As we age, after childbirth, or after losing and gaining weight, the skin on our abdomen can stretch, our abdominal muscles can weaken and fat can tend to accumulate. Diet and exercise often cannot solve these problems. Abdominoplasty can help your abdomen become firmer and flatter by removing excess skin and fat, and by tightening the abdominal muscles. Although abdominoplasty cannot get rid of stretch marks, it can often dramatically improve them by partially removing the stretched skin and by tightening up the remaining skin.
The procedure is undertaken as an outpatient surgical procedure under general anesthesia. The surgery lasts on an average from 3 to 3-1/2 hours and an overnight stay at the hospital is recommended.
After lifting the skin and fat from the underlying muscles of the abdomen, a large wedge of skin and fat is removed along the lower edge of the tummy, leaving a scar that can be hidden beneath underwear or a bathing suit. The muscles are usually tightened and sutured together as they may have stretched or separated (especially after pregnancies). The navel is left in its normal position, but the skin around it may be lifted, leaving a small scar hidden within the navel.
Variations to the surgery can include a partial or “mini” abdominoplasty (treating the lower abdomen only) or using liposuction in conjunction with the abdominoplasty.
Pain following the surgery is controlled with prescription medications.
The first few days are usually spent resting, with increasing movements and activity during the first week.
The muscles are sutured together
in the midlines.
The lower wedge of loose skin and fat is removed.
The scar is placed in the natural creases of the abdomen.
Most patients return to work and their usual daily activities in 1-2 weeks, but heavy lifting and strenuous exercising may not be allowed for up to 6 weeks.
All surgery carries the potential risks of bleeding, infection, and scarring. It is important to review and understand all of the possible complications with your plastic surgeon.
Occasionally after abdominoplasty, a buildup of fluid under the skin may need to be removed in the office. For this reason, drains are used after the surgery and a girdle is worn for up to 6 weeks.
Please call our office for further information.
The information was prepared by Dr. Anna Drzewiecki and may not reflect the thoughts or approach of all plastic surgeons. The best way to obtain a better understanding of abdominoplasty surgery is through a personal consultation with your plastic surgeon, at which time you should feel comfortable asking for any additional information.