What is an abdominoplasty?
An abdominoplasty (or ‘tummy tuck’) is a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of your abdominal area. It may involve removing excess loose skin, fat and subcutaneous tissue and tightening of the abdominal muscles.
It is common for the skin of the abdomen not to fully shrink back to its original state after pregnancy or losing a lot of weight. You are most likely to benefit from an abdominoplasty if you feel self-conscious about what your abdomen looks like.You should let your surgeon know if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant in the near future. Pregnancy can change the appearance of your abdomen and may affect the long-term results of surgery.
The benefits of this cosmetic procedure:
The aim of the abdominoplasty is to make your abdomen firmer and to remove excess skin to produce a better shape. Most people who have a successful abdominoplasty are more comfortable with their appearance, are able to wear more revealing clothing and feel more self-confident.
An overview of the procedure:
The procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about 4 hours. You may also have injections of local anaesthetic to help with the pain after surgery. You may be given antibiotics during the operation to reduce the risk of infection.
A tummy tuck improves the tension of abdominal skin and the tightness of abdominal muscles. The majority of people who opt for a tummy tuck have an excessive amount of saggy skin and possibly also fat around their middle that has been caused by weight gain, significant weight loss or pregnancy. The abdominal wall is tightened and after the operation the tension is improved and the abdomen flattened. However, lower abdominal scarring and a circular scar around the navel may remain.
Most often this surgery is combined with liposuction which enables the removal of any excessive fatty tissue from the sides and the upper part of the abdomen.
Below are the main techniques that your surgeon can use. The technique selected will be the one most appropriate for you and will be discussed with you beforehand.
This technique is suitable for patient with a lot of excess skin. Your surgeon will make a curved cut from hip to hip down to just above the pubic area. Excess skin and fat between the pubic area and your umbilicus will be removed. Your surgeon then makes an incision
under the skin above your umbilicus, pulling it downwards and tightening it.
This technique is appropriate for patients having an excess of skin hanging downwards and around the abdomen. This sagginess has typically been caused by significant weight loss or as a result of undergoing weight loss surgery such as gastric by-pass or gastric banding.
Abdominal skin is pulled down and tightened and excess skin removed. Abdominal muscles are stitched together to flatten the appearance.
The procedure is similar to a standard abdominoplasty although your surgeon will also tighten your waist area by use of a vertical incision along your midline up to the base of your breast bone, to remove more of the excess skin and fat.
This technique is selected where a patient has only a small amount of excess skin. Your surgeon will make a small incision just above your pubic area to remove the excess skin and will tighten abdominal wall muscles are necessary.
Lower bodylift or belt lipectomy
These techniques are suitable for use for patients who have experienced significant weight loss, usually resulting from previous weight loss surgery. In this technique, your surgeon will remove excess skin and fat from your sides, abdomen and lower back. Liposuction may also be used to remove excess fat.
Current medication considerations:
Please inform your surgeon of all the medication you are currently taking and follow their ensuing advice. You should mention herbal remedies and medication to control conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes. If you take beta-blockers, you should continue to take them as you normal would. You may be advised to stop taking warfarin, clopidogrel, aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs before your operation; your surgeon will confirm this with you.
Your role in the success of your procedure:
If you are a smoker, ceasing smoking several weeks before an operation may reduce the likelihood of complications and will improve your long-term health.
You have an increased chance of developing complications if you are overweight, so try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Taking regular exercise and eating healthily will help prepare you for the operation, help you to recover and improve your long-term health. Seek medical advice if you are unsure about exercise and diet.
You can also take action to reduce your risk of wound infection by not shaving or waxing the area where an incision is likely to be made in the week prior to surgery. You should also take a bath or shower on the day of your operation and keep warm around the time of your operation.
We will take all necessary steps to make your procedure as safe as possible. However, complications can happen with any procedure. Some complications can be serious and can even cause death. You should ask your surgeon if there is anything you wish to clarify regarding risks. Any statistics which relate to risk are taken from studies of people undergoing the procedure. Your surgeon may be able to tell you if your own risk of complication is higher or lower than average.
Your Recovery Post-procedure:
After your procedure you will stay overnight in our modern clinic and will have an aftercare appointment with your surgeon the following morning and every following day in order to monitor your recovery and for you to ask any questions. Initially, your abdomen is likely to appear discoloured and feel firm and swollen.
After the first day of convalescence you should feel able to walk with assistance. However, for 2-3 days after surgery you should rest with your hip joints slightly bent to reduce the tension on your stitches. Your wound will be covered with a soft elastic dressing.
A tummy tuck is not a quick fix and is a major procedure. We advise an initial post-operative recovery period of five days in Poland.
Our surgeons are highly experienced and it is unlikely that complications will occur. However, complications can happen. You need to know about them to help you make an informed decision about surgery. Knowing about them will also help to detect and treat any problems early.
If at any time you are worried about anything please contact a member of our clinical team who should be able to reassure you or identify and treat any symptoms.
Returning to normality:
We advise that you do not resume work for about 10-14 days after the operation, depending on the type of work you do. It is recommended that a supportive compression garment (given to you at our clinic) is worn to support the surgical area for a period of two months after the surgery.
You should rest and do only light activities for the first two weeks. This will help the wound to heal and reduce the risk of fluid collecting.
To reduce the risk of developing a blood clot, make sure you carefully follow the instructions of the clinical staff if you have been prescribed drugs or have to wear compression stockings. If you develop pain, swelling or redness in your leg, or the veins near the surface of your leg appear larger than normal, you may have a DVT. Let your doctor know straightaway. If you become short of breath, feel pain in your chest or upper back, or if you cough up blood, you may have a pulmonary embolism. In these cases, contact your surgeon on the emergency number provided.
For the first six weeks after surgery do not lift anything heavy or undertake any strenuous work at home. After about two weeks you should feel able to carry out light lifting and routine household tasks. You should avoid sex for the first three weeks and thereafter, be cautious.
We will offer dietary and exercise advice to help keep you fit and toned. Avoid driving until you feel confident controlling your vehicle.
You have the option to attend one of our UK based clinics to check on your progress. It often takes around six months to see the benefits of abdominoplasty. Try to establish and maintain a healthy approach to eating and exercise and you will experience good results.
Should you gain a lot of weight and then lose it, or get pregnant, you may once again experience too much skin on your abdomen. However, you are unlikely to get the volume of excess skin you would have had you not undergone the initial procedure.
You have been asked to stay in Poland for 7 nights post procedure. The reason for this is that we take your aftercare seriously. Unlike a lot of UK clinics your nursing team will want to see you most mornings at 9am in our clinic. Some of these consultations will also be with your surgeon. If you specifically want to see your surgeon at any point then please and ask they will be happy to see you. This is also the case on weekend mornings when our surgeon will come in especially to see individual patients.
It is important to stay in Poland for the agreed amount of time as it makes it highly unlikely that you will experience an emergency situation or complication on your return to the UK. If you need help due to any complication whilst in Poland then this is provided free of charge and all costs will be covered - for example, if you needed to stay an extra night in the clinic. If you are worried about any aspect of your recovery, please talk to us and we will be able to help and reassure you. We want you to return to the UK strong and well from the care you have received with us in Poland.
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