Your typical tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty includes liposuction, removing excess abdominal skin and tightening the abdominal wall. A loose abdominal wall is a rectus diastasis. This is repaired with stitches. In some cases, the abdominal wall is more than just loose, there’s an opening, or hernia that also needs repair. Tightening of a loose abdominal wall is pretty standard. But a hernia? That’s a whole other ball of wax!
What to do with a hernia during your tummy tuck
Most women requesting a tummy tuck after having a baby have a loose abdominal wall in addition to loose skin. During the tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon will tighten the loose abdominal wall (a rectus diastasis) with really strong stitches. This will help flatten the abdomen. But in the patient above and below, she also has an opening in her abdominal wall which is a hernia. A hernia results in a bulge in the abdomen because the intestines come through that opening.
Just to be clear, there’s an opening in the abdominal wall, not the skin. So for this patient, while doing the tummy tuck, her intestines are stuffed back through the opening. Stitches and mesh fix the hernia after returning the intestines to their proper location. Once that’s done, the abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck portion of the operation, is completed.
Why all the fuss about a hernia?
The biggest risk with a tummy tuck and hernia operation is when the hernia is around the belly button. In the process of tightening the abdominal wall to correct the hernia around the belly button, the blood supply to the belly button can be compromised. So anytime you undergo a tummy tuck with repair of an umbilical hernia (a hernia around the belly button), death to the belly button is a very possible risk. If the belly button dies, your surgeon will remove it and the resulting scar will hopefully look like a small belly button!
I understand that a dead belly button is shocking or maybe even seem like malpractice, but it is a known complication of a tummy tuck with hernia repair. If you don’t have a hernia, then the risk of a dead belly button is almost non-existent. Still want a tummy tuck?! Check pricing from a doctor near you by clicking here!