Abdominoplasty to correct the aesthetic imperfections of the tummy
Abdominoplasty is an operation that aims to help patients achieve a flat and firm abdominal area. All or some of the skin and fat located between the navel and the pubis is removed. The results can be impressive, but you must be careful during the post-operative period.
Because of repeated pregnancies or significant weight loss, the tummy area can become damaged and saggy. The skin is distended and is marked by stretch marks. The muscles lose their tone. These body changes are unsightly and sometimes embarrassing.
This is the time when people start thinking about correcting these imperfections. To correct these, there is just a possible solution: surgery. Abdominoplasty is the procedure that can be performed to correct these aesthetic imperfections of the tummy.
Specifics of the tummy tuck
Abdominoplasty is a major plastic surgery procedure and is more invasive compared to abdominal liposuction. However, the two procedures entail different surgical approaches. While liposuction can be effective in eliminating the excess fat tissue from the midline and the abdominal wall, it is only a tummy tuck that can deal with other specific imperfections such as loose abdominal muscles, saggy skin, and umbilical hernia.
Using the tummy tuck, we can correct the damaged and loose skin on the tummy and restore a better tension in the skin of the abdominal wall. This guarantees a youthful appearance for the patient.
It is very common for abdominoplasty to be combined with abdominal liposuction and also liposuction on the flanks. The combined procedures deliver much better results as they complement each other. Liposuction deals with the excess of fat, while abdominoplasty will eliminate the excess skin and strengthens the muscles. By combining these procedures, we can eliminate all aesthetic imperfections of the abdominal wall. Keep in mind that the tummy tuck alone can’t eliminate the fat deposits that can be present on the flanks or the abdominal wall. But this aspect will be better understood if you have a look at how the tummy tuck is performed.
How is the tummy tuck performed?
An incision on the pubic area allows the surgeon to detach and elevate the skin of the tummy, to cut off excess skin and then to put back tension on the muscles of the abdominal wall. Healthy skin is then draped down. The navel is repositioned if the skin sagginess is extreme, and in this case, a second incision will be performed around it. This is a tummy tuck in just a few words. However, when the procedure is performed together with liposuction, the operative plan is a bit different.
After the general anesthetic takes effect, the plastic surgeon will start with liposuction. This means that small cannulas (often no larger than 3-4 mm) are inserted into the flanks and the abdominal area through small incisions made on the skin. Back and forth movements are performed by the surgeon to dislodge the fat and turn it into liquid so it can be suctioned into the vacuum device to which the cannula is connected. Once a good result is achieved with liposuction and the plastic surgeon considers that the tummy’s dimensions have been considerably reduced, this stage is considered completed and the surgeon moves on to the next stage of the surgery. This would be the actual abdominoplasty.
To perform the surgery, the surgeon will make an incision on the suprapubic area. This incision can be as long as from one hip bone to the other or smaller, depending on the amount of skin that is estimated to be removed. Once the incision is performed, the skin and fat tissue are detached from the abdominal muscles and up to the level of the sternum. The loose abdominal muscles are brought together on the median line and strengthened with sutures to ensure a flat appearance of the tummy. The skin is then re-draped on the tummy and the incisions are sutured. The patient is then moved to the recovery room.
In some cases, the patient will also undergo fat transfer to the hips as the third stage of the procedure. In this case, the procedure is called the hourglass tummy tuck, and its aim is to help the patient get the hourglass body shape aside from correcting the aesthetic imperfections of the tummy. Fat transfer to the hips uses the fat that was collected in the first stage of the procedure with liposuction which is also processed and purified. A complex centrifugation process is used to eliminate the damaged fat cells and also blood and other impurities. The fat is injected with special syringes which have a small diameter, so there will be barely any scarring in the areas treated in this manner. Adding more volume to the hips will ensure better results and an enhanced shape of the body post-op.
Before the operation, there are certain tests that are mandatory for the patient, in addition to the blood tests and the visit with the anesthetist. Also, the preparation period before undergoing a tummy tuck is about one month. During this time, the patient needs to stop smoking, have a balanced and healthy eating regimen, and avoid too much coffee and alcohol. Birth control medication should be stopped a month before the procedure and taking anti-inflammatory medication needs to be avoided for two weeks prior to the surgery’s date.
After the procedure, the wearing of a compression garment and the administration of anticoagulants limit the risk of phlebitis and can also reduce the swelling that can naturally occur after this type of procedure. Keeping the compression garments for one month is essential to reduce edema. They need to be worn non-stop during this time and even for some more weeks after, but only during the day.
It is normal to expect pain and discomfort after getting an abdominoplasty. Also, keep in mind that the results, although noticeable from the first days, can take months to develop fully. The recommendation is to wait a minimum of three to six months before evaluating the results of an abdominoplasty, especially if performed with liposuction and fat transfer to the hips. The expected results are a firm and flat tummy, as well as an enhanced shape of the body with more curves in all the right places.
Is abdominoplasty a good option for you?
You can find out if you are a good candidate for the procedure only after having a proper consultation with the plastic surgeon. During the consultation, the plastic surgeon will perform a physical examination on your body to determine the condition of the skin and muscles of the abdominal wall, and also if there are other imperfections present on the midline. Generally speaking, you are a good candidate for abdominoplasty if you are in good health and emotional condition, you have realistic expectations, and are willing to wait to see the full results of the procedure. Good candidates have distended muscles and loose skin on the tummy, as well as potential fat deposits on the flanks and narrow hips. The recommendation is to avoid the procedure if you want to have more children in the future, you smoke a lot, and are not willing to quit or significantly reduce the number of cigarettes smoked per day, or you want to use this surgery to lose weight. Keep in mind that the tummy tuck is certainly not a weight loss method, and patients using it as such can end up being very disappointed with the results.
Abdominoplasty can be the optimal solution to correct the aesthetic imperfections of the tummy. The procedure can be performed as a stand-alone procedure, and during this time the surgeon will strengthen loose abdominal muscles, remove excess skin folds from the lower part of the tummy, and even correct a potential umbilical hernia. However, if the patient is also confronted with excess fat on the tummy and flanks and narrow hips, the recommended procedure might be the hourglass tummy tuck. When the hourglass tummy tuck is performed, the patient will get rid of the excess fat present on the midline, as well as correct the imperfections of the abdominal wall and get more volume for the hips with the help of fat transfer. Keep in mind that if you want to achieve the best results possible, it is always recommended to get a talented and experienced plastic surgeon to play out your procedure.