General Information

Abdominal lifting or abdominoplasty is the general name of the surgical procedure to correct a prominent or loose, saggy abdomen. The regions to be treated may include the middle of the abdomen or may extend from the lower rib cage to the pubic bone, even from the sides to the back.

Abdominal contouring can be accomplished using a variety of techniques. If the cause is localized fat, abdominal contour surgery can only be performed using liposuction techniques. If excess fat is combined with loose, sagging skin and tissue, abdominoplasty removes unwanted fat, tissues and skin by excision. The weakened or separated abdominal muscles called diastasis can also be corrected by an abdominoplasty.

Abdominoplasty does not replace an appropriate exercise program. Although the results of abdominoplasty are technically permanent, the positive results can be greatly reduced by significant fluctuations in weight. For this reason, it is recommended that people who plan to lose a large amount of weight, or women who plan to become pregnant in the future, should postpone abdominoplasty to a later date.

Who Can Have Abdominoplasty Operation?

  • Healthy individuals who do not have life-threatening diseases or medical conditions that may prevent healing,
  • Non-smokers,
  • Individuals with a positive perspective and specific goals in mind to improve their body image.
  • Previous abdominal operations may limit the possible results of abdominoplasty. In women who have had a caesarean section, new incisions can be added or advanced on existing scars.

 

Where To Start?

A consultation with your plastic surgeon is the first step to learn how abdominal contour surgery or abdominoplasty will improve your body image and abdominal contours. The consultation is designed to fully educate you in a pressure-free environment about abdominoplasty and includes the following:

  • Discussing your goals and assessing your situation
  • Options available in abdominoplasty surgery
  • Possible consequences and risks or possible complications of abdominoplasty
  • The treatment recommended by your plastic surgeon
  • Your plastic surgeon will also answer your questions.

 

Assessment

General health and personal perspective can greatly influence the results of abdominoplasty surgery. These will be carefully evaluated during your consultation with your plastic surgeon. The success of your procedure, security and overall satisfaction depend on your ability to:

  • To share your expectations honestly
  • To fully explain your health history, medications you use, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, smoking and drug use
  • Understand the consequences of the surgery you decide to have
  • To strictly follow all instructions of your plastic surgeon.

 

Procedure

Your abdominoplasty procedure will be determined according to your particular situation, which may include:

  • Excess fat collected in the abdomen
  • Instructions and medications on the day of surgery

 

Weakened or separated abdominal muscles due to pregnancy, weight loss or ageing

One or all of these conditions may be present and can be corrected surgically by abdominoplasty. Abdominoplasty does not correct stretch marks, but can be removed or slightly corrected if they are located in areas of excess skin to be removed, especially in areas under the navel.

Surgical removal of excess fat and skin can be combined with a liposuction procedure during abdominoplasty. There are various types of abdominoplasty; the technique chosen depends on the degree of correction needed to achieve a flatter profile and a tighter, firmer stomach. The length and appearance of the incision depends on the amount and location of the excess skin to be removed, as well as on personal preferences and surgical considerations.

In addition to abdominoplasty, liposuction can also be applied to take up localized excess fat deposits to shape other parts of the body. Other body contouring procedures may be performed separately or in the same surgical procedure as abdominoplasty. However, not all patients are eligible for combined surgeries. Your situation should be considered as appropriate for you.

A complete abdominoplasty requires a horizontal incision in the area between the pubic hairline and the umbilicus. The shape and length of the cut depend on the degree of correction required. Through this incision, the weakened abdominal muscles are repaired and excess fat, skin and tissues are removed. A second incision around the navel may be required to remove excess fat from the upper abdomen.

The size of the incision depends largely on the amount of excess skin to be taken. If the correction focuses only on the area under the navel, a limited or mini-abdominal lifting with a shorter incision in the pubic bone may be recommended. Liposuction can be accomplished with a mini-abdominal lifting and in cases where excess fat is the only factor, liposuction alone can produce the desired results.

Abdominoplasty results almost immediately with a smoother, tighter abdominal line proportional to your body type and weight. The final results may be unnoticed at first because of swelling and not standing up straight until the internal healing occurs. Within a week or two, you can start to stand up straight and gain confidence with your new, thinner profile.

Preparing For The Surgery

Your plastic surgeon will carefully explain your abdominoplasty procedure. Prior to surgery, you will be given special instructions, including the following:

  • Preoperative procedures, diagnostic tests and medications
  • Instructions and medications on the day of surgery
  • Specific information on the use of anaesthesia
  • Postoperative care and follow-up

In addition, you will be asked to sign a consent form to assure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo with your plastic surgeon and the possible risks and complications.

Possible risks of abdominoplasty include blood clots, hematoma under the skin, accumulation of fluid, infection or poor healing of incision sites. All surgeries involve risks associated with anaesthesia. These and additional risks will be disclosed before your approval.

It is important to answer all your questions and it is natural that you are excited about surgery. Discuss these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

What To Expect?

Abdominoplasty surgery, Breast reduction surgery will be performed by your plastic surgeon in the operating room conditions within a hospital. The type of anaesthesia will depend on the circumstances of your particular procedure and the preference of the patient and surgeon.

Your plastic surgeon and assistant staff will do their best to ensure your comfort and safety.

Following The Surgery

Once your procedure is complete, your incisions may be dressed or bandaged and wrapped with an elastic bandage or collecting garment to minimize swelling and support your abdomen as you recover. Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to absorb excess blood that may be accumulated. Before you are discharged, you and your accompanying family member, friend or carer will be given special instructions, including the following:

  • How to take care of surgical area and drains
  • Medications to be administered or taken orally to help heal and reduce the risk of infection
  • Specific changes in the surgical area or general health
  • When to check with your plastic surgeon for examination
 

Development and Recovery

In the initial healing phase, there will be swelling at the incision areas. Discomfort is common and can be controlled by medication. You will be asked to start walking gently as soon as possible to minimize the risk of blood clots and other complications.

You will be asked to avoid bending, forcing yourself or carrying goods for several days. In the case of abdominal or buttock tightening, your plastic surgeon may advise you to avoid standing upright, and may ask you not to force the healing internal sutures and put a pillow under your knees while you sleep. Follow all instructions carefully; this is necessary for the success of the operation. When you feel ready, it is possible to return to your mild, normal activities, usually within a couple of days after surgery.

Initial wound healing may take 5 to 10 days; if necessary, suturing will be removed during this time. In a few weeks you can now return to work and normal activities, unless they involve lifting heavy items or over exercising.

The healing lasts for several weeks, during which swelling is reduced and the incision lines continue to get better. You should not be exposed to the sun until the healing process is complete. Continue to follow the instructions of your plastic surgeon and go to the controls as scheduled.

Results and Appearance

The results of abdominoplasty are noticeable almost immediately; however, it may take several months for the final results to fully emerge. The feeling of numbness and stiffness on the surface of the skin disappears over time. It may take a year or more for thinning of the incision marks and a slight fading to occur. Although permanent, these lines can be concealed with most clothes and swimsuits.

Your new profile with a tight and flat stomach is long-term, provided you maintain a stable weight and overall health. As your body gets older, it is normal for you to have a little loss of firmness in your stomach. However, this is minimal when compared with your first condition which was corrected to get your new toned stomach.