What is abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty, also referred to as “tummy tuck”, is a cosmetic surgery performed for removing excess skin and fat from the middle and lower part of the abdomen and tighten abdominal muscles. This surgery helps reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen and loose skin. However this surgery leaves a permanent scar which can stretch if you gain weight again.
Indications for abdominoplasty
Abdomen skin flabbiness that developed as a result of weight gain and loss, age-related changes, pregnancy; flabbiness and overdistension of abdominal muscles that cause visceroptosis; formation of cicatrical stretches of skin, especially in the area of umbilicus and below; unaesthetic cicatrices on the abdomen after other surgical interventions. Some areas are resistant to diet and exercise and may need assistance in form of plastic surgery.
However if you intend to lose a lot of weight or you are a women planning future pregnancies, you should postpone the surgery. Abdominoplasty can dramatically improve your appearance, especially on those men and women who are in good shape and health and whose only problem remains extra fat in the abdomen area. A tummy tuck can help achieve flat stomach by tightening the inner girdle.
Before the surgery
Consider your expectations from the surgery; discuss them with your surgeon. Before the surgery the doctor should examine you, determine the extent of abdominoplasty and evaluate your overall health.
During this preliminary consultation the surgeon should decide on what type of surgery you need: complete, partial, endoscopic or a combination of abdominoplasty with liposuction. You also may be advised to stop smoking 10 days before the surgery and abstain from smoking for 3-4 weeks after it, avoid overexposure to the sun.
You have to be in good health (no chill or other diseases in this period). It is prohibited to take aspirin-containing drugs 10 days before the surgery. Take a bath the day before the procedure. It is recommended not to eat and only to drink liquids for a day or two before the surgery. The procedure is performed on an empty stomach (use ½ glass of water to brush your tooth and oral cavity).
A complete tummy tuck is a very invasive surgical procedure and is usually performed under general anesthesia in an outpatient setting or in a hospital. Several days of hospital stay may be required after the surgery. Abdominoplasty takes two to five hours depending on the extent of work required. Partial abdominoplasty takes between an hour and two.
A large horizontal incision is made across the abdomen above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall all the way up to the ribs and the surgeon removes excess fat and skin from the stomach area. Vertical muscles are pulled together and stitched in a new position to tighten up the abdominal wall. Abdominal skin is pulled down and excess is removed. A new hole is made for the navel. At the end the incisions are stitched, dressings are applied
and a temporary tube is inserted in order to drain extra fluid from the operated area.
After the surgery
Best results are achieved with the patients whose weight is close to normal when there is flabbiness of the skin of abdominal wall front surface, reasonably pronounced fat surplus, or abdominal muscles protrusion. The result of the abdominal surgery is usually stable although significant weight fluctuation or a subsequent pregnancy can diminish the effect.
The recovery time can last several months. You may experience swelling, bruising, pain and discomfort that may last, depending on the severity of the surgery and personal characteristics, from several weeks to several months.
It is reasonable to stay at a hospital or under professional nursing care from one to three days, as abdominoplasty is quite time-consuming in terms of recovery. However it will be good to start walking as soon as possible: by moving around you can reduce the chances of blood clots.
Bandages are removed in 1-4 days and surface stitches in 5-7 days. If you have a sedentary job, you may return to work in one or two weeks, but if you are involved in manual labor, it’s better to wait for 4-6 weeks. Exercise may be resumed in four weeks.
Expect it to take nine months to a year before your scars flatten out and lighten in color. In most cases the results last long, especially if supported by a balanced diet and regular exercise.
What complications may occur after abdominoplasty?
As with any surgery there are always risks involved. Some of them may include infection, blood clots, poor healing or anesthesia complications. These risks are very rare when the procedure is performed by a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon.
If you have more questions about a abdominoplasty, feel free to contact us.