When ? How?
With the help of an abdominoplasty (also called “tummy tuck”), we can repair the skin of the abdomen, which can be saggy and stretched due to various causes such as pregnancies, weight loss, or aging. If the excess skin is only under the navel, we can perform a mini abdominoplasty. If the abdominal wall is completely sagging, including the skin and muscles above the navel, then a total abdominoplasty is the best solution.
In this procedure, the excess skin is removed and the navel is moved upwards. The large scar runs across the lower abdomen from one hip to the outside of the other hip. Of course we do our very best to keep the scars as much as possible within the ‘bikini boundary’. Usually the navel is reattached, so that a scar is also created around the navel. A tummy tuck can give you a considerably flatter and tighter abdomen.
During the consultation, the doctor examines whether you are a suitable candidate for an abdominoplasty and discusses everything related to the treatment: which method is best for you, what result to expect, the possible risks and aftercare. The doctor will ask you about your medical history, what medication you are currently taking, and so forth. Note that if you use any blood thinning medication, you should stop at least one week before the treatment. The doctor will also ask what your wishes and expectations are. He can then indicate whether the surgery can meet those expectations and whether a combination with another treatment method can be an option.
You will receive a preoperative prescription for an antibiotic treatment for two weeks, which serves as coverage over the operation. In addition, you will receive an antiseptic iodine-containing soap with which you clean yourself the day before the operation and the morning before the operation. Do not use any body lotion and/or nail polish before the procedure.
A tummy tuck is always performed under sedation anaesthesia.
Pictures will be made before the treatment for your medical file. A tummy tuck is always performed by an experienced plastic surgeon under sedation anaesthesia. The surgeon first makes a slightly curved horizontal cut above the pubic mound. From there, skin and fat are loosened up to the rib arch, while the navel remains attached to the underlying muscle layer. Then, if necessary, the surgeon assembles the stretched abdominal muscles in the normal place. The excess skin and fat are removed and the navel is sutured into a new place. The treatment takes about 2 to 3 hours.
After the operation:
After the procedure, the abdominal skin is connected and you lie in bed with bent hips. This is necessary to reduce the tension on the wound edges. Two tubes (drains) will come out of your abdomen to drain any blood and/or wound fluid. Usually these drains are removed the day after surgery. You are allowed to leave the clinic the moment your doctor deems this justified (usually after one or one and a half hours). You are not allowed to drive a car. Please ensure that you arrange for someone to take you home.
Pain and recovery:
After the operation you probably won't have much pain, but if necessary you will get painkillers. If your abdominal muscles are reassembled, you may have pain and discomfort after the operation with coughing, laughing and pressing. The first two to three weeks after surgery the abdominal wall needs to heal. During this time it is best to stay relaxed, and in any case not to do any heavy physical work. After two weeks you can resume your daily activities and after six weeks you can do heavier work and exercise again. During the first months the scars can be quite fiery. After that they will steadily take on the color of the skin and become less visible. It is important not to expose the scars to the sun during the first year after the operation. The sun can cause them to discolor and bulge, so they remain visible longer. Keep the scars covered or smear them with a very high protection factor (SPF 50).
Complications are fortunately rare due to the sophisticated technique we use. General complications that can occur after each operation include bleeding, infections, numbness (temporary), poor wound healing and an allergic reaction. Another complication that can occur after any surgery is thrombosis. To prevent blood clots it is important that you continue moving after the surgery. Light regular exercise or regular movement such as walking improves blood circulation, helps with healing process and will decrease the chances of blood clot formation.
Immediately after the procedure it is clear that your abdomen has become much flatter and tighter. The final result can only be assessed one year after the operation. Despite the large scars, most people are very happy with the result. During the final check-up in the clinic, pictures will be taken that will be added to your medical file.
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