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Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure designed to flatten the abdomen by removing excess of skin and fat, tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. Tummy tucks can dramatically reduce the appearance of a protruding abdomen.

Preparing for abdominoplasty

During the preoperative evaluation, the surgeon assesses the amount and location of fat deposits in the abdomen, skin elasticity, any excess skin and muscle tone of the abdominal wall, explaining aesthetic goals and achievable results. The pre-surgical assessment is a very important factor to exclude possible complications (high blood pressure, bleeding or scarring problems) that could undermine the surgical outcome. At the end of the evaluation, the surgeon will choose the surgical procedure best suited to the patient. If fat deposits and excess skin are limited to the area below the navel, the surgeon performs a less complex procedure called mini abdominoplasty. If adiposities and other imperfections described above are located on the upper abdomen and flanks, surgery will involve full abdominoplasty that, in some cases, can be combined with flank liposuction.

Abdominoplasty procedure

This type of plastic surgery is performed under general anaesthesia with two nights of hospital stay. In some cases, miniabdominoplasty, or small liposuction, is performed under local anaesthesia or locoregional anaesthesia in day surgery. On average, this surgery lasts about 2 hours, one hour for miniabdominoplasty. Abdominoplasty requires an incision just above the pubic area that can extend laterally, depending on the amount of excess skin on the lateral parts of the abdomen. Fat deposits and excess skin, thus, are detached from the abdominal wall to reveal the muscles and fascia to be tightened with sutures involving, also, a successful repositioning of the navel.  Surgery is not very painful and requires a medical compression garment.

Postoperative care instructions

A compression garment must be worn for two weeks and it is advisable to rest during the first 48 hours in a reclining position. By the third day after discharge, it is wise a rest period of 3-4 days at home where normal daily activities can be gradually restarted avoiding strenuous ones, saunas and turkish baths. If not overly tiring, most patients can return to work about 7-10 days after abdominoplasty and within four weeks all normal activities can be resumed, including sports. Results are generally long lasting as long as patients maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise routine.

Scars in abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty incision takes place above the pubic area where the surgeon will take care to customize the scar, hidden by underwear.


Who undergoes abdominoplasty?

Abdominoplasty is suitable for patients with protruding abdomens due to fat deposits, excessive dilation of abdominal wall muscles or excessive abdominal skin laxity caused by pregnancies, significant weight losses or other. Abdominoplasty allows reconstructing perfectly the integrity of the abdominal wall that had a muscular laxity. This surgery is not recommended for patients who do not have good health conditions, verified by a pre-anaesthetic assessment, and women who are planning to get pregnant.

Is there any age limit to undergo this type of plastic surgery?

There is no age limit to undergo abdominoplasty; it is preferable, however, to postpone surgery in women who are planning future pregnancies since the increase in intra-abdominal pressure may dilate again those muscles that have been brought together during the surgical procedure.  Overweight patients should go on a diet before abdominoplasty to avoid removing again excess skin resulting from further weight losses.

Is it possible to combine abdominoplasty with other cosmetic procedures?

Abdominoplasty can be performed alone or in combination with other procedures such as liposuction, thigh lift or other cosmetic surgery unless there are contraindications to multiple surgical interventions.

Are there risks and / or complications for this type of plastic surgery?

Abdominoplasty is a real surgical procedure that must be carried out by qualified surgeons who perform plastic surgery procedures in accredited facilities. In these conditions, results are usually very good and possible complications, including bleeding, seroma and infections can be easily healed. However, it is important to follow carefully the instructions provided by the surgeon before and after the operation to decrease the risk of complications. Smoking can increase the risk of complications and delays healing; therefore, smokers should reduce their cigarette consumption before and after surgery.

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