Who is abdominal surgery suitable for?
Plastic surgery of the abdomen is suitable for women and men who are in good overall health with congenital or hormonal predispositions for the accumulation of fatty deposits around the stomach. Abdominoplasty is an operation to remove the so-called pendulous abdomen, i.e., sagging stomach. A pendulous abdomen is present in overweight people but also in people after significant weight loss and in women after pregnancy. Sometimes, a pendulous abdomen is also associated with the diastase of the muscles of the anterior abdominal wall or with the umbilical or other abdominal hernia. It is an extensive surgical procedure that removes excess fat and skin, which often have striae (so-called stretch marks). The operation strengthens abdominal muscles, and thus improves the appearance of the sagging and protruding abdomen. Plastic surgery can also adjust the navel and its placement.
Abdominoplasty is ranked among the more demanding procedures and needs to be performed under general anaesthesia. Therefore, a complete internal preoperative examination is required, which includes chemical and sedimentation tests for urine: basic biochemical examination of blood – glucose, liver tests, sodium, potassium, urea, creatinine, CRP, blood count, sedimentation, Quick and APTT (tests for bleeding and blood clotting). In the case of cardiovascular disorders or hypertension, an ECG, is also required.
During a personal consultation, you will learn about the operation’s procedure and the results that can be expected in your case. You will be given instructions on which medication you should avoid before surgery, so be sure to inform your surgeon about all the medicines you are taking. In order to allow the body to respond to the surgery and to heal as much as possible, it is not advisable to stick to a drastic diet prior to abdominoplasty. At least 3 weeks before the planned procedure, it is important to be in good health and to prevent possible cold, virus, influenza, etc. These diseases are contraindications for the operation on the day of surgery. Therefore, it is necessary to communicate with the doctor and inform him/her about every health matter.
Plastic surgery of the abdomen may be complete or partial (also known as miniabdominoplasty or abdominoplasty with liposuction, so-called lipoabdominoplasty). Complete abdominoplasty usually lasts from two to five hours, depending on the extent of surgery. Partial abdominoplasty takes one to two hours. In the case of lipoabdominoplasty, the fat is first drawn out at the point where the incision is made. Then the abdominoplasty is performed. In abdominoplasty, an incision from one side of the pelvic bone to the other in the lower abdomen is created. The skin is removed from the abdominal wall, then excess skin and fat are removed and the abdominal wall is sutured. This makes the belly slimmer and firmer. If the patient wishes, the muscles of the abdominal wall may be strengthened during the operation.
After surgery / Recovery
After the operation, hospitalisation should last 2-3 days. Upon completion of surgery, drains are left at the surgery site to facilitate drainage of surplus blood. After plastic surgery on the abdomen, be prepared to have stomach pain when breathing deeply, coughing, changing one’s lying position, getting up from bed or using the toilet. In case of pain, you can use the recommended analgesics. For this reason, it is advisable to have someone as an assistant on the first days or weeks. After surgery, you may have to walk with a slight forward stoop. This condition will disappear within 2-3 weeks. Full recovery takes 2-4 weeks, depending on the severity of the operation. After surgery, the aesthetic and mental conditions, as well as the overall physical condition, improve significantly in the person concerned. An important part of the post-operative regimen is the wearing of the abdominal binder, which is worn approximately 1 month for 24 hours a day. Then it is recommended to wear a compression girdle for 1-2 months. For better healing of scars, it is advisable to perform pressure massage. You can use different ointments for massage. Good results are achieved when using silicone tapes. Post-operative scars are located at the places where underwear is worn, so they can be easily hidden. Later, after complete healing, the scars can be smoothed with cosmetic laser treatment, but the scars will also fade in time. Swellings and bruises can be mitigated, for example, by the use of ointments such as Heparoid and Hirudin. For better healing, Wobenzym is also recommended. In the case of physically undemanding work, it is advisable to return to work after 2 weeks, in the case of physically demanding work only after 4 weeks.
As with any other complicated surgical procedure, complications may arise even after abdominoplasty. There may be an infection at the surgical site; the wound may bleed, or the wound can deteriorate. Bruises, which gradually disappear, are a less serious problem. At the site where the incision was made, the patient may temporarily lose sensations, due to minor nerve damage.
In the case of extensive abdominoplasty, where large parts of the skin are removed, the abdomen after surgery may be asymmetric, and the scar may not be smooth. In the case of keloid scars, convalescence is prolonged, and the result may not be satisfactory. Most of the complications can be managed, but it is necessary to follow the recommendations prescribed by the doctor and be patient.