Abdominoplasty involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdomen, it is often also a tightening or repair of the underlying muscles.
I will begin your consultation by assessing your general health and taking a detailed history of previous operations and other health problems, as well as any medication you take or allergies you suffer from.
I will then assess your suitability for abdominoplasty, which involves establishing the amount of skin redundance you have and also the extent of any stretch or separation of your abdominal muscles. It is this combination that points the way to the various techniques of abdominal reduction.
Mini abdominoplasty involves the removal of skin and fat from the area below the tummy button without moving or relocating the tummy button, this is a relatively uncommon procedure that addresses the area below the umbilicus (tummy button) but does not address the other areas of the abdomen. This procedure leaves a central transverse scar just above the pubic hair area.
Full abdominoplasty involves relocation of the umbilicus and resection of all available lower abdominal tissue, it is often accompanied by tightening of the 'six-pack' central vertical abdominal muscles and results in a transverse scar from hip to hip just above the pubic hair area and a scar around the umbilicus.
Apronectomy is a more extensive procedure removing an overhanging volume of abdominal tissue, it often follows significant weight reduction and the scar pattern is similar to that of full abdominoplasty.
Fleur–de–Lis abdominoplasty or T–scar abdominoplasty is again a very extensive abdominal reduction, which involves removing both lower abdominal tissue and central tissue and leaves a scar which is transverse just above the pubic hair area, as well as a vertical scar which may reach or go above the umbilicus.
Abdominal reduction is performed under a general anaesthetic and takes between 1½ and 3 hours. The wound is closed with absorbable sutures. Drains are generally no longer used. A hospital stay may not be necessary as this can often be a daycase procedure, however an overnight stay is occasional. You will be placed in a compression garment at the end of the procedure which should be worn continuously for the initial 6 weeks post surgery.
Although all operations hopefully go well there are a number of complications that can occur as a result of this surgery. These can be considered to be general or specific to the surgery. General complications include wound infection, scars and blood clots in the legs.
In order to minimise the risks of blood clots you will have injections of a blood thinner and special booties which mimic the action of walking whilst in hospital, you will also be wearing compression stockings which I recommended you continue to wear after you go home for about a month or until you are freely mobile.
Also use of the Contraceptive pill increases this risk and so you should stop taking it for a month before surgery. More specific complications include asymmetry of scarring, wound breakdown requiring dressings, haematoma or seroma (collection of blood or blister fluid under the skin). These complications are all more likely to occur if you are a smoker. All of these will be discussed in detail with you during your consultation.