An abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that removes extra fat and skin from the middle and lower abdomen. The muscles in the abdominal wall can also be tightened during surgery and an abdominoplasty is generally performed for cosmetic reasons. Abdominoplasties are also often referred to as tummy tucks.
People generally consider an abdominoplasty when they find that their abdominal muscles are weak and there is excess skin and stubborn fat in the stomach area. This can often be caused by pregnancy or excessive weight loss.
Prior to an abdominoplasty, patients will have a consultation with their surgeon. They may be asked to lose weight or stop smoking to aid the process. The use of painkillers or the contraceptive pill is also likely to be discussed in reference to the abdominoplasty.
During an abdominoplasty an incision is made in the abdomen, usually from hip to hip, and the damaged abdominal muscles are repaired. A tightening of the muscles can also be achieved, usually with permanent sutures. All loose excess skin and fatty tissue is also removed through the incision. The scars from abdominoplasty procedures are typically along the bikini line and can be concealed with underwear.
As a surgical procedure, patients are given a general anaesthetic before the operation takes place. An abdominoplasty typically takes around two hours and the patient requires an overnight stay in hospital.
Recovery time for abdominoplasty operations
Recovery after an abdominoplasty can take up to 6 weeks. Following a short stay in hospital, abdominoplasty patients are normally able to return to work after 2 weeks. However, a period of rest is required after the operation, and patients are advised to be careful not to put a strain on their lower abdomen, especially in the first week following an abdominoplasty.
Post-operative care is also important, and patients will need to attend after care appointments so that the success of the procedure can be assessed and checked by a cosmetic surgeon.
Abdominoplasty procedures are sometimes combined with liposuction.