Why Have an Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty, also commonly called a "tummy tuck", is a surgical procedure to remove excess fat and skin from the abdomen and to tighten the abdominal muscles, thus improving the shape and appearance of the abdomen.There are a number of reasons why someone may choose to have abdominoplasty. They include looseness of skin following weight loss, weak abdominal wall muscles following pregnancy, excess skin following successful treatment for obesity.
This operation is performed under general anesthesia. As the best results are obtained when the patient is the correct weight for their height, part of the preparation for the procedure may involve losing weight.
Before the operation the surgeon should explain in more detail what the procedure involves and the risk of developing complications, such as blood clots in the legs (DVT) or a chest infection. Although not a complication as such, occasionally the scar may be painful or the wound takes a long time to heal. Some numbness can be experienced in the lower part of the abdomen, but this invariably subsides over the next six to twelve months following the operation. The surgeon may draw the area of the operation on the abdomen and about an hour before the patient is taken to the operating theatre, he or she may be given a light sedative.
Preparation & Recovery
Prior to surgery you will be given many different instructions. As with most surgeries, some level of medical clearance is needed. You will be given instructions for bowel prep to prevent bowel movements post-op. Constipation can hinder the healing process, therefore a stool softener is recommended for a few weeks after surgery.
Those who smoke run a greater risk of chest infection and the healing of abdominal wounds in smokers may be slower. For patients who smoke it is advisable to cut down for a week before surgery and to stop smoking completely for three days immediately before the operation. Assumption of Aspirin or medicine containing Aspirin should be avoided for two weeks before surgery as it can reduce natural blood clotting after the operation.
After surgery, a patient will may be in the hospital for about one to four days. It is likely that after the operation the patient will awaken to find an IV drip in the arm. This is to provide with fluid while unable to eat and drink. There will also be a drainage tube inserted at each side of the lower abdomen; these are to drain any blood or watery liquid that collects from the operation site. The drains are usually removed a few days after surgery. Moderate post-operative pain can be experienced for which the patient will be given painkillers in the form of tablets or injections.
To reduce strain on the stitches the patient will be asked to keep the knees and hips bent while sleeping at night for a few days. All the stitches will dissolve beneath the skin except for those around the navel, which are removed about ten days after surgery. A compression garment needs to be worn for a minimum of 6 weeks after surgery to prevent fluid accumulation.