By the term abdominoplasty we mean the different surgeries done on the stomach, the purpose of which is ceasing or restoring mutations – these can be wrinkles, scars, fat accumulation and weakening of the abdominal wall. This type of surgery is usually sought by patients with loose tissues after pregnancy, individuals after major weight loss or sagging caused by hormonal changes. The surgery involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall.
The saggy skin and fat accumulation may not only be disturbing for esthetic reasons but also may cause other health problems, such as back problems, skin diseases and physic discontent. Abdominoplasty can be used also in those cases when liposuction does not bring the wanted results. The abdominoplasty is usually integrated with liposuction, belly button surgery or abdominal muscle reduction.
Before the abdominoplasty it is very important to discuss the desired outcome of the surgery with the surgeon. The surgery is usually done under general or epidural anesthesia, the duration of which may take 2-2,5 hours which greatly depends on the amount of skin and fat that needs to be removed. The surgical cuts are made above bikini line and into the abdomen, very stretched or torn muscles are pulled together and stitched in place. Excess fat is removed, and the skin is pulled down and the excess trimmed off. The belly button is repositioned to fit the new shape. Cuts are closed with stitches and the lower abdomen is firmly strapped with bandages. Fine plastic tubes will be running from under the skin on the tummy for up to 48 hours, these will allow blood and fluids to drain into a bag.
In cases of thinner skin and less saggy stomach a partial abdominoplasty may take place. A smaller incision is made and the skin and fat of the lower abdomen are detached in a more limited fashion from the muscle fascia. The skin is stretched down and excess skin removed. Sometimes the belly button stalk is divided from the muscle below and the belly button slid down lower on the abdominal wall. Sometimes a portion of the abdominal muscle fascia wall is tightened. Liposuction is often used to contour the transition zone.
After the operation the patient will need to wear a special abdominal binder for four-six weeks. The patient may have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days and stitches are taken out in two weeks’ time after the surgery, but the full recovery may take up to six months, with further fading of scars thereafter. Heavy activity is advised to be avoided for some time. Since the incisions during the operation are done under the bikini line, thus for outsiders the scar will remain invisible, only the flat and firm stomach will be seen. After a successful abdominoplasty the firmness of the skin will not change, however with unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle the fat excess may be put back on, this is why the patient will need to look after oneself and change the previous lifestyle.