An abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” operation to get rid of stretch marks usually involves three components:
1. Skin Excision
2. Myofascial Plication
It is quite common after pregnancy for the muscles, fascia, and skin of the lower abdomen to stretch. Despite numerous hours of sit-ups, cruches, or time on the stairmaster the muslces cannot be restored to their original position nor can the skin be tightened.
In an abdominoplasty operation the lax skin of the lower abdomen is excised and discarded. The skin area that is discarded is typically from an area 6-7 cm above the vulvar commisure to a point just above the umbilicus. Usually, this removes all of the skin of the lower abdomen that contains stretch marks from previous pregnancy. The muscles of the lower abdomen are then tightened. Liposuction of the lower flanks may be performed as well.
Typically, in a formal full abdominoplasty, the umbilicus or “belly button” is brought out through a new incision in the skin. The lower abdomen is closed with abdorbable sutures. Steri-strips or adhesive tapes remain on the lower abdomen for one to two weeks post-operatively.
Brian P. Dickinson, M.D.