Abdominoplasty is a procedure that removes fatty tissue and skin from the abdomen. The scar is located in the lower abdomen, just above the pubis. This scar is similar to that of a caesarean section.
A mini abdominal tuck is performed in the area below the navel, leaving no scar on the belly button. The abdominal muscles are repositioned and a small strip of skin is removed. This procedure is ideal for excess skin and abdominal muscle problems below the navel.
When the excess skin is located above the navel, an extended tummy tuck is required. This leaves a scar in the lower abdomen, but also around the navel. The scar is positioned deep into the navel (and not on the outside edge as frequently occurs) using a special technique that leaves it barely visible.
Oedema (swelling) of the skin above the scar frequently occurs after the intervention. This effect is temporary and disappears after the lymphatic system has recovered. If the abdominal muscles are sutured in the midline, wearing a support girdle is required for four to six weeks and no heavy lifting is allowed for six weeks. Tobacco, diabetes and excess body weight increases the risk of problems with wound healing. If the scar does not heal properly, home care for cleaning the wound may be needed. An extended tummy tuck can partially be reimbursed by your medical insurance if functional impairment is recognized.
A tummy tuck is painless because the skin above the scar is insensitive during the first few weeks following surgery. If the abdominal muscles have to be sutured, they can be sensitive for 5 days.
A tummy tuck requires a minimum of 24 hours observation in order to control blood loss. Afterwards 2-weeks rest must always be observed. After 2 to 4 weeks, office work can be resumed but without any strain on the abdominal muscles. For up to 6 weeks, no more than 10 kg in weight can be lifted. The skin above the scar may remain swollen for longer, especially if the patient returns to work too soon.
A tummy tuck always includes a risk of infection. Fatty tissue under the skin is sensitive to infection. Smoking, diabetes and additional interventions such as liposculpture of the thighs increase the risk. If inflammation occurs and scars reopen, extra home care will be needed for 2 months to heal the wound.
During the first 2 weeks, a district nurse will come to treat the wound. Avoid swimming or taking a bath for 4 weeks. A support girdle must be worn day and night for 6 weeks.