What is the procedure and how is it performed?Abdominoplasty is a major surgical procedure that is done to remove excess skin, fat, and other under the skin (subcutaneous) tissues from the abdomen. In most cases it also involves tightening the abdominal muscles by pulling them together with sutures (stitches). The procedure is usually done under general anesthesia in a hospital setting. This means you are unconscious and pain free. The surgery may last from 2 to 5 hours. The surgeon makes an incision (cut) between the hipbones. The incision is angled down toward the pubic area in the middle. Another incision is made around the navel (belly-button). The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall by raising a flap up to the level of the lower ribs. Fat and excess tissues are removed. In most cases the muscles of the abdominal wall will then be tightened and pulled together with sutures. These sutures may be brought out through the skin so they can be removed after the muscles have healed. The skin flap is then stretched tightly downward and excess skin is removed. A new hole is made to reposition the navel. Drains are placed through the skin to remove any fluid or blood collections that forms after the incision is closed. A dressing is applied and the patient is taken to the recovery room.
If the excess skin and fat is confined to the area below the navel, a less extensive procedure called a “partial abdominoplasty” may be considered. In a partial abdominoplasty all the surgery is confined to the area below the navel. This surgery can be done as an outpatient. The recovery period is much shorter and the risk of complications is less. You should ask your surgeon if this procedure is an option for you.
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