Abdominoplasty (Tightening of Flabby Abdomen)
Abdominoplasty, a major surgical procedure which is done for the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen, is known by many as “tummy tuck” This procedure helps in tightening of the muscles of the abdominal wall. The appearance of a protruding abdomen can get dramatically reduced by the procedure. It should be kept in mind that it produces a permanent scar which can extend from hip to hip depending on the extent of the original problem and the surgery required to correct it.
If anyone is thinking about abdominoplasty, this article will help in getting a basic idea of the procedure – when it can help, how it’s performed, and the expected results. You can’t get answers to all of your questions from here, as much depends on the individual patient and the surgeon. Please consult with your surgeon regarding anything you don’t understand.
The Best Candidates for Abdominoplasty:
Some men or women are in relatively good shape but are concerned about a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin which is nonresponsive to diet or exercise. They are the best candidates for abdominoplasty. The women, who, through multiple pregnancies, have got their abdominal muscles and skin stretched beyond the point from where they can return to normal, can get a lot of help from this surgery. It can also improve loss of skin elasticity which frequently occurs with slight obesity in older patients.
The surgery should be postponed by those patients who intend to lose a lot of weight by diet or exercise. Those women who plan future pregnancies should wait, as the abdomen’s vertical muscles which are tightened during surgery can again get separated during pregnancy. If you have any scar from previous abdominal surgery, it may be recommended by your doctor to avoid abdominoplasty or you will be made aware of the fact that scars could be unusually prominent.
Though your appearance and your self-confidence can be enhanced by abdominoplasty, your looks won’t necessarily be changed to match your ideal or other people will start to treat you differently. Think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon before you decide to have surgery.
All Surgeries carry some Uncertainty And Risk:
Every year thousands of abdominoplasties are performed successfully. If abdominoplasty is done by a qualified plastic surgeon trained in body contouring, you will generally get quite positive results. However, the surgery is not free of risks and specific complications are related with this procedure.
Complications after surgery such as infection and blood clots are rare but can occur. Drainage and antibiotics can prove effective in the treatment of infection but will prolong your hospital stay. Early ambulation soon after the surgery can minimize the risk of blood clots.
A second operation may be necessary because of poor healing, which results in prominent scars. As smoking may increase the risk of complications and delay healing, smokers should be advised to stop smoking
You must closely follow your surgeon’s instructions before and after the surgery, especially with regard to when and how you should resume physical activity, because this can reduce your risk of complications.
Planning Your Surgery:
The surgeon will make an evaluation of your health during the initial consultation. Your health will be evaluated, the extent of fat deposits in your abdominal region will be determined and your skin tone will be carefully assessed by the surgeon. Your surgeon should be informed if you have the habit of smoking. You should also tell if any medications, vitamins, or other drugs are being taken by you.
During discussion of your expectations with your surgeon, be frank. The surgeon should also frankly describe your alternatives and the risks and limitations of each.
Suppose your fat deposits are limited to the area below the navel. In that case a less complex procedure called a partial abdominoplasty, also known as a mini-tummy tuck, may be sufficient for you. This can often be performed on an outpatient basis. Partial or complete abdominoplasty done in conjunction with liposuction to remove fat deposits from the hips, for a better body contour, may prove to be more beneficial for you. You may also get the best result from liposuction itself.
Whatever may be the case, your surgeon should work with you to recommend the right procedure for you which will come closest to produce the desired body contour.
Your surgeon should also explain some other things during the consultation, such as the anesthesia he or she will use, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, and the costs involved. The cost of abdominoplasty is not covered by health insurance policies in most cases, but to be sure, you should check your policy.
Preparing For Your Surgery:
Specific instructions on various topics will be given to you by your surgeon. These are how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins, and medications.
If you have the habit of smoking, plan to quit at least one to two weeks before your surgery. Keep in mind not to resume for at least two weeks after your surgery. You must be careful to not to go on a stringent diet and also avoid overexposure to the sun before surgery, especially to your abdomen, as both can inhibit your ability to heal. Your surgery will probably be postponed if you develop a cold or infection of any kind.
Types of Anesthesia:
General anesthesia may be selected by your doctor and this will make you sleep through the operation.
Local anesthesia, combined with a sedative is used by other surgeons to make you drowsy. Your abdominal region will be insensitive to pain and you’ll be awake but relaxed. (Nevertheless, you may have a feeling of some tugging or occasional discomfort.) This is possible only for liposuction of the abdomen.
Depending on the extent of work required, the duration of complete abdominoplasty is usually two to five hours. It may take an hour or two for partial abdominoplasty.
A long incision from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area, is normally made by the surgeon. To free the navel from surrounding tissue, a second incision is made. The navel may not be moved and the incision is also much shorter in the case of partial abdominoplasty. However, as the skin is tightened and stitched, the navel may be pulled into an unnatural shape.
In the next step, the skin from the abdominal wall all the way up to your ribs is seperated by the surgeon. Then a large skin flap is lifted to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are pulled together closely and they stitched into their new position. In this way they are tightened which provides a firmer abdominal wall and a narrow waistline.
The surgeon then pulls down the skin flap and removes the extra skin. After that, the surgeon cuts a new hole for the navel and it is then stitched in place. Finally, the surgeon will stitch the incisions, apply dressings and insert a temporary tube to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.
In partial abdominoplasty, the surgeon separates the skin only between the incision line and the navel. He or she then stretches down the skin flap, removes the excess portion and stitches the flap back into place.
After Your Surgery:
Probably there will be swelling in your abdomen and you may feel some pain and discomfort for the first few days which can be controlled by medication. On the basis of the extent of the surgery, the hospital may release you within a few hours or you may have to remain in the hospital for two to three days.
Within seven days the surface stitches will be removed and deeper sutures, with ends that protrude through the skin, will come out in two to three weeks. A support garment may be used to replace the dressing on your incision
Getting Back To Normal:
You may have to wait for weeks or months to feel like your old self again. Recovery from abdominoplasty will be much faster if you start out in top physical condition with strong abdominal muscles. It may take two weeks for some people to return to work whereas it takes three or four weeks for others to rest and recuperate.
Exercise will help you a lot in your healing process. Even people who have never exercised before should begin an exercise program To reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone the muscles those who have never exercised before should also begin an exercise program. You should avoid vigorous exercise until you can do it comfortably.
Your scars may actually appear to worsen during the first three to six months as they heal, but this is normal. It will take an expected period of nine months to a year before your scars flatten out and lighten in color. Abdominal scars will not show under most clothing, even under bathing suits though they’ll never disappear completely.
Your New Look:
For patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin, both partial and complete abdominoplasty produces excellent results. If you follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly, the results are long lasting in most of the cases.
Abdominoplasty may be just the answer for you if you’re realistic in your expectations and prepared for the consequences of a permanent scar and a lengthy recovery period.