen.  The improved aesthetics can lead to enhanced self confidence.

Consultations
Women in Lagos and elsewhere in Nigeria are encouraged to visit CASS for a consultation and advice if they have an interest in tummy tucks or other plastic surgery procedures.  Patients will be evaluated and given detailed surgical plans to achieve the desired results.

Surgery
Surgeries are performed by our US trained specialists at our hospital in Lagos.  Our surgeons have performed numerous successful tummy tuck surgeries in the USA and now in Lagos since we expanded to a hospital in July 2016.  All tummy tucks, liposuctions, Brazilian butt lifts and other plastic surgeries and even consultations are done with the strictest adherence to confidentiality.