Abdominoplasty is a procedure that tighten the abdomen area to give a flatter, smoother profile. It is popular amongst women bothered by the stretching of skin and loss of muscle tone following pregnancy. It is also popular amongst women and men that are left with fat and skin overhang following weight loss.
This operation is one of my few special favorites as it involves several "tricks-of-the-trade" techniques that I adapted over the years to fine-tune the results depending on the patient's physical properties to achieve the best possible outcome. I always use liposuction to improve the definition of the abdomen and waist.
Abdominal skin stretching, sagging and overhanging is often seen unattractive and can cause a range of psychological and social problems that negatively affect confidence and self-esteem.
The condition may cause difficulty in finding well-fitted clothing, self-image issues, and upsetting feelings of unattractiveness.
In carefully selected cases, abdominoplasty would remove the skin and tissue overhang, tighten the skin and muscle to recreate a youthful smoother and flatter abdomen.
What Techniques Exist?
Many variations and fine-tunings of abdominoplasty procedures exist. For example: apronectomy, mini-abdominoplasty, standard abdominoplasty, fleur de lis, extended abdominoplasty, lipoabdominoplasty, umbilicoplasty techniques, muscle plication and others.
Several factors must be considered and discussed in order to decide which techniques are the best for you.
The type and techniques used will vary according to:
Am I Suitable for Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is an excellent option for improving the shape of the abdomen. However, it is not a substitute for weight loss nor can it correct stretch marks.
You must be in good health and not have any active or serious medical conditions.
You should be nonsmoker as smoking increase the risk of wound breakdown, infection and delayed healing.
Your BMI (Body Mass Index) should be 30 or less in order to achieve the best cosmetic outcome and to reduce the risks of complications.
What Will Happen at the Consultation?
I will take a detailed history to explore your concerns and requirements.
I will examine your abdomen, looking for skin quality and distribution of the excess tissue. I will examin you standing then laying down for muscle weakness and hernias.
I will discuss the suitability of the procedure with you, as well as the types of abdominoplasty and techniques required, the expected outcome, and any alternative options.
If you are a good candidate for surgery, I will describe the procedure in detail, as well as your recovery, any possible risks, and complications.
What Happens on the Day of Surgery?
The procedure will be a day-case surgery, meaning you’ll be able to return home on the same day.
I will see you before surgery to make some markings on your skin. The anaesthetist will then see you to begin the anaesthesia.
During surgery, you will be given a dose of antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection. Then, I will infiltrate the abdomen with plenty of local anaesthetic to numb the skin and deep tissue.
When you wake up after surgery, you may feel some tightness but should not feel significant pain due to the effect of the local anaesthetic. The wounds will be covered with dressings. There will be 2 drains (tubes) connected to plastic bottles.
You will be given strong painkillers to take home, which should control all pain and discomfort.
What is the Recovery Process?
You will experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort for the first few days. The pain will be controlled by taking the painkillers on a regular basis.
It usually takes two weeks to return to day-to-day activities. It may take up to six weeks to return to full physical activities. You should wear a well-fitted pressure garment and refrain from heavy lifting or exercise for six weeks after surgery.
What Follow-up Do I Get?
You will be seen after 2 days for the removal of drains. I will see you one week after surgery to check the wounds, 6-8 weeks after surgery to check the condition of the scars, and at 6 months to check the shape of the abdomen.
Are There Any Alternatives?
That would depend on your aims and expectations, which are better measured and discussed during the consultation. For example, weight reduction by diet and exercise is the best option to get rid of diffused and visceral fat. Liposuction and liposculpture might be a better alternative in those cases where the skin and muscle loosening is minimal.