An abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure intended to flatten and strengthen the abdomen. The majority of our tummy tuck patients are female, where weight gain and multiple pregnancies have weakened their stomach muscles resulting in unsightly belly distension (diastasis) or lower abdominal overhang.
What does this surgery entail?
In a typical abdominoplasty the surgeon makes a horizontal incision along a line at or near the lower border of the abdominal region (below patient’s waistband). A second incision is then made around the navel in order to reposition it.
The flap or overhang of excess skin is removed. Often patients will have liposuction treatment to remove fat deposits (panniculus). For patients with more extensive problems, longer incisions may be used, looping from the midsection, to remove excess skin and fat from the flanks.
The initial incision is typically followed by procedures to tighten abdominal muscles, which will further flatten the patient’s stomach. The skin is then sutured along the main incision. In most cases, additional incisions follow to isolate the navel from abdominal skin and reposition it to its ideal post surgical location.
The procedure described above may be referred to as a traditional or conventional abdominoplasty. There are other variations, which have been developed to address specific problems. One popular example is the mini-abdominoplasty, in which a relatively short incision is made along the lower abdomen. Instead of an operation entailing the full abdomen, a mini-tummy tuck is focused on problems below the navel. It is a less intensive operation for people with limited overhang, less skin and fat.
Package surgery combinations, the so-called “mommy makeover”, will often include a mini-abdominoplasty to limit the overall surgical trauma to the patient.
Is an abdominoplasty right for me?
Patients with overly-stretched skin or diastasis as a result of pregnancy may be suitable candidates. Moreover, people who have undergone significant weight loss with resulting areas of loose abdominal skin may can be suitable candidates and may further add targeted liposuction to complete their aesthetic body contouring. Male patients through age or poor lifestyle habits, who suffer abdominal weakness and excess belly fat, could also be appropriate surgery candidates.
What are some risks of abdominoplasty?
As a major surgical procedure, abdominoplasty requires general anesthesia, with all its associated risks. And as invasive surgery all the normal complications could be in play such as infection at the suture site, unexpected scarring, pain or numbness at the wound site and reduced mobility due to pain.
Patients may also experience haematomas or seromas (both rare), in which blood or fluid pools under the skin at the wound site. This would require some kind of drainage.
What should I expect after an abdominoplasty?
Most patients remain in hospital for minimum of 2 nights. During this time the healthcare team will apply dressings, administer appropriate medication and monitor rate of healing. Longer term, patients should restrict activity for the first 2-3 weeks. Patients may resume more vigorous activity (including exercise, sports or movement-intensive hobbies) after minimum of 6-10 weeks.
This surgery seems right for me. What’s next?
If you are interested in learning more about tummy tuck surgery or think you may be a suitable candidate, please visit our contact page with you questions and if possible some photos (front/sides) of the problem areas. Our team will review your situation and reply within 24 hours with comments and recommendation.