In patients who have lost weight or post pregnancy, as a result of stretching, loose skin accumulates in the lower abdomen. Despite exercise and dieting the excess loose skin will remain. This is not only unattractive but also can be restrictive in clothing and a significant obstacle in regaining confidence. Abdominoplasty is designed to remove this excess skin, tighten the underlying musculature and to tighten the whole abdomen.
The operation is performed through a horizontal incision which is hidden within the bikini area. In mini-abdominoplasty only excess skin in the lower abdomen is removed. In a full abdominoplasty the umbilicus is re-positioned and the whole abdomen is tightened. Liposuction can be combined with abdominoplasty to improve the appearance of the waist.
In a mini abdominplasty only the lower part of the abdomen is tightened. The umbilicus (belly button) is not moved and no skin above the naval is tightened. In a full abdominoplasty all the skin between the naval and the pubic area is removed thus tightening the whole abdomen as well as the muscles underneath. The belly button will need to be detached and brought through the tight abdomen.
Limited liposuction can be performed when combined with a full abdominoplasty. This will be confined to the sides (love handles) and central part of the abdomen. Liposuction in the remaining part of the abdomen is avoided as this can interfere with the blood supply and healing.
With mini-abdominoplasty liposuction can be performed to the whole abdomen at the same time.
A general anesthetic is necessary for abdomninoplasty.
An incision is made above the pubic area within the bikini line. The skin and fat of the abdomen are then lifted away from the abdominal muscles all the way to the level of the rib cage, preserving the umbilicus (naval) attachment to the abdomen. The abdominal muscles are then tightened with sutures. The abdominal flap is then pulled down and excess skin and fat are removed. A small incision is carried out centrally through which the umbilicus is retrieved and sutured.
Following an abdominoplasty you will stay in hospital between 1 and 2 nights.
Some pain is experienced following an abdominoplasty which is primarily noticed on movement. With adequate pain killers most patients are able to mobilize the day after surgery. Most of the discomfort subsides after one week.
A surgical garment will be provided after surgery which should be worn for 4 weeks to limit the swelling. You will be encouraged to gently mobilize the day after the operation. For the first few days it is better to walk slightly bent forwards to ease the tension on the suture line.
All activities should be gentle for the first 2 weeks. Although you are encouraged to walk to help the circulation during this period you will need to avoid sudden movements, lifting and fast pace walking as well as driving. More strenuous activities such as jogging and heavy lifting should be avoided for 6 weeks.
- General Anaesthetic (2-3 hours)
- Hospital stay: 1-2 nights
- Elastic abdominal binder for 4-6 weeks
- Time off work: minimum 2 weeks
- Avoid driving: minimum 2 weeks
- Avoid sport / heavy activities: 4-6 weeks