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Tummy Tuck Surgery:
Procedures, Costs, Risks and Recovery

Abdominoplasty, more commonly called a tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure to reduce excess fat around the abdomen. If you have fat deposits around the abdomen that donít respond to diet or exercise, a tummy tuck might be the way to go.

First you need to know if you will be considered for this surgery. Tummy tuck candidates need to have good general health and to be able to pay for it. Tummy tucks are elective surgery.

With the cost of a tummy tuck you have to factor in the cost of the surgery itself, plus hospital fees and anesthesia. Fees range from $3000-$8000 and the price varies because of a number of factors, such as where you live, the complexity of the procedure, the prestige of the surgeon and the addition of other costs involved, such as post operative care. You will need to shop around to get a fee you can afford, but which also ensures you get the best medical care.

Abdominoplasty is major surgery, and you should be aware of the procedures and risks involved.

The surgeon will cut an incision just above the pubic area. The width of this incision will vary according to how much fat is to be removed. A large amount would require an incision from hip to hip.

It is important to remember that this is not liposuction. With liposuction, a canula (hollow tube-like instrument) is inserted under the skin, and the fat is emulsified and drawn out through the canula.

In abdominoplasty, excess fat and skin are removed surgically through the incision made in the lower part of the abdomen. The surgeon then lifts the skin and pulls the muscle and tissue together, stitching them so the waistline and abdominal area is made smaller. The skin of the abdomen is then drawn back down, and excess skin removed. In some cases, a new opening may have to be cut to reposition the navel.

When the original incision is closed with stitches, it will leave a scar, which may or may not fade as time passes.

Some surgeons prefer their patients to be asleep under a general anesthetic, while others may prefer a local anesthetic. This should be discussed with the surgeon before the procedure. The procedure may take place at a surgical center, or a hospital, requiring a few days' stay.

You probably wonít notice the post-operative difference right away. After an abdominoplasty, the tummy remains swollen and may be painful. When you will be allowed to leave hospital will depend on the complexity of the surgery involved.

The time it takes for a full recovery from abdominoplasty will also vary, mainly depending on your physical condition at the time of the operation. If you are in top condition, it may only take a couple of weeks to be back at work. Your post operative care may include an exercise program to tone your new body, and reduce post-operative risks, such as blood clots.

More than 107,000 abdominoplasties were performed in 2004, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, making it the sixth most popular procedure after liposuction, nose alteration, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery and facelift.

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