Abdominoplasty or "tummy tuck" is a surgery procedure that is used to make the abdomen more firm. The surgery involves the removal of excess fat and skin from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle and also the fascia of the abdominal wall. This type of surgery is usually sought by patients with loose or sagging tissues after major weight loss or even pregnancy.
There are many forms of abdominoplasty such as:
The classical abdominoplasty, where an incision is made from hip to hip just above the pubic area and also another incision is made to free the navel from the surrounding skin. After that the skin is detached from the abdominal wall to reveal the muscles and fascia to be tightened. The muscle fascia wall is tightened with sutures and the excess skin is removed. Liposuction is often used to refine the transition zones of the abdominal sculpture.
The Partial or also known as Mini abdominoplasty which proceeds as follows:A smaller incision is made. The skin and fat of the lower abdomen are detached in a more limited fashion from the muscle fascia and the skin is stretched downwards and excess skin removed. Sometimes the belly button is sliding down lower on the abdominal wall after being divided from the muscle below. There are also cases where a portion of the abdominal muscle fascia wall must be tightened. Liposuction is often used to contour the transition zone. Finally the flap is stitched back into place.
Recovery depends on the surgical procedure used to solve the problem and also on other factors such as age, state of patient’s health, medication, compliance with the post-op medical instructions etc. It is very important to create a state of collaboration and mutual respect between the patient and the doctor.
Patients are advised to take a week as recovery time off from work. Initially there may be bruising and discomfort. A supportive abdominal binder or compression garment can minimize swelling and bruising, and support the repaired tissues, which is also effective in helping the skin in the treated area conform to its new shape. Patients should avoid any form of nicotine for a month or longer prior to surgery and also during the recovery period. Full recovery takes 6 months, with further fading of scars thereafter.
Complications are not common amongst healthy men and premenopausal women but can increase between unhealthy men and postmenopausal women.
If complications occur, they usually delay the healing process. Infection and blood clots are a serious potential risk after abdominoplasty, but they do occur rarely. Patients are recommended to move around as soon as possible after surgery to minimize their risks of developing blood clots. Infection is usually treated with antibiotics and drainage.
Although abdominoplasty is considered to be a safe procedure, as with any other type of surgery, different complications may arise. The majority of the risks can be avoided if the patients follow carefully the instructions they receive from their surgeon.
Abdominoplasty, complete or partial (mini), has great affect on patients with weak abdominal wall, excess fat and skin. If combined with regular physical activity and well-balanced nutrition, the great outcome can last for many years.