The operation aims to reduce the bulging of the lower abdomen which is caused by excess skin and fat, and may be made worse by a weakness of the abdominal musculature. The procedure takes about two hours and involves removing the excess skin and fat, and if necessary, tightening the abdominal musculature. Additional fat can be removed using liposuction.
Smokers have a much higher risk of developing complications. It is therefore advised that they should refrain from smoking for at least 6 weeks prior to, and for two weeks following surgery. Aspirin and related anti-inflammatories should be avoided for a similar time period. Patients on oral contraception (not HRT) should stop taking the pill for six weeks prior to surgery. During this period alternative forms of contraception will be required.
Types of abdominal contouring
Abdominal liposuction – A very straightforward procedure which leaves few if any scars, is relatively risk free and from which recovery is fast.
Mini abdominoplasty – When there is a small excess of skin in the lower abdomen (this may be associated with a scar from a Caesarean section) then a mini abdominoplasty may be appropriate.
Abdominoplasty – In this procedure a large ellipse of skin and fat from the lower abdomen is excised leaving a long scar within the bikini line. Not infrequently liposuction is undertaken to remove fat excess and a repair of muscle laxity is performed.
Apronectomy/massive abdominoplasty – This operation is usually reserved for patients who have a massive abdominal overhang usually resulting from excessive weight changes. This operation aims to remove the overhang of skin and fat and leaves a long scar which may extend around the lower half of the body in the bikini line.