Abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a ‘tummy tuck’, is a major surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall.
The procedure can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen. But bear in mind, it does produce a permanent scar, which, depending on the extent of the original problem and the surgery required to correct it, can extend from hip to hip. Abdominoplasty is a complex procedure with risks and a possibility of complications associated with the procedure that will be discussed during your consultation. If, for example, your fat deposits are limited to the area below the navel, you may require a less complex procedure called a partial Abdominoplasty, also known as a mini-tummy tuck.
You may benefit more from partial or complete Abdominoplasty done in combination with liposuction to remove fat deposits from the hips, for a better body contour. Or maybe liposuction alone would create the best result. In any case, your surgeon should work with you to recommend the procedure that is right for you and will come closest to producing the desired body contour. If you’re considering Abdominoplasty, the information below will give you a basic understanding of the procedure: when it can help, how it’s performed, and what results you can expect.
The best candidates for Abdominoplasty are people who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who, through multiple pregnancies, have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they can return to normal. Loss of skin elasticity in older patients, which frequently occurs with slight obesity, can also be improved.
Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight should postpone the surgery. Also, women who plan future pregnancies should wait, as vertical muscles in the abdomen that are tightened during surgery can separate again during pregnancy. If you have scarring from previous abdominal surgery, your doctor may recommend against Abdominoplasty or may caution you that scars could be unusually prominent.
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your health, determine the extent of fat deposits in your abdominal region and carefully assess your skin tone. Your surgeon will describe the procedure in detail, explaining the risks and limitations, making sure you understand the procedure as well as the scarring that will result.
Abdominoplasty procedures are performed at Centurion Day Hospital under general anaesthesia and may be combined with additional procedures. Your surgeon will give you instructions to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. We advise that you need to stop smoking two weeks before and two weeks after surgery. This will help expedite your recovery period and better healing on cellular level and to avoid unforeseen complications. After your consultation, you will be provided with a personalised quotation based on the recommendation of the surgeon. While making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days.
Abdominoplasty usually takes two hours in theatre, depending on the extent of work required. Mini Abdominoplasty may take an hour or two. Most commonly, the surgeon will make a long incision from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. With Mini Abdominoplasty, the incision is much shorter and the navel may not be moved, although it may be pulled into an unnatural shape as the skin is tightened and stitched.
Next, the surgeon separates the skin from the abdominal wall all the way up to your ribs and lifts a large skin flap to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are tightened by pulling them close together and suturing them into their new position. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline. The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then sutured in place. Finally, the incisions will be sutured, dressings will be applied, and a temporary tube is inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site. During a Mini Abdominoplasty, the skin is separated only between the incision line and the navel. This skin flap is stretched down, the excess skin is removed, and the flap is stitched back into place.
You are likely to feel tired and sore for a few days but you will be able to mobilise after surgery. For the first few days, your abdomen will probably be swollen and you’re likely to feel some pain and discomfort which can be controlled by medication. Though you may not be able to stand upright at first, you should start walking as soon as possible. You can expect to be back at work in about for three to four weeks with possible extension depending on the healing progress.
A small drain tube will be inserted to drain off blood and fluids for seven days. Removal of the drain tube will be during your first follow-up, usually seven days after surgery. It might be that there is still too much fluids draining which means the drain tube will have to stay in longer. Should this be the case you will be guided by the sister on how to proceed. Your last follow-up appointment will be at six weeks unless additional arrangements have been made by the sister or surgeon. An abdominal binder will be provided and fitted on the day of discharge for support and comfort and should be worn for six weeks after surgery during day and night. Wear the abdominal binder over a t-shirt to avoid contact with your skin. The band should only fit firmly and must not be too tight, as this could cause healing complications.
It is important to remember that abdominoplasty scars are extensive and permanent. They often remain lumpy and red for months, then gradually become less obvious. You will see results of your abdominoplasty straight away however it may take two to three months for the final results to develop.
Centurion Cosmetic Clinic, understand that getting a plastic surgery procedure is one of your biggest life decisions. It takes time, planning, and resources. We want you to know that our Plastic Reconstructive Surgeons, Dr Paul Pienaar or Dr Liana Volkwyn and the Centurion Cosmetic Clinic team are here to help you every step of the way.
FREE PHONE CONSULTATION
Contact us for free phone consultation with one of our knowledgeable surgical consultants who are trained by our Plastic Reconstructive Surgeons. They will answer many of your questions, provide you with additional information on procedures of your interest and pro-forma quotations. You can decide if you are ready for your consultation with one of our Plastic Reconstructive Surgeons.
Consultation with Dr Paul Pienaar or Dr Liana Volkwyn
Meet your Plastic Reconstructive Surgeon during your one-on-one consultation. During the consultation the surgeon will discuss the procedure, preparations, after care and answer all additional questions. You will be provided with a personalised quotation after your consultation. The consultation fee is R 900.
Preparations & Surgery Day
After you reserve your surgery date, Centurion Cosmetic Clinic will need a 30 % deposit to secure your theatre booking at the Centurion Day Hospital. The surgeon and the Centurion Cosmetic Clinic team will make sure you are well informed and prepared for your big day. Preparation and After care are very important parts of your plastic surgery journey.
The post-op phase is an important time. The Centurion Cosmetic Clinic team will make sure you are well informed with post-op information and will arrange your first follow up appointment on the day of your surgery. You will have to visit the Centurion Cosmetic Clinic for your first follow up appointment 7 to 10 days after surgery and then again on 6 weeks after surgery. Healing and recovering are of great importance so you can enjoy your amazing results and your improved quality of life that you have envisioned.
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