Abdomenoplasty is a serious surgical operation for the removal of excess skin tissue and fat from the abdomen and the tightening of the abdominal walls. The procedure can impressively reduce the look of a lax and protruding tummy, but one should bear in mind that it leaves a scar which, according to the nature and extent of the problem, could extend from one hip to the other.
Do not hesitate to discuss with your surgeon any questions you have concerning the procedure.
The best candidates
The best candidates for abdomenoplasty are men and women who are healthy, but are annoyed by a lax and protruding tummy which does not “respond” to dieting or exercising. The operation is especially useful to women whose abdominal walls are “stretched” beyond return after pregnancies. The loss of skin elasticity due to mild obesity in older patients can also be addressed.
Patients who plan to lose weight should postpone the operation. Women who plan future pregnancies should wait, given that abdominal muscles tightened during the operation will be “stretched” again during pregnancy. Your surgeon will examine any scars from previous operations in your abdomen (e.g. cholecystectomy) and might chose not proceed with an abdomenoplasty
Abdomenoplasty can enhance your look and self-esteem but will neither give you the “perfect body” nor will it make other people respond to you in a different way. Before you decide to undergo the operation think carefully what your expectations are and discuss them thoroughly with your surgeon.
Every operation carries risks
Thousands of abdomenoplasties are performed successfully every year. If they are performed by a certified surgeon they result in success. Nevertheless, as with every surgical operation, there are always risks connected to this particular procedure.
Complications like infections or blood accumulation under the skin are rare but can occur. Infections are easily prevented with the suitable antibiotic treatment, while blood clots are avoided if the patient is mobilized from the first day of the operation.
Smokers should not smoke 2 to 3 weeks before and 2 weeks after the operation. Smoking can increase the danger of complications and the creation of unsightly scars.
The danger of complications can be greatly reduced if you follow carefully your surgeon’s instructions before and after the operation.
Arranging your operation
The surgeon in the beginning will evaluate the state of your health and will determine the extent of the excess skin tissue and fat in your abdomen. He will also evaluate carefully your skin tone. Make sure to tell your surgeon if you are a smoker, if you are under any medication, homeopathic or not, if you take any food supplements.
Be honest when you discuss your expectations. Your surgeon will be equally honest with you presenting different options, possible dangers and limitations
If, for example, laxity and fat are confined only in the area under your belly button, a simpler, less complicated, procedure called mini abdomenoplasty might be followed. It is certainly a “lighter” surgical act. Or maybe you will need additional liposuction to improve your body shape, or sometimes just liposuction will be necessary.
In any case your surgeon will work closely with you in order to suggest the procedure that will give the best possible results for your specific problem.
Health insurance policies rarely cover abdomenoplasties, except for special cases.
Preparation for surgery
Your surgeon shall provide you with specific instructions for your operation regarding what to eat & drink, smoking, taking or not certain vitamins and medication.
If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking one or two weeks before and at least two weeks after the operation.
Make sure there is a friend or member of the family to drive you back home after the operation is over and the doctor discharges you from the hospital
Where does the procedure take place
Abdomenoplasties are performed in a hospital. The patient usually stays overnight and by noon the next day is discharged from the hospital.
Abdomenoplasties are performed under general anesthesia
It usually takes 2 or 3 hours to perform an abdomenoplasty, depending on the extent of the work needed.
The surgeon usually makes an incision in your lower abdomen just over the pubic area where it can easily be concealed under your panties or your bathing suit. In mini-abdomenoplasties the incision is much smaller, rather like the one used in the cesarean section.
The surgeon next separates the skin from the abdominal walls all the way up to the ribs. This way he can expose the usually lax underlying abdominal muscles. These muscles in turn are pulled and tied together with special sutures to create more stable abdominal walls that narrow your waist at the same time.
Excess skin tissue is pulled down and trimmed off. Your belly button will be repositioned according to where it was before laxity occurred. Cuts are sewed internally. Finally a tiny plastic tube is placed under the skin to drain all the possible post-surgery fluids. This tube is usually removed two to five days after surgery
After the operation
The first post-surgery days you will feel your tummy swollen and “tight”. There will be no distinctive pain, rather a difficulty in movement. A simple pain killer can deal with it.
Your surgeon shall provide you with specific instructions for washing yourself or showering and for the change of dressings. You should start walking from the first day on, although you will not be able to stand fully.
You will wear for a month an elastic supporting garment for your waist. Sutures are removed in ten days.
Back to everyday activities
Most patients return to office-based work after 7-10 days. If a patient’s pre-operative condition was generally good, recovery is quicker. Exercising helps a quicker comeback. Heavy exercising, though, is not allowed before the first month. Your scars will be red for a long time. It takes about six months for a scar to mature. Although your scar will never disappear, it will be concealed under your panties or bathing suit.
Your new look
Abdomenoplasty gives very impressive results. In most cases these results last many years on condition that the patient does not gain weight and he or she exercises regularly. Abdomenoplasties are in no way a method of weight loss.
If you are realistic in your expectations, abdomenoplasty can be exactly the answer to your problem