Skin laxity is the major enemy of your abdomen, especially after a great weight loss or childbirth. It’s time to have that flat belly you’ve been dreaming of.
Tummy tuck aims at reducing the size of your abdomen, while sculpting it at the same time. It is the key procedure to offers you a flat belly. During the operation, the plastic surgeon removes excess skin and fat from the lower 2/3 of the abdominal wall, while at the same time they achieve tightening of the abdominal muscles. However, we should make it clear that tummy tuck does not make someone look thinner and it is not the solution against weight gain.
The ideal candidates
Women and men who have not managed to get rid of the excess fat and skin laxity in the abdominal area, even if they kept on dieting for years and did a lot of exercise, are the ideal candidates for this procedure. People who have undergone gastrointestinal procedures (bariatric surgery) due to obesity and have lost lots of weight are also candidates, as they have severe skin laxity. Mothers of one or more children who have normal skin laxity and loose abdominal muscles after giving birth, should also think about this surgery.
It doesn’t produce miracles
We should note that patients who decide to undergo abdominoplasty should have finished with their diet plan, if any. Women should be aware that the abdominal muscles which will be tightened during the procedure, will become loose after a future pregnancy. Finally, men or women who have previously undergone any abdominal surgery and have scars may not be the ideal candidates for abdominoplasty.
In many cases, abdominoplasty may be combined with other cosmetic procedures such as liposuction, breast reduction or breast augmentation.
The advantages of tummy tuck
This surgery can greatly improve the appearance of the abdomen and thus, boost the patient’s confidence. However, they should be aware that their goals concerning their appearance should be realistic.
Tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that requires very fine handling and the absolute knowledge of its particular techniques. The plastic surgeons of Kosmesis, Keramidas Evangelos and Rodopoulou Villy with a large number of aesthetic and reconstructive surgeries in their activity, are suitable for achieving a perfectly aesthetic result through the personalization of each technique for each different patient.
The pre-operative assessment
The first thing you should do, is arrange an appointment with the plastic surgeon. He will do the first physical examination, take the photographs required and discuss with you in detail everything related to the operation, from the advantages and the result you want to the risks and possible complications. The usual pre-operative tests (thorough blood count, urine test, electrolytes, serum urea, creatinine, blood glucose test, electrocardiogramme and chest radiograph) are necessary. In special cases where the surgeon suspects the patient has abdominal hernia, it is important they undertake abdominal computed tomography (CT scan) and have a general surgeon examine you. Patients should quit smoking for two months before the surgery, in order to have the ideal results. We give patients specific instructions – such as quitting smoking and avoiding sun exposure before and after surgery –plus a diet plan before the tummy tuck procedure is performed. In case there is illness, such as flu or infection, the surgery should be postponed until full recovery.
The tummy tuck procedure
The abdominoplasty surgery is always performed at a general hospital under general anesthesia. Before the operation, the surgeon draws the incision lines, a scene most of you have often seen in popular medical television serials. The section is very similar to the C-section, extending from one hip bone to another. It is always made in a spot easily hidden by your underwear or swimwear. The abdominal wall is then prepared and lifted to the level of the lower ribcage. The rectus abdominis muscles are then sutured to repair their separation and enhance the strength of the abdominal wall.
The prepared skin and fat are then positioned downwards and the excess piece of skin and fat are removed. The navel is not cut, just placed in a new position of the abdominal wall that is pulled down with a round incision. Afterwards the incisions are closed with a combination of non-absorbable sutures. Before that, we may undertake a supplementary liposuction on the side of the abdomen for a better aesthetic result. One or two drains are placed and removed in a few days.
Recovery time in the hospital
After the surgery the patient stays in the hospital for 24-48 hours. Most people return home one day post-surgery. The same afternoon the patient should drink lots of fluids and if they don’t feel nausea, they may eat in the next few hours. The pain lasts for a few days and can be treated with pain killers or injections. To prevent any blood clots in the legs, the patient wears special elastic antithrombotic stockings, while nurses help them get out of bed the day of the surgery. For at least one month or even six weeks, the patient should wear a special compression garment (corset). They return home when they can eat normally, walk with or without any help and generally feel good, without feeling nausea. One week post-surgery the patient pays their first visit to the doctor.
Post-operative downtime outside the hospital
The swelling will subside significantly within two to three weeks, while pain will gradually become minimal and will be treated with painkillers. The gauzes will remain for two days so that the patient can shower. If the drains remain on the patient’s body, they are not allowed to shower removed. The patient keeps on wearing their antithrombotic stockings to avoid any blood clots as well as their elastic garment for at least one month.
Exercise and weight lifting should be avoided for one month post-surgery, while driving should be allowed two weeks after the abdominoplasty. Patients may return to work one week after the surgery, but that depends on their profession. Although the scars never completely disappear, they start to fade within nine months.
Complications are rare, but they may occur in any surgical procedure: 1. Wound infection: It is treated with antibiotics and sometimes with the removal of the infected tissues. 2. Lower limb vein thrombosis: It usually occurs in people who do not move after surgery and are obese. 3. Problems with wound healing: Heavy smokers may face such problems and this is why we suggest they should quit smoking about two months before they undertake abdominoplasty. Diabetic patients may also face problems with wound healing. 4. It is not possible to predict the final appearance of the scars: We do not often see deformed scars (hypertrophy, keloid, pigmented scars, atrophic, wide), but in case they occur they are treated with non-surgical methods. 5. Concentration of fluid: This fluid is usually absorbed on its own, whereas in some cases we remove it with a syringe.
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