Abdominoplasty – Abdomen Surgery
Abdominoplasty is surgery of the abdominal wall. It is a procedure whereby excess skin and fat is removed from the abdominal areas. If necessary, abdominal wall muscles can also be tightened. This plastic surgery is sought out especially by female patients after several pregnancies and also by people who have lost a lot of weight and whose tissue has become flabby or has lost its elasticity after slimming. You should understand that abdominoplasty is not a treatment for obesity.
An abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia, which means that artificial sleep is induced in the patient with the aid of medication. The patient must undergo a pre-operative assessment during which the anaesthesiologist and surgeon will check whether his/her body can manage the procedure. You can undergo this assessment at your GP’s and internist’s office or at the plastic surgery clinic. The assessment includes a blood and urine test, an EKG, lung auscultation, physical examinations and any other tests that your physician might recommend. An X-ray of the lungs is required by the anaesthesiologist for older patients. Each plastic surgery clinic has its own anaesthesiologist who will ask you several questions about the state of your health before the operation and who will explain to you once again what general anaesthesia involves.
Normally, the procedure takes 2 to 3 hours, but longer surgery cannot be ruled out. The first incision, i.e. cut in the skin is made across the lower abdomen, from hip bone to hip bone. Skin is detached from the subcutaneous tissue and abdominal muscles upwards, in the direction of the ribs. Excess skin is removed. The surgery may involve stitching of the rectus abdominis muscles and a liposuction. At the end, skin is stitched with absorbable sutures in the area where the primary skin incision was made, on the lower abdomen. The resulting scar is easy to mask with underwear or a swimsuit. After surgery, excess fluid is drained from the abdominal wall. These drains – plastic tubes – are removed on the second or third day after surgery. They serve to prevent swelling and bruising.
Complete abdominoplasty may not be required in every case. Sometimes, a modified procedure will suffice. This is referred to as mini-abdominoplasty. We distinguish two types: upper (from the umbilicus-belly button- up) and lower (from the umbilicus down). In the case of the lower type, the scar runs across the lower abdomen, as in the case of a complete abdominoplasty. Only the area from the belly-button down is operated on, as the area above the belly button is firm enough. In the case of upper mini-abdominoplasty, the incision runs along the inframammary fold and only the part of the abdomen above the belly-button is operated on. The objective is to tighten the space between the muscles by stitching them together, to remove fat and reduce skin folds.
The patient stays at the clinic for 2 to 3 days. During his/her stay, the patient receives full attention and care from both the physician and the nurses. The patient is then discharged home and checked on an out-patient basis for the next 14-21 days. The patient must stay in bed for the first 7 to 10 days. If absorbable stitches have not been used, stitches are removed approximately 14 days after surgery. It is recommended that patients who have had an abdominoplasty do not sit for 4 weeks, or do so only with their chest erect. Slight exercise is recommended only after 4 weeks and more strenuous exercise is possible 6 weeks after surgery. Increased sensitivity in the area of the abdomen is absolutely normal. If the rectus abdominis muscles were stitched together, any greater strain will only be possible after three months. As for medication, painkillers are recommended to patients.
First Visible Effects
The first effects are visible immediately.