Abdominoplasty is a surgical operation designed to correct the sagging abdominal wall and remove excess skin and fat layer. The operation is also designed to eliminate scars of various nature and postnatal stretch marks in the abdomen. Often after several pregnancies or as a result of rapid weight loss, the abdominal skin loses its elasticity and sagging, forming numerous folds. Abdominoplasty is usually used for correction as a last resort when weight loss as a result of a diet or exercise did not lead to the desired result.
The purpose of the abdominoplasty is to remove the excess skin in the abdomen and strengthen the abdominal wall by pulling and stitching the abdominal muscles. The operation is indicated to women after the birth of a child, not planning a further pregnancy in the future. Also, abdominoplasty is performed in men and women who, as a result of strong weight loss, stretched skin forms folds. It should be noted that abdominoplasty is not an alternative to diet and exercise. In some cases during the operation of abdominoplasty, you can perform the removal of excess fatty deposits. However, this procedure should be carried out with great care because of the high risk of complications associated with the simultaneous implementation of these two procedures.
A well-toned and flat belly is what many men and women seek. Sometimes diet and exercises cannot help to achieve these goals. Even some people with normal weight and body proportions may develop belly that is sagging and loose. The most common reasons for this are:
- Significant fluctuations in weight
- Prior surgery
At the time of surgery, the patient is recommended to reduce weight to a minimum, as further weight loss after surgery can lead to a repeated abdominal collapse. Abdominoplasty can be performed at almost any age. Nevertheless, the presence of chronic diseases can be a serious risk factor. During the very first conversation with the attending physician, in which the doctor will tell you about the course and possible complications of the operation, tell him or her all the information about your chronic illnesses, previous operations, the medications you constantly take and the presence of allergic reactions. During the consultation, the doctor will take a photo of the area of the body on which the operation is to be performed, in order to plan the course of the surgical intervention.
Before the beginning of the operation, the surgeon will mark the places of subsequent incisions on the skin. An anesthesiologist will install an intravenous catheter through which drugs for anesthesia will be injected. As a rule, abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia. However, the final decision on the type of anaesthesia (local or general) will be made by the anesthesiologist during your pre-operative meeting with him.
During surgery, the surgeon performs a transverse incision of the abdomen and a cut around the navel. The skin flap from the surface of the abdomen rises, the abdominal muscles are sewn together to strengthen the abdominal wall. In the future, the surgeon removes excess skin and re-positions the navel in the centre of the abdomen. After performing the procedure, the surgeon sews the tissues with self-absorbing seams and leaves in the inguinal region two drains (tubules coming out of the abdominal cavity outwards) serving to drain fluid from the operated area. After the abdominoplasty, a compression bandage is applied to the abdomen.
An abdominoplasty does not mean an appropriate exercise program or weight loss. Although the outcomes of a tummy tuck are permanent, the positive result can be considerably reduced by significant changes in your weight. For this understanding, women who are planning future pregnancies and individuals who are thinking about visible weight loss would be recommended to postpone this surgery. Additionally, a tummy tuck usually cannot correct stretch marks. Although they can be removed or slightly improved if they are located on the regions of excess skin that will be cut. Moreover, do not confuse abdominoplasty with liposuction. This is a completely different operation, designed to solve different problems. A tummy tuck can cope with the following negative phenomena:
- sagging of the skin due to significant weight loss;
- stretching of the skin and loss of its elasticity after the birth of a large fetus or multiple pregnancies;
- ptosis ( the sagging of the anterior abdominal wall);
- excess of the subcutaneous fat layer, which cannot be disposed of in another way;
- multiple stretch marks (striae), scars from operations and injuries;
- excess of subcutaneous fat.
What can you expect before and after abdominoplasty?
Two to three weeks before the abdominoplasty, it is necessary to stop the medications that slow the blood clotting process. If this cannot be undone, you need to consult a specialist. At the same time, it is worth starting to take vasoconstrictive drugs. Further, having received the results of the tests, the patient again visits the surgeon and also consults with the anesthesiologist. A doctor can prescribe a special diet: it will help to reduce body weight and maximally cleanse the intestines. During the month before the operation, one should abstain from alcohol and smoking. The week before abdominoplasty is to limit the use of products that promote gas generation, as well as fatty, sweet, starchy foods. For a couple of days, you should shorten the customs clearance, stop using decorative cosmetics.
After the abdominoplasty, you will be transferred to the postoperative ward for recovery after anaesthesia. You will be watched for several hours. Medical personnel will monitor the state of your consciousness, breathing, blood pressure and oxygen level, pulse rate and other indicators. After awakening from anesthesia, you will feel discomfort and tension in the abdomen. In accordance with the instructions of the anesthesiologist you will be prescribed painkillers. If the dose is insufficient, it can be increased.
After awakening from anesthesia and at the permission of an anesthetist you will be transferred to the department. When your consciousness is fully restored, you can gradually begin to drink and eat. The nurses will help you get out of bed. The operated site will look as if after a severe trauma: the skin will be bruised and stained. In a few weeks, these phenomena will disappear. However, only after a few months, it will be possible to judge the final result of the abdominoplasty. An extract from the hospital is made the next day after the operation.
The prices of abdominoplasty can change significantly for a number of great reasons. Prices change considerably because the operation itself encompasses a broad range of methods that can be done to different extents. The main factors that influence the abdominoplasty prices are:
- Training and experience of your doctor. The longest and best trained is most frequently a plastic surgeon board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
- Complexity and length of the abdominoplasty. How hard will your operation be and how long it will take and so on. Will other additional procedures be also done during the same tummy tuck surgery?
- The location. Will it be done in doctor’s office, in a hospital with an overnight stay, or in some independent outpatient facility? The geographical region also has a notable influence.
- The type of anaesthesia. Will it be general, local anaesthesia or IV sedation? Will a nurse, board-certified anesthesiologist or an RN be applied?
- The types of the abdominoplasty. There is mini tummy tuck type which improves the lower abdomen with the less extensive operation, full or classic tummy tuck which improves the lower and upper abdomen, and an extended tummy tuck surgery which improves the flanks and lower and upper abdomen.
Additionally, in each medical centre, the price for abdominoplasty is different. The cost of a surgical procedure depends on the status of the clinic, hospital prices per day, bandaging, consumables, stitches, physician qualifications and the type of operation. However, the price is generally about $3,000-$7,000 plus the price of any follow-up care or consultations that cannot be included in the total tummy tuck prices. For abdominoplasty to be successful, choose medical centres with good reviews. The main thing – do not worry!