Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that aims to improve the firmness and smoothness of the abdomen's appearance. During the procedure, excess skin and fat are removed, and the muscles of the abdominal wall may also be tightened.

How Is Abdominoplasty Done?

Abdominoplasty generally takes up to four hours.  The operation involves the use of general anaesthesia and a hospital stay of two to four days. An ellipse of skin between the pubic bone and the navel is cut out, and the skin is lifted.

Once the excess skin is removed, the skin above the navel is pulled down and stretched towards the skin below the pubic bone, which is stitched together.  Excess fat may be removed and underlying muscles tightened at the same time. In some cases, the skin is pulled down over the original navel, and a new hole is made for it to come through.  After surgery, bandages and drainage tubes are put in place to support proper healing.

Why Is Abdominoplasty Done?

Excess fat or skin on the abdomen and lax abdominal muscles can occur after dramatic weight loss or pregnancy.  In cases where the problem does not respond to dieting or exercise, the only way to resolve the problem is surgical removal of excess skin.

Risks & Complications of Abdominoplasty

Complications are infrequent and usually minor. However, as with any surgery, there are risks.

  • General complications of surgery include blood loss and possible transfusion, blood clots in the legs (Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT) and chest (Pulmonary Embolism), chest infection, and reactions to anaesthesia.
  • Poor healing, which results in conspicuous scars, may necessitate a second operation.
  • Tissue loss along portions of the incision and infection require antibiotics, and in some cases, hospitalisation is possible.
  • The accumulation of fluid under the skin may require additional outpatient visits.
  • Patients may experience numbness after surgery that can occasionally be permanent.

Risks can be reduced by following the surgeon's instructions before and after surgery.

Alternatives for Abdominoplasty

The surgeon may discuss alternative approaches to the Abdominoplasty procedure.  Liposuction may be used alone to remove excess abdominal fat. However, the main alternative to Abdominoplasty is simply to leave the abdomen as is.

Who Is Eligible for Abdominoplasty?

The best candidates for Abdominoplasty are men and women who are in relatively good shape, but bothered by excess deposits of abdominal fat and skin that will not respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to women who have finished bearing children, and have abdominal muscles that have separated or weakened due to pregnancy.

The surgeon will make the final determination of each patient’s eligibility for the procedure after an examination and consultation with the patient.