Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)

Frequently, for instance after childbirth or extensive weight loss, the abdominal wall may longer be able to bear up. The tissue can be so altered that slack and flabby stomach skin results. A so-called pendulous abdomen can also develop. A tummy tuck entails the removal of the flabby tissue from the entire frontal abdominal area.

If necessary, the abdominal wall's musculature can be tautened during the operation (a correction of rectus diastase) and fatty tissue can be removed where necessary. This way the appearance of a protruding stomach will be lastingly avoided while flank and hip contours are clearly improved.
When only the lower abdomen is affected, in other words, if the fatty tissue or skin problems are confined to the area below the belly button, it is sometimes suffices to perform a mini-tummy tuck.

The Operation:
During an abdominoplasty, the skin and the subcutaneous fat is carefully separated from the stomach muscles and pulled back into the right shape. Excessive tissue is removed. Frequently the bellybutton is surgically extracted and moved higher for a more aesthetically pleasing result.

Facts and costs  
Duration of hospitalization: 3 days
Anesthesia: General anesthesia administered by an anesthesiologist
Sutures: Will be removed on the 8th or 9th day
Durability: Permanent
Seclusion: Approx. 2 weeks
Follow-up treatment: In consultation with the surgeon
Prices: from 5.000,- € plus anesthesia costs

Post-operative care
Following surgery, the patient must lie in bed with an elevated upper body while the legs are slightly bent to relax the stomach.  This allows the wound edges to heal free of tension. Using double – or even triple sutures - the incision is sutured inward

On the second or third post-op day, any drainage tubes are usually removed. Should swelling, bruising or numbness have occurred, this usually goes away completely during the first few post-operative weeks.

Immediately following a tummy tuck, a custom-fitted compression girdle is worn. Two weeks following the procedure the stitches at the bellybutton are removed. The other stitches are self-dissolving. During the first 6 to 8 post-operative weeks there should be no physical exercise.
Right after the operation the scars are reddened and taut. This discoloration fades after time and the scars eventually match the skin tone. Beginning 4 weeks after the operation, the scars should be treated with suitable salves and skin creams.

Scars should be protected from the sun during the first 6 months.
Depending on the level of strenuousness, you can resume your daily activities after a few days. To avoid endangering the healing process, alcohol and nicotine should be reduced to an absolute minimum for at least 4 weeks.

Risks and possible complications
A tummy tuck is a major operation and, even as all precautions are taken during and after the procedure, bleeding cannot be ruled out. In rare cases a blood transfusion may become necessary. During the first days, a strong sensation of tightness and pain can occur. Inflammation is very rare and can prolong the healing process or make necessary a course of antibiotics.  It is also possible that circulation may be impaired at the wound and that the wound heals poorly - this is more frequent for smokers.

Even during a normal healing process, there can be irregularities and excrescences of the wound or skin discoloration (keloid). A lack of sensation in the scar area cannot be avoided as skin nerves are severed. Moreover, as with all operative procedures, in rare cases thrombosis and pulmonary embolism can occur.

Inflammation can occur even when all preventative measures have been taken. As a precautionary measure, antibiotics are given. Mild pain can be treated with pain medication and swelling should be expected. To avoid thrombosis and pulmonary embolism the patient should ensure that feet and legs are regularly moved.