3 June 2020
Thanks to Dr. Salvatore Carlucci, plastic surgeon from Turin (Italy), for giving us his point of view on such a requested surgery.
WHEN IS AN ABDOMINOPLASTY NEEDED?
Abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck, is a surgery that reduces excess skin and fat in the abdominal region. The goal is to flatten the areas above and below the navel, as well as the flanks.
It is indicated after major weight changes or after a pregnancy. In these cases, in fact, due to dilation, the skin has lost its elasticity and remains too relaxed, forming unsightly folds, which are often visible even through clothing.
LIPOSUCTION OR ABDOMINOPLASTY?
It is common to think that the problem of a bulky abdomen can be solved with liposuction. Actually, this surgery is a ideal when dealing with fat deposits, but has minimal effects on the skin. Thus, by performing a liposuction on an abdomen, the risk is to reduce its volume but to accentuate the hollow effect of the skin, which will be even more lax and sagging.
This is why the choice always falls on an abdominoplasty when there is excess skin. Instead, a liposuction can be used to boost the effects of the surgery, shaping some body areas.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE SURGERY? IS IT NECESSARY TO GO ON A DIET BEFORE?
The advice is to undergo the surgery when a stable weight has been reached. If you are following a weight-loss programme, you should reach the goal weight and maintain it for a few months.
This is because further weight loss after surgery would lead to a new excess of skin and therefore to a partial result.
WHERE ARE THE SCARS LOCATED?
The abdominoplasty incision is located under the fold of skin that forms in the lower abdomen, in the suprapubic region. In women who delivered by C-section, the abdominoplasty scar will follow the one already present, but will be more extensive. In any case, it is a scar that remains hidden by underwear or swimwear. Another small scar is found inside the navel.
WHAT KIND OF SURGERY IS IT?
Through the incision already mentioned, the flap of skin and fat is detached from the plane of the abdominal muscles, up to the costal margin, protecting the navel —which remains connected to the muscle wall. This detachment allows the flap to be stretched downwards and all the excess part to be removed, obtaining a flat abdomen.
In almost all cases, the muscular wall is also treated with the so-called rectus muscle plication: by applying stitches on the wall it is possible to strengthen it, correcting any diastasis recti (dilations between the muscles) and improving the size of the waist.
IS THE SURGERY PAINFUL?
The pain experienced after undergoing an abdominoplasty truly varies from person to person. Surely the work done on the muscular wall can create some difficulties of movement in the first days, while the skin incisions do not create serious issues. However, painkillers are prescribed for the first few days to make the postoperative period more comfortable.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO AFTER THE SURGERY?
After an abdominoplasty, it is very important to wear day and night an elastic-compression garment that is specific for the abdomen. This garment should be worn for a month to shape and drain the areas treated with the surgery, allowing the skin flap to adhere again to the muscle wall. This way, the latter would then be able to heal and get stronger without tension.
During this period, efforts, trauma and significant arm movements must be avoided.
AFTER HOW LONG IS PHYSICAL EXERCISE ALLOWED?
As with efforts, physical exercise should also be avoided for a month after undergoing an abdominoplasty. This is because every effort increases intra-abdominal pressure putting the healing tissues under great tension.
This precaution is always important, but particularly when a rectus muscle plication has been performed.
ONCE DECIDED, WHAT SHOULD BE DONE BEFORE THE INTERVENTION?
The surgeon prescribes routine exams to make sure there are no health problems and to determine the condition of the muscle wall (diastasis recti, hernias, etc.). In cosmetic surgery, safety comes always first.
Only then, it’s time for taking photos and measurements.
Thanks to Dr. Carlucci from the Revée team
For those who would like to contact Dr. Carlucci for any other questions, please find below his contact details: