A flat and tight belly is essential for a healthy posture and a beautiful appearance. However, the belly and waist are among the parts of the body in which fat accumulation occurs most frequently in most of the people. With abdominoplasty, also called ‘tummy tuck’; the abdominal region can regain its healthy look, which rounds and loses its firmness due to abdominal fat accumulation related to anatomical factors, due to loose skin after weight changes, post-pregnancy stretch marks and loose abdominal muscles.
What is abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is a plastic surgery intervention in which excessive skin and the accumulated fat are removed from the middle and lower abdomen, and abdominal wall muscles are tightened. This procedure makes a striking difference in the look of a rounding belly.
Who is the best candidate for abdominoplasty?
The appropriate candidates for abdominoplasty are those male and female patients who cannot lose the huge fat accumulation in the abdominal skin or tighten the loosened abdominal skin with diets or physical exercise. Abdominoplasty is of great help especially for those female patients whose abdominal muscles and skin have loosened due to multiple pregnancies to such an extent that they cannot regain their previous look. Abdominoplasty can also be of great help in the case of skin elasticity loss that is frequently encountered with old age due to mild fatness.
What kind of a procedure is abdominoplasty?
In abdominoplasty, an incision is made from one thighbone to the other just above the pubic area. A second incision is made in order to free the navel from the surrounding tissues. Then a portion of the abdominal skin is detached from the abdominal wall thereby a layer of skin is lifted so the vertical abdominal muscles are revealed. These muscles are stretched towards each other and tightened by fastening them like a corset. In this way, abdominal wall gets firm and the perimeter of the waist is decreased.
After this procedure, the skin layer is stretched down and the excess skin is trimmed. A new hole is created for the belly button and then your navel is secured at this point with sutures. Finally, internal sutures are made on the incisions, a surgical dressing is applied and a tube (drainage) may temporarily be placed in order to drain the excess fluid collected in the surgical site.
In order to achieve a better body contour, liposuction can be performed in combination with abdominoplasty to remove the fat accumulation in the hips.
What is complete abdominoplasty and what is partial abdominoplasty?
If the fatty region is limited with the lower navel region, a less extensive operation called partial abdominoplasty (or mini abdominoplasty) can be adequate, in which case you won’t need to stay overnight in the hospital. In partial abdominoplasty, the incision is quite shorter and the navel may not be slid. In partial abdominoplasty, the surgeon detaches only the skin between the incision line and the navel. This skin layer is stretched down, the excess skin is trimmed, and then the skin is secured in place with sutures.
Can abdominoplasty be performed with no scars?
Abdominoplasty can be performed endoscopically by making a small incision in the lower abdominal region or by using a cesarean incision made before. Endoscopic abdominal lifting is performed in such cases when no abdominal skin will be removed. In this procedure, endoscope is inserted inside the abdomen, and the rounding of the belly is reduced by repairing the loose muscles.
How should I get prepared for abdominoplasty?
If you’re a smoker, you must stop smoking at least 1-2 weeks before and at least 2 weeks after surgery. If you are taking anticoagulant medicines such as aspirin, you should inform us and discontinue the medicine.
It would be appropriate to keep a pre-operative diet which relaxes your intestines.
Do not expose especially your belly region to sunlight and do not keep a strict diet as both of these situations may decelerate your recovery process. In case of catching cold or infections, the surgical operation will be postponed.
Is it necessary to keep a diet or to exercise before abdominoplasty?
As stated before, we do not recommend a strict diet as this will decelerate the recovery process after the surgery.
Where is abdominoplasty performed, and will I be anesthetized?
Abdominoplasty is performed in a fully equipped hospital under general anesthesia.
How long does the operation take?
Abdominoplasty takes 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the scope of the operation. Partial abdominoplasty takes about 1 hour.
How long should I stay in the hospital after the operation?
In mini (partial) abdominoplasty, you may go home a few hours after the procedure, or you may need to stay in the hospital for one or two days.
In general, our patients spend 1 or 2 days after the surgical operation in the hospital.
Will I have pain after the operation?
For the first few days, you may experience swelling, pain and discomfort in the abdomen. But these complaints can be controlled by medicines.
What should I do after the operation?
Initially, you should take care not to stand upright in order to secure the integrity of the sutures in the abdomen. However, you should start walking as soon as possible after the procedure.
Exercise accelerates the recovery process. Even those people with no exercise history should start an exercise program in order to minimize swelling, reduce the risk of clotting and tighten the muscles. On the other hand, you should avoid hard exercises until the day you can do them with no difficulty.
It is necessary to wear a corset after the operation in order to minimize swelling. Besides, anti-embolism stockings are applied immediately after the operation when necessary.
How long will it take for me to recover after the operation?
Since only subcuticular sutures are made, you will not have to have your stitches removed. A supportive garment can be used instead of a dressing on the incision.
It may take weeks for you to feel as before. If your physical condition is well and your abdominal muscles are strong initially, you will recover much faster. Patients may go back to work in 7-10 days while some patients need to take a rest for 2-3 weeks.
Operation scars may seem to be worsening for the first 3-6 months but this is a normal situation. Please note that it may take 9-12 months for the scars to flatten and fade. Although they will never disappear totally, the scars on the abdomen, that is, operation scars, are not visible under most of the clothing (even with swimming suits).
How will my appearance change after the operation?
Whether partial or complete, abdominoplasty achieves perfect results with the people who have weakened abdominal muscles or extremely drooping skin.
What kinds of adverse situations may I experience after the operation?
As in any kind of surgical operation, abdominoplasty has some risks. The most frightening complication is pulmonary embolism. This complication is more frequently observed especially with those patients who are overweight, old or who have diabetes.
Although observed rarely, complications such as nonhealing scars or skin loss may occur after abdominoplasty. Especially smokers and obese people suffer such situations more often. If the abdomen is overstretched with the operation, delayed scar healing or heavy and persistent scar marks may occur. In this case, such scars can be refined by a minor operation performed after a year.
Fluid may accumulate under the skin in a few weeks after abdominoplasty. This fluid can be aspirated by an injector.
Will the look I gain with abdominoplasty disappear in time?
The answer to this question kind of depends on you. After all, frequent weight changes or new pregnancies will lead to the same problems with the reformed abdominal muscles. Otherwise, the positive effects of the operation will last a long period of time with a balanced diet and regular exercise.