Abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

 

 

Pregnancy and massive weight loss can cause significant skin redundancy and laxity in the abdomen. The redundant skin is stretched-out and hanging down from the tummy like an apron. Stretch marks may appear on the skin. A weakening of abdominal musculature may occur at the same time, causing protrusion of the abdomen. Diet, exercise, or liposuction alone cannot solve these problems.

 

Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a surgical procedure to remove the excess abdominal skin and tighten the underlying abdominal muscles. The tummy tuck is sometimes combined with liposuction to remove excess abdominal fat. The results are tight skin, a flat abdomen, and a slim waistline. The scar from a tummy tuck is located under the bikini line, covered by the underwear. For patients with an old scar from previous Caesarian section surgery, an abdominoplasty will remove the old scar together with the excess skin.

 

 

 

Preparation

  1. Inform the doctor of any pre-existing medical conditions and drug allergy. All medical conditions must be treated and stabilized before surgery.
  2. Stop smoking at least one week before surgery. Smoking is harmful to wound healing and increases the risks of other post-operation complications.
  3. Stop the following medications and supplements from one week before surgery until one week after surgery.
    1. All supplements containing vitamin E, ginseng, ginkgo, garlic, fish oil, and other ingredients that increase bleeding during the procedure. Other supplements, traditional medicine, and herbs, in which ingredients are unknown, have to stop as well.
    2. Medicine that increases bleeding during the procedure such as aspirin, NSAIDs, and warfarin. However, you may need to consult your physician who prescribed the medication before you stop them.
  4. On the day of surgery, wear simple and comfortable clothing. Do not wear any makeup. Do not wear any jewelry and metal objects on the face and body.

 

 

 

Surgery

Duration: 3-4 hours

Anaesthesia: General anaesthesia

Hospitalization: Daycare for mini-abdominoplasty. At least one-night stay for a standard abdominoplasty. 2-5 days for an extended abdominoplasty.

Recovery*: Back to work in 7 days, light exercise after 2 weeks, heavy exercise after 4 weeks.

* The actual recovery speed depends on the types of abdominoplasty and may vary from person to person.

 

 

 

Surgery Technique:

In abdominoplasty, the surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen to separate the skin from the underlying muscles. The abdomen muscles are tightened, and the excess skin is removed. A separate opening is made for the umbilicus for it to remain in the same normal position after the operation. A tummy tuck is usually combined with liposuction to optimize overall results.

The extent of tummy tuck may be varied, depending on the severity of the abdominal wall laxity:

  1. Mini Abdominoplasty: This procedure is suitable for a patient with mild to moderate severity where the excess skin and fat are limited to the lower part of the tummy. The incision is short and confined on the central part of the lower abdomen. Recovery is much faster than other types of abdominoplasty.
  2. Standard Abdominoplasty: The incision extends from hip to hip. The operation is recommended for patients with moderate to severe severity. Standard abdominoplasty is the most common type of abdominoplasty performed.
  3. Extended Abdominoplasty: This procedure is for patients with severe excess skin in the whole torso, including the entire tummy, the flanks, and the thighs. The incision covers the lower abdomen, the hips, and extend to the sides.

 

 

Post-operative Care**

  1. What to expect: Swelling usually peaks on the second to third day after surgery and will gradually subside after that.
  2. Suction drains may be inserted for the first few days to remove fluid and blood from the wound.
  3. Tight sensation in the abdomen may be present for one to 2 weeks. The patient may need to bend the body while standing and walking to reduce tension on the wound.
  4. Use a supportive garment to support the tummy for the first month.
  5. General care:
    1. Avoid smoking for at least one month. Smoking increases the risk of wound complications.
    2. Sleep on the back and avoid sleeping on one side.
    3. Adequate rest and sleep are helpful for a speedy recovery.
    4. Be relaxed and calm. Contact the clinic if there are any queries.
    5. Early ambulation is encouraged to speed up recovery.
  6. Medicine: Finish the oral antibiotics as prescribed. Take the painkiller as prescribed when necessary.
  7. Wound care: After removing the wound dressing, clean the wound with a clean cotton tip soaked with sterile water/saline. Apply antibiotic ointment.
  8. Physical activity: Avoid heavy physical activity and exercise for at least one month.
  9. Follow-up: Come back one week after surgery for review.
  10. Emergency: If there is heavy bleeding, a rapid increase in swelling or severe pain, immediately contact the clinic/doctor for advice.

 

** The instructions in this list are only for general guidance. If you have any specific queries or concerns during the post-operative recovery, please contact the clinic for further advice.

 

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