After weight loss or one or more pregnancies, the skin on the abdomen may sometimes be difficult to contract and restore the appearance it once had. If you have a lot of excess skin an abdominoplasty would be the solution for you.
In some cases it may also be necessary to combine a liposuction with a tightening of the skin through the abdominoplasty, to achieve optimal results. Our surgeon will assess each individual patient’s circumstances and wishes.
Incisions and technique
An abdominoplasty is usually performed with anesthesia but can also be performed with local anesthesia. A horizontal incision is made just above the pubic area, and extends laterally toward the pelvic bones. The length of the scar depends on the amount of skin that needs to be removed and usually the incision can be placed within the lines of the bathing suit. When there is a small amount of loose skin and the fat deposits are concentrated below the belly button, a much shorter horizontal incision will be sufficient. This is called a mini-abdominoplasty. When there is loose skin above the umbilicus a second incision is made around the belly button freeing it from the abdominal skin, the excess skin is then pulled down and the belly button re positioned, thus the final position of the belly button remains the same. Surgery time is normally from two to four hours. A minimum 24-hour stay is advised with a full abdominoplasty (especially if combined with another procedure). A mini abdominoplasty can be performed on an outpatient basis although an overnight stay is advised.
Temporary pain is treated with analgesics. Swelling, tenderness, numbness of abdominal skin, bruising, and tiredness, some, or all of these can last up to several weeks. Small drains, removed after a few days, are used to help avoid the accumulation of fluids in the abdominal wall. Dressings are applied and will be changed every other day for the first two weeks. You may be required to wear a girdle for 20 to 30 days. Stitches will be removed in stages over a period of one or two weeks.
Possible collection of liquid under the flap. Blood clots, infection bleeding under the skin flap or reactions to anesthesia could occur. Delayed healing or poor healing may result in visible scarring or skin loss and there could be a need for a second operation. Possibility of wide scars (keloids) in patients with a tendency. Any one of these complications could occur and every precaution is taken to minimize the possibility.
Patients can be back to work within two to three weeks and strenuous exercising or sunbathing could be taken up after four to six weeks or more. Fading and flattening of the scar: occurs after 3 months and sometimes up to 2 years.
Any plan to become pregnant or lose weight in the future, should be discussed before the operation. The scar placement and quality from previous abdominal surgery may limit the results of your abdominoplasty. There may be an improvement in the number of stretch marks, especially those located below the belly button, as the skin of the lower abdomen that contains the stretch marks will be removed. Sometimes liposuction may be used alone to remove abdominal fat, or in conjunction with an abdominoplasty procedure.
Duration of the results
The abdomen should remain firm and flat for many years, unless you gain a lot of weight or become pregnant. However, over the years, with the pull of gravity and natural aging process, a second abdominoplasty may be needed to improve the body contour