Most of us have thought about a ‘tummy tuck’ or abdominoplasty at one time or another but don’t really know what’s involved. Dr Richard Bloom gives us some information on new developments in treatments.
Q. Who is the best candidate for abdominoplasty?
A: The best candidates for a tummy tuck are men or women in relatively good shape who have developed loose abdominal skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise. This commonly occurs after weight loss or pregnancies, where the skin has been stretched beyond its normal elasticity and won’t return to normal.
Q. What is involved in the consultation process?
A: I take a full history and perform an examination to assess your particular concerns, discuss your goals and also ensure that you are a good candidate for the surgery. Using a revolutionary software program called TouchMD, I am able to demonstrate how the operation is done and where the scars will be placed on your actual photos.
Q: What is the ‘No Drain Tummy Tuck’?
A: Older tummy tuck surgery techniques, relied on a drain to suck down between the skin and muscle to avoid leaving a space where fluid could collect and often the drain would stay in for several days after surgery. We have started performing a no-drain tummy tuck surgery. It’s a new drainless technique, using Progressive Tension sutures that seals the space between the skin and muscle where fluid tends to accumulate, with a special internal stitch which locks the skin and muscle in place with the barbs of the suture.
This innovative technique has revolutionized the way tummy tucks are performed. Since we have started using it we have found that our patients are more comfortable, heal faster and have less swelling than ever before.
Q: Is it Painful?
A: Pain after surgery is not only uncomfortable, it can also slow down the healing process. To avoid this situation we have started using Pain Buster™ to ease the pain in the first 48 hours after surgery. The pain buster consists of small bulb which automatically delivers long acting local anaesthetic to the wound via hair-thin tubing. The bulb containing the local anaesthetic is carried in a small pouch which patients carry with them.
The result is that patients feel virtually no pain. That means that our patients usually need less prescription pain medicines that can be associated with significant side effects such as nausea, vomiting and allergic reactions.
Q: Are there risks involved in abdominoplasty?
A: There are always risks associated with any surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure. Post-operative complications such as infection and blood clots are rare, but can occur. Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but may require a hospital stay. Poor healing, which results in conspicuous scars, may necessitate a second operation. Smokers are advised to stop, as smoking may increase the risk of complications and delay healing.
You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following your surgeon’s instructions before and after the surgery, especially with regard to when and how you should resume physical activity.