How to Prepare for Surgery
Your surgeon will make various requests during this period. In particular, if you smoke you must stop for at least two weeks before the operation and two weeks after. You must not stay out in the sun too long during this time. If you take vitamin E and aspirin you must stop, and you should also avoid strict dietary regimes before surgery. A cold or other infection may lead to the operation being postponed.
What is Abdominal Lift (Abdominoplasty)?
Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure in which excess fat and sagging skin tissue in the mid and lower abdominal region and the abdominal muscles are strengthened by tightening. It is not a treatment for excess weight. Overweight people must lose as much weight as they do in surgery before the operation. A fat stomach and the appearance of the abdomen can be improved dramatically with this surgery, but the resulting scarring is permanent. Plastic surgeons employ various techniques for abdominoplasty. Abdominoplasty can also be performed together with operations intended to improve the body's contours (such as cosmetic breast surgery or liposuction) or certain other surgical procedures (womb, ovary surgery etc.).
Where Is Surgery Performed?
Complete or partial abdominoplasty is performed under hospital conditions.
How Is Surgery Planned?
At your initial examination your surgeon will learn about your general state of health, the amount of fat in your abdominal region and how it is distributed, how much your skin sags and the quality of your skin. During this examination you must give your doctor accurate and detailed information about any diseases you have had, any existing health problems (such as diabetes), any habits such as cigarettes
or alcohol, and any drugs you take (such as aspirin or sedatives). Something else you must tell your doctor during the examination is why you want the operation and what you expect from it. Do not be afraid to be completely honest. In the light of your expectations and the results from your examinations you may be suitable for either complete or partial abdominoplasty, alone or with liposuction. Or liposuction on its own may be enough for you. At this examination you should also discuss the type of anesthesia to be used, how many days you will be hospitalized and what you can expect after surgery.
What Type of Anesthesia?
Most of our patients choose general anesthesia. Sometimes, however, minor abdominoplasty in particular can be performed with local anesthesia and sedatives.
How Does the Operation Work?
Complete abdominoplasty may last 2-4 hours, depending on girth, and partial abdominoplasty 1-2 hours. An incision from one hip to the other often has to be made, though this can be concealed inside swimming costumes. A second round incision is made around the naval. In partial abdominoplasty, the incision is shorter and the naval may not be moved. During the operation, the skin of the abdomen may be released from the muscles from the groin to the level of the ribs. If there is any weakness or rupturing in the abdominal muscles, that area is strengthened and excess skin is removed from the body. These procedures are more limited in mini-abdominoplasty. When the operation is finished, the incision can be closed with metal clamps or invisible (intradermic) sutures, as the patient prefers, or else with a single intradermic suture and then covered with dressings. One or two drainage tubes may be installed under the skin to remove any excess fluid that may accumulate in the region.
What Happens after Surgery?
There may be some swelling in the first few days, and pain that can be controlled with painkillers. Drains are removed in an average of 1-3 days, and sutures after 1-3 weeks. You may need to stay in hospital for an average of 1-3 days. It may take a few months for you to feel like your old self. You can return to work in 2-4 weeks. The scar may look as if it is worsening for the first 3-6 months, but this is normal, and it may take nine months to a year for the scars to improve and fade. Although the scarring does not disappear entirely, it can easily be concealed within swimwear. Complete or partial abdominoplasty procedures produce perfect results in patients with weak abdominal muscles or serial sagging. Most patients can maintain perfect results for years with regular exercise and proper diet.
What Alternative Treatments Are There?
Fat removal by vacuum can be considered as an alternative in people of normal weight, if skin tension is of good quality fat accumulation is limited, and if the abdominal walls are sound. Diet and exercise programs can also have an effect on total body fat, but they cannot improve skin sagging. Risks and possible complications apply to alternative treatments in the same way as to surgery.
What Are the Risks with Abdominoplasty?
Hundreds of abdominoplasty operations are performed every year. So long as the operation is carried out by a plastic surgeon specializing in body contour correction the results are generally quite satisfactory. Every surgical procedure has its own level of risk, and the important thing is for you to understand those involved with abdominoplasty. The important thing in an individual's agreeing to surgery is to compare the risks and the benefits. Although many women or men do not encounter the complications set out below, you must discuss the risks, possible complications and outcomes with your plastic surgeon, until you are sure you fully understand them. With good pre-surgical examination and evaluation, complications such as infection and bleeding are rare with this operation, carried out by a plastic surgeon under suitable hospital conditions.