The abdominoplasty procedure was designed to treat the skin laxity to the lower abdomen. It is often done to eliminate stretch marks. The procedure takes approximately an hour and a half. It can be done under a general anesthetic or a spinal anesthetic. There will be a drain in place for approximately three to five days postoperatively. Activity will be limited for the first week to self care only, and subsequent to that to gradual remobilization and return to extra physical activities to include exercise. There will be a lengthy lower abdominal scar associated with some abdominal numbness. The procedure is highly effective in reducing the lower abdominal roll. A lower abdominal skin resection can be done in conjunction with liposuction.
Abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck, is a complex surgical procedure in which excess skin and fat from the abdomen is removed, and if necessary, the muscles of the abdominal wall are tightened. The intended result is a smoother, flatter abdomen and a shapelier torso.
Who is a Candidate?
Candidates for an abdominoplasty can be both women and men, who have loose abdominal skin or a large fat deposit in their lower abdomen that does not respond to exercise or diet regimes. This procedure is also popular for patients who were once obese and have successfully lost a lot of weight. For more information visit the Surgical Weightloss Resource Centre website.
Preparation for Surgery
It is very important that Dr. Van Laeken is aware of the state of your general health prior to surgery. Please let her know of any allergies you have, medications, herbal supplements, or vitamins you are taking as well as the reasons for taking them. It is also important that you inform Dr. Van Laeken if you have a tendency for keloid scarring (thick, wide, or raised scars).
If you are a smoker we encourage you to quit prior to proceeding with an abdominoplasty. Smoking can interfere with the blood flow to the skin, and will inhibit the healing of the incisions.
Depending on your age as well as your general health pre-operative tests may be ordered, such as blood tests, or an ECG (electrocardiogram).
It is important that you avoid taking vitamin E, anti-inflammatories or aspirin products for 2 weeks prior to surgery. These products are anti-coagulants, and could lead to hematoma formation and bleeding during the surgery.
Dr. Van Laeken operates at several different hospitals, but generally performs abdominoplasties at either the Cambie Surgery Centre or the False Creek Surgical Centre. These are both state of the art, fully accredited private surgical facilities.
The procedure is usually performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes approximately 2-3 hours.
The incision for the abdominoplasty is made along the lower abdomen just above the pubic line. The length of the incision depends on if you are having a full or mini abdominoplasty. Generally for a full abdominoplasty the incision extends from hip to hip. The incision normally cannot be seen when wearing undergarments or bathing suits.
During an abdominoplasty, Dr. Van Laeken will often repair the vertical muscles of the abdomen that can become separated during pregnancy. The muscles are pulled tightly together, and then sutured into the new position.
When you arrive home from the clinic, you should rest in bed with pillows under your knees to help minimize the pull on the incision. Drink plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration. You should be able to get up and do short walks 1-2 days after surgery. Dr. Van Laeken does not want you to stand perfectly straight for the first week to avoid tension on the area.
Most patients who have sedentary jobs plan to take 2 weeks off work. If your job involves a great deal of physical activity Dr. Van Laeken can advise you as to how much time you should take off.
Between days 5-7 you should see Dr. Van Laeken to have the drainage tube removed. After that appointment you will be able to have a shower. Please do so with lukewarm water and your back to the spray. Your next appointment should be approximately 10-14 days post op to remove the sutures.
You should not drive for at least two weeks following the surgery.
A surgical compression garment is an important part of the recovery period, as it helps to avoid any fluid building up under the skin. Dr. Van Laeken suggests that you wear the garment for 6 weeks post surgery. It is also best to avoid heavy lifting for 6 weeks post operatively.
There will be swelling and bruising for up to 3 months post operatively.
There are risks associated with any type of surgery. Although the incidence of complications is rare, Dr. Van Laeken feels that all patients should be informed of the potential complications prior to proceeding with surgery.
This procedure is subject to the same complications as all other surgical procedures such as infection, bleeding, and failure to heal, which could require appropriate treatment including possible further surgery.
- Hypersensitivity / Numbness
Read definitions for potential complications.
View before and after photos
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