Surgery of the Abdomen – Abdominoplasty
An incision that extends from hipbone to hipbone is made just above the pubic area. The skin is separated from the abdominal wall, the navel is freed from the surrounding tissue and the large skin flap is lifted to gain access to the abdominal muscles. The muscles are then pulled close together to make them tight and the flap is then put back down over the abdominal wall. The new navel is created, the excess skin is trimmed and the flap is sutured into place.
- Excess skin and fat in the mid and lower abdomen.
- Protruding abdomen.
- Weakened muscles of the abdominal wall due to age or deformity from pregnancy.
A mini abdominoplasty, is a procedure in which excess skin and fat concentrated below the belly button is removed to help create an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer. Unlike a full abdominoplasty, a mini does not involve transposition of the belly button or treatment of excess skin or fat above the belly button. It is generally indicated for those who are at a stable weight and are concerned of excess skin laxity and fat accumulation of the lower abdomen. Liposuction can be combined with surgery to address excess fat accumulation above the belly button and in the area of the hips as long as the overlying skin is of good quality. The mini surgery requires an incision above the pubic hairline, with the length being determined by the degree of correction necessary. This incision is typically placed low enough to be hidden within most clothes and bathing suits. Through this incision, excess skin and fat is removed and weakened abdominal muscles are repaired if necessary. There is no scar around the belly button as there would be for a full surgery; however, the belly button may be pulled to a slightly lower position.
The actual “full” recovery period from a mini tummy tuck is up to a year and this involves a gradual softening and settling of the scar and tissues. A significant amount of the recovery occurs within 2-3 months, but it will take the external scar a year to soften and mature. The long term results should be lasting, but may be affected by significant weight gain and/or pregnancy.
What is the difference between a full and mini abdominoplasty?
A full or complete abdominoplasty involves separating the skin from the abdominal wall, freeing the navel from its surrounding tissue, and lifting the large skin flap up to gain access to the abdominal muscles. The muscles are stitched together, then the skin flap is trimmed of excess skin, and the new navel is created and stitched into place. With a partial or mini abdominoplasty, the incision is much shorter than with a full abdominoplasty since the skin is only separated between the incision line and the navel, and the muscles are tightened in a similar fashion.
Intended Result of Abdominoplasty Surgery:
- To achieve a flatter, trimmer abdomen.
- To feel better about one’s physical appearance.
- To fit into clothing better.
- To improve overall self image.
“I received a abdominoplasty in January of 2004. I highly recommend Dr. Stephen Miller. I had a gastric bypass in 2000; therefore there was much excess skin to remove. I was so pleased with the results, and the way I was treated by Dr. Miller and his staff. They were the BEST!”
— C. B.
Length of Abdominoplasty Procedure:
- An abdominoplasty takes approximately one to two hours, depending on whether it is a mini or full abdominoplasty.
- This surgery is done on an outpatient basis with general anesthesia. You will be able to rest following your surgery in the comfort of your own home.
Who are the most suitable candidates for surgery?
It is especially suitable for women who have had multiple pregnancies causing the abdominal muscles and skin to stretch. This body contouring procedure can also be appropriate for men and women who have a large fat deposit, in the abdominal area, that doesn’t respond to regular diet and exercise. Abdominoplasty produces excellent results for people with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. In most cases, the results are long lasting provided you don’t stretch out the skin with another pregnancy or excessive weight gain.
Abdominoplasty Recovery & Aftercare:
- You will be sent to a recovery aftercare center after surgery.
- Patients may experience some degree of bruising, swelling, tenderness and/or numbness.
- Drains may remain in place for about three to seven days.
- Sutures or staples will be removed in about one to two weeks.
- An abdominal binder should be worn for a few weeks for support.
- Bed rest the day of surgery is recommended.
- Limit activity for the next two days following surgery.
- Avoid strenuous activities for about four to six weeks.
- Return to work in one to three weeks.
It is important to work closely with your plastic surgeon. Be prepared to discuss your expectations and desired outcome. Make sure all of your questions and concerns are addressed. Aspirin, Motrin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and some over-the-counter herbal medications must be discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to surgery. These and other drugs and substances may cause excess bleeding and bruising. You can usually begin taking them again after a week or so. Your plastic surgeon will discuss this in detail with you and you will also be given a sheet with a list of common medicines to avoid for a short period. Your plastic surgeon will detail the risks associated with surgery.
- Liposuction may be used in conjunction with abdominoplasty surgery to remove excess fat around the sides and back to enhance the overall contour of the stomach. *Please discuss this option with plastic surgeon Stephen Miller.
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