What is abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is the invasive method that corrects the defects that exist in the abdominal area. Specifically, it removes stored fat and excess skin with some of the stretch marks that have been created after a sudden increase or loss of body weight. Additionally it tightens the aponeurotic system and can correct hernias that have appeared on the abdominal wall.
- Abdominoplasty is divided into two types of surgery:
- Mini abdominoplasty: the operation is performed in the lower part of the abdomen below the navel and concerns people whose body weight does not deviate significantly from normal. Therefore, the amount of fat extracted is very small and the incision is imperceptible. For the realization of the mini abdominoplasty, the local anesthesia with sedation is recommended.
- Normal abdominoplasty: the operation is performed along the abdominal wall and concerns people whose body weight exceeds normal. Therefore, the amount of fat extracted is large and the navel needs to be repaired. General anesthesia is recommended for performing normal abdominoplasty.
- Who is it for?
Once one reaches the age of 18, the operation can be performed without age restrictions, both in women and men who want to get rid of sagging and stretch marks. A prerequisite is that the candidates enjoy good health, have a specific BMI and do not have other serious medical problems.
- What is the difference between abdominoplasty and liposuction?
Liposuction has a complementary role in abdominoplasty. It is suitable for the loss of localized fat, while the abdominoplasty for the removal of excess skin. If someone with a high body weight performs only liposuction, the result will be the skin and muscles to sag significantly, giving an unwanted image. That is why in some cases abdominoplasty must be combined with liposuction.
- The first visit to the doctor’s office
The first visit to the Plastic Surgeon aims to unfold the wishes and motivations of the person concerned and to make a diagnosis of the problem in relation to the part of the body where the problem is located. It is important that the discussion takes place on an honest and realistic basis. Then, the Plastic Surgeon must inform the candidate about the possibility of combining the abdominoplasty with another operation (e.g. liposuction), about the results and complications. After this stage, they can set the date and the procedures required for the operation.
- Is the operation painful?
Abdominoplasty is a safe surgical procedure that promises a harmonious result worthy of each candidate’s expectations. The postoperative period, however, presents a moderate intensity of pain, which will be treated with the concomitant administration of analgesics and will gradually subside.
- What complications may occur?
Complications are rare and may occur due to the candidate’s non-compliance with postoperative and preoperative instructions. Complications such as swelling, hematoma, postoperative bleeding, seroma (excess fluid in the surrounding area), inflammation, slow healing, and thrombosis (in case of immobility of the patient) can be combated
- What kind of tests will be needed before the abdominoplasty?
Prior to abdominoplasty, some general blood tests, biochemistry blood tests, an electrocardiogram, and a chest x-ray may be needed. If an abdominal wall hernia is found, an abdominal CT scan will be requested. At the same time, the Plastic Surgeon will give some additional preoperative instructions for people who belong are or undergoing medication.
- How long does an abdominoplasty last and what kind of anesthesia is required?
The duration varies depending on the percentage of excess skin that needs to be removed and can range from 2 to 4 hours. The type of anesthesia to be used depends on the type of abdominoplasty. If mini abdominoplasty is performed, the injection of local anesthesia with sedation is required, while if normal abdominoplasty is preferred, the use of general anesthesia is required.
- During surgery
An incision is made from the right iliac region to the left (pubic area). Another incision may follow along the navel. The abdominal wall is lifted and separated from the skin. The denervating system is exposed, tightened and sutured so that the abdominal wall is strengthened and stabilized. Excess fat and excess skin are then removed. If it is a normal abdominoplasty, the navel is repositioned in its new position. Finally, the incisions are sutured, and drains are placed to pump fluids from the affected area.
- After surgery
Regardless of the type of anesthesia applied, the patient is required to stay in the clinic for 1-2 days. After drainage removal, the patient can return home wearing a special elastic corset. Consistent use of the elastic corset for 1-1.5 months is very important, because it contributes to the healing of the abdomen and the faster recovery. At the same time, medical advice and instructions will be given for the best maintenance and cleanliness of the affected area, as well as some painkillers to minimize the pain. The outer sutures will be removed after about 1 week, while the inner ones are absorbable.
- In how many days can one return to their daily activities?
For 1 week the patient needs to rest and be very cautious with the movements he makes. Mild exercise may be beneficial in healing the affected area. The return to the workplace can be done after consultation with the personal doctor.
From the first days the change in the abdomen is noticeable and in the following months it becomes visible. The belly is now flat and gives a youthful look to the overall appearance. However, it must be accompanied by good physical exercise and a balanced diet that will allow the interested party to maintain a healthy and well-shaped body and prevent large fluctuations in body weight. Only then will the results be permanent.