As a result of extreme weight gain/loss or past pregnancies, the abdominal skin, abdominal fat and muscles are subjected to deformation and loosening, which result in sagging problems. As the connective tissues which form the front wall of abdomen and ensure that the abdomen looks flat become torn, the muscles are distances from one another and the push effect from organs inside result in a protruding and sagging abdomen. Significant weight gain/loss also result in loosening and sagging abdomen skin. If you not only have an abdomen that has become fatty, but also muscles that have been distances from one another and skin which has lost its elasticity, it may be possible to correct these deformities by means of surgery called “abdominoplasty”. With abdominoplasty, the front wall of the abdomen is narrowed, the abdominal muscles that became loose and distanced from one another are tightened and the sagging portion of the abdominal skin is removed with the fat.
What are the steps followed in abdominoplasty?
An abdominoplasty surgery takes approximately 2-3 hours. The abdominal skin and fat between the belly button and the hairy part called pubis are removed. The tissues on top are drawn downwards, a hole is opened at the location where the belly button needs to be, the belly is taken out from here and sutured to its new location. After the surgery is completed, the incision is closed with intradermal sutures under the skin and covered with dressing. The suture line is formed in such a way as to be under the underwear. A drain is placed at the location of hairy site under the suture line so that the fluid to flow towards the abdominal wall for the first couple of days is discharged. Generally, a urinary catheter is inserted during the abdominoplasty surgery in order to be used for one day. After the patient is mobilized, the urinary catheter is withdrawn. Immediately after the abdominoplasty surgery, the patient is made to wear a customized abdominal corset.
What are the important considerations before abdominoplasty surgery?
If you are a smoker, you should not smoke for 2 weeks before and for 2 weeks after surgery. You should not be too much exposed to sun during this period. Any Vitamin E and Aspirin intake should be stopped during this period and intense dietary regimens should be avoided prior to surgery.
What is the level of discomfort potentially caused by surgical scars?
The marks due to abdominoplasty surgery can be easily concealed under the underwear. The thin and pink line will become progressively white. Using the creams and silicone strips prescribed by your doctor, you can make the scars from abdominoplasty surgery as subtle as possible.
Can liposuction be combined with abdominoplasty?
During abdominoplasty surgery, the excessive fat in the waist area may be removed using liposuction. However, performing liposuction in the upper abdominal site poses a certain risk in terms of tissue circulation. For that reason, it is a situation where the surgeon needs to take personalized decisions.
How long does it take me to return to normal life after surgery?
The abdominal site will be swollen for the first few days following abdominoplasty. Furthermore, it is also normal to feel some pain, tension and discomfort which can be overcome with medication. The drains placed during surgery are generally removed in 3-4 days. Depending on the particular surgical intervention, the patient needs to stay at the hospital for one day and rarely for two days.
The patient is mobilized on the day after surgery. The patient initially bends down while talking. This is resolved in time - approximately one week. Since the sutures used on the lower side of abdomen are absorbed, they don't need to be removed. Only the sutures used in the belly area need to be removed.
It may take a few weeks to return to normal activities again following abdominoplasty surgery. If the patient's physical condition is good and abdominal muscles are strong, this takes shorter. Exercise would have a positive effect on the recovery process, aiding in reduction of the swelling, lowering the risk of embolism and regaining the abdominal muscle tone. However, especially rigorous exercise programs that would strain the abdominal muscles are postponed by about 1-2 months, i.e. until when they can be comfortably done.
The scars due to abdominoplasty appear red for the first 3-6 months, but they fade and become less prominent over time. Naturally, it should be remembered that these scars remain under the underwear.
What are the risks of abdominoplasty surgery?
All surgical interventions involve certain risks. Every year, hundreds of abdominoplasty surgeries are successfully performed. This surgery delivers top-notch results in the hands of a plastic surgeon with experience in body contouring. On the other hand, there are anesthesia-related risks that may be seen with all surgical interventions as well as specific risks related to this surgery.
The specific risks that may be seen following abdominoplasty include wound site infection, blood or body fluid accumulation in the surgical site, embolism and poor wound healing. Wound site infection may be overcome using drainage and antibiotics. Accumulation of blood or bodily fluids on the surgical site is rarely seen on account of drains that are generally placed during surgery. However, if they occur, they are eliminated by means of a second intervention. The condition of embolism is an important complication that should especially be considered for elderly patients. This risk is generally overcome as follows: early patient mobilization after abdominoplasty surgery, use of compression socks and prescription of certain blood thinning medicines.
Poor wound healing generally results in the occurrence of significant scars. This situation may sometimes require secondary treatments in order to overcome these bad scars. The possibility for poor wound healing is higher among smokers and people with systemic diseases that disrupt wound healing (such as diabetes).