Most people want their abdominal skin to be firm and taut, especially as summer approaches. However, sometimes a healthy diet and regular abdominal muscle exercises alone are not enough to get rid of excess fat and skin on the abdomen. If a person is worried about this problem, abdominoplasty may be the right choice. It is a surgical procedure during which excess, low-quality skin is removed, the skin is tightened, excess fat is removed, and the muscles of the front abdominal wall are strengthened.
Abdominoplasty for women and men
Abdominal plastic surgery is most often used by women who have stretched abdominal muscles and skin after pregnancy, people who have lost excess weight, but the skin has remained sagging, and clients with a protruding abdomen that does not disappear neither when following a diet nor doing sports. Certainly, the operation is also performed in men, whose typical obesity (apple type) is associated with an increase in the fat layer of the skin, and weakness of the abdominal wall muscles.
The average age to start thinking about abdominoplasty is 30-40 years. If you are over 40 and the symptoms mentioned above cause you moral discomfort and physical suffering, abdominoplasty may be the only right decision.
Before abdominal plastic surgery
your doctor will definitely collect information about the client's general health, medications taken, etc. Smoking should be reduced to a minimum or preferably stopped at least 4-6 weeks before surgery, as smoking prolongs the healing and recovery process. Blood thinners such as aspirin should not be taken before surgery. Your doctor will also make recommendations to improve your diet and lifestyle so that the outcome of the operation is as successful as possible and lasts as long as possible.
Two types of surgery
There are two types of abdominal surgery – full abdominal plastic surgery and mini abdominoplasty. Full abdominal plastic surgery is performed when the problem zones are located both below and above the navel. In this case, all low-quality skin from the navel to the pubic area is removed. However, the skin, which is elastic above the navel, can be pulled over the entire abdomen like an elastic top. The typical question patients ask is – where does the navel go? It is first released and then positioned in its place in the new skin. Thus, the skin pocket and wrinkles are eliminated, and the result is a perfectly smooth, straight abdomen.
During mini abdominoplasty, only the area under the navel is fixed – removing loose skin, excess adipose tissue, stretch marks. The navel is not transplanted during this type of surgery. The muscles are tightened just below the navel and in some cases a few centimetres above it. Sometimes this surgery is combined with liposuction or liposculpture.
The average duration of the surgery is 1–3.5 hours – it depends on the complexity of the surgery to be performed and the size of the area subject to correction. It is an inpatient procedure and usually is performed under general anaesthesia.
When deciding which type of surgery to recommend to a patient, the surgeon considers general health condition, skin quality, fat layer thickness, and abdominal muscle condition.
After abdominal plastic surgery
the upper sutures are removed after about a week or more, the deeper sutures come out after a few weeks. Wounds must be protected from moisture. Support underwear must be worn during the recovery period. Depending on the type of workload, it is recommended to return to work no sooner than after 1–2 weeks. Swelling, short-term pain and insensitivity may be observed after surgery. Sports and other strenuous activities can be started in six weeks, on the other hand, light workouts contribute to recovery. Sunbathing and saunas should be avoided during the recovery period.
There’s no surgery without scars
In abdominal plastic surgery, the incisions are made horizontally depending on the individual characteristics of the abdomen. In case of full abdominal plastic surgery, when the navel is transplanted and the area above the navel is fixed, the suture is quite long – like a caesarean scar, it goes along the pubic hair, extending to the hip bones. Although the suture is long, it completely "fits" into the underwear area, which means that two-piece swimsuits, jeans with a lower waist and thongs can be worn safely, but the scar is visible on the naked body. Like any scar, it turns pink in the first postoperative period, gradually becoming white during one year, when it can be safely tanned, thus making it less noticeable. In case of lower abdominal correction or mini abdominoplasty only, the scar is relatively small. It should be noted that during abdominal plastic surgery it is also possible to get rid of scars from other surgeries, if they are located in the area under the navel.
The result in tandem
This procedure can significantly change and improve the patient's appearance and thus boost self-confidence, but it is not a method to get rid of excess weight. Abdominoplasty does not cure obesity. Before going for the surgery, the causes of obesity should be found out and all methods of weight reduction should be used. One should be aware that wounds are healing better if the fat layer is thinner. It is most important to evaluate the fat layer in the area above the navel (the fat under the navel is removed with the skin during the surgery). If, when touching this area of the body, the client feels that it is thick and full under the skin, the result of the surgery will not be perfect. This area of skin is needed to cover the abdomen but using a thick and fatty skin layer results in a small but round abdomen. A certain amount of effort is necessary to achieve a perfect result. Therefore, an individual plan should be developed for women who are obese – they should first consult a nutritionist and undergo procedures designed to get a thinner layer of skin above the navel. Often abdominal plastic surgery is combined with liposuction; this combination allows to form a beautiful waist area, to remove fat along the ends of the ribs, sides, hips, but the part that adheres to the layer of the skin that will be pulled down cannot be removed. It means that not every woman can undergo the surgery at once, sometimes it is necessary to make an effort to get a perfectly smooth abdomen.
The result lasts for a long time if the client maintains stable body weight. Plastic abdominal surgery should be postponed if the woman is planning another pregnancy. Implants or any other aids are not used in abdominal correction – only excess skin is removed, and the slipped muscles are positioned in the anatomically correct place, using the patient's own good part of the skin and the patient's muscles. If another baby is planned, the process is likely to be repeated, as the client might have discreetly inelastic skin and the muscles might tend to tear apart from each other. A small woman with a large first baby is quite likely to have skin ruptures in her second pregnancy. This is not an absolute rule, of course, but the probability is quite high, so it is wiser to give birth to the planned babies and only then to fix the abdomen. It must be admitted that if pregnancy occurs after abdominal plastic surgery, physiological scars will not interfere with pregnancy and childbirth at all, because during abdominal plastic surgery the surgeon does not work deeper than the muscle layer, i.e. no internal organs are affected, only the anterior abdominal anatomy is restored.
For your information!
- Deformed abdomen can cause functional gastrointestinal disorders, as well as cardiovascular, respiratory, and other organ disorders. Therefore, abdominoplasty can be considered as both functional and aesthetic surgery.
- Women and men have different abdominal shapes. In women, fat is mainly deposited under the skin, but abdominal deformity occurs due to fat deposition and skin stretching.
- Each person has target areas, where excess adipose tissue is accumulated. Women gain weight according to the pear body type, while men – to the apple body type, basically in the abdominal area and very rarely in the hips.