Diet and exercise can reduce the thickness of the fat layer and strengthen the abdominal muscle, however diet and exercise cannot change your relative shape or tighten a stretched out muscle layer.
Abdominoplasty is individualized for each patient. A standard abdominoplasty includes removal of the excess skin and fat between the umbilicus and the pubic hair, liposuction of fat bulges in areas outside the area of skin removal, and tightening of the muscle layer.
When good skin tone does not permit removal of all skin between the umbilicus and the pubic hair, a modified abdominoplasty or mini tummy tuck is performed. You can estimate how much skin can be removed by pinching together the excess roll of skin while in a sitting position.
Patients who have skin rolls from massive weight loss which extend into the back, may require a circumferential removal of excess skin and fat. This is called a lower body lift or belt lipectomy.
Scars can be designed to be covered by most swim wear or underwear.
If the muscle layer is tightened, strenuous activity is restricted 4 – 6 weeks. If the muscle layer is not tightened the recovery is reduced by half.
Abdominoplasties are performed under general anesthesia in the hospital operating room. Some patients require over-night hospitalization.
Drains are placed under the skin to prevent fluid accumulation under the skin. They are removed when the drainage is less than 1 ounce per day, approximately two weeks after surgery.
Dressings are held in place with an abdominal binder.
Abdominoplasty does not prevent future weight gain, but will result in having a proportionately smaller abdomen at all weights.
Smokers have a higher risk of prolonged wound healing complications.
Pneumonia and leg vein blood clots, although uncommon, occur more often following abdominoplasty surgery compared to other cosmetic surgery. Combining liposuction of the lower extremities with an abdominoplasty has additive risk of blood clots.
An average abdominoplasty requires three hours of operating time and a half day of recovery in the hospital.
Out of area patients should consider returning to my office at least 4 times for post-op care.