A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat on the abdominal area. The weakening of abdominal muscles and the accumulation of excess fat and skin can be seen as a result of pregnancy and fluctuations in weight.
Redundancy of abdominal skin are quite unsightly and can affect both the physical and psychological aspect of a person. In time, discolouration of the folds and sometimes skin irritation can happen. Choosing clothes that fit can even be a struggle.
Luckily, the progression of technique for abdominoplasty has paved the way for lipoabdominoplasty. Lipoabdominoplasty is simply incorporating VASER liposuction before abdominoplasty.
Since VASER liposuction selectively emulsifies fat tissues and spares other tissue like blood vessels and nerves, it is ideally done before an abdominoplasty. This combination of procedures leads to less bleeding and better result.
TYPES OF TUMMY TUCK
There are 2 different types of abdominoplasty: Full abdominoplasty and miniabdominoplasty.
A full abdominoplasty is for patients who have excess skin on the upper and lower abdomen, while miniabdominoplasty is for those with excess skin only on the lower abdomen. Miniabdominoplasty may be done with or without liposuction depending if you have excess fat on the area.
Another main difference between full and mini is the position of the navel. In full abdominoplasty, the navel is transposed and a new one is surgically created, while in miniabdominoplasty, the navel remains in the same position.
A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR TUMMY TUCK
Men and women who have normal weight presenting excess fat on the abdomen, loose abdominal muscles, or diastasis recti (a gap in the abdominal muscle that are usually seen in women after pregnancy due to the stretching of the muscle). Additionally, patients who are physically and psychologically healthy and demonstrate a realistic expectation and understanding as to the limitations of abdominoplasty. Patients who present overweight might not be selected since the problem cannot be solved adequately by surgery alone.
For patients who present loose skin only on the lower part of the abdomen (below the navel), a miniabdominoplasty might be the ideal treatment.
HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR THE LIPOABDOMINOPLASTY
A consultation and physical examination are necessary to evaluate the complaints, concerns, and expectations of the patient, including permanent scar formation. Once this has been thoroughly evaluated and discussed, patients are then able to proceed to the pre-surgery preparation which includes a blood test and anaesthesia evaluation.
You will also be given written information on how to prepare for the surgery. This includes medications that need to be taken days before the surgery and medical sponges to clean the abdominal area before the day of the scheduled operation. This pre-surgery medication and sponges is to decrease the risk of infection.
It is also important to inform the surgeon and the anaesthetist any regular medications you are taking especially long-term use of aspirin, vitamin E, fish oil, a large amount of garlic and ginger as these, can increase the risk of bleeding. You also need to report if you are smoking and will be advised to stop smoking days before the scheduled operation as smoking can impede and slows down the healing process.
WHAT HAPPENS ON THE DAY OF THE OPERATION
Fasting is mandatory for all invasive operations, abdominoplasty included. You will be asked to sign an informed consent which states your agreement to the proposed operation. Additional areas for liposuction can also be done by the surgeon but must be ideally discussed during the consultation or before the day of the operation since this will be cost-effective on the part of the patient and can add to the overall expectation and result of the operation.
A full abdominoplasty is done either under general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia with sedation and can last for 3- 3.5 hours, while mini-abdominoplasty 2- 2.5 hours. Depending on the recommendation of the surgeon and your choice, both are safely and effectively used as anaesthesia for abdominoplasty.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER THE OPERATION
Minimal pain and discomfort may be felt but this can be managed through pain relievers.
Surgical dressings will be placed on the wounds and drains will be also attached to the lower pubis area. These drains will facilitate removal of fluid from the abdomen and can help minimize swelling and complications. These drains are normally left in place for 2 days and will be removed by a nurse or surgeon when you come for a follow-up.
A compression garment is worn to minimize swelling and keep the abdomen in place. This garment should be worn for a month. You will be advised to bent a little for a few days to support the surgical wound.
Stitches will be removed in 7 days for the navel (in full abdominoplasty) and 2 weeks for the abdominal stitches.
IS THERE ANY COMPLICATIONS AFTER LIPOABDOMINOPLASTY
It is important to understand that certain risks and complications are expected for any operations.
With lipoabdominoplasty, the most common expected complications are bruises and swelling which can last for 4-6 weeks. The surgical wound will be bumpy at first but will flatten in a few months.
In some cases, seroma formation may happen. Seroma is an accumulation of lymphatic fluids in the abdomen and can be prevented through the use of drains. However, seroma can also happen even after drain removal. If this happens, seroma can be treated by aspiration (surgical removal through a syringe) under local anaesthesia.
Infection and skin irritation are also possible complications but can be prevented by strictly adhering to the surgeon’s post-operative care instructions.
GOING BACK TO DAILY ACTIVITIES
Early ambulation is necessary to improve circulation and faster healing. Some return to work after a couple of weeks while may others may take longer. Exercise can be done after a month and as tolerated.
Abdominoplasty is an effective treatment to achieve a smoother and flatter tummy. If you are prepared for a permanent scar and have realistic expectations, abdominoplasty might be the treatment of choice for you.
To book an appointment for abdominoplasty in Dubai at our LCAS Dubai Healthcare City Clinic, please contact 04-375 2393 or email gulf@LCAS.com
To book an appointment at our LCAS 15 Harley Street, London practice, please call +44 207 636 4272 or email info@LCAS.com