Frequently Asked Questions - Abdominoplasty

» How is abdominoplasty performed? Where will the scar be?
A long cut is made very low horizontally on abdomen, within the panty line, in the same place where caesarean section scar is. The skin is lifted up from abdomen, pulled down and excess skin and fat is cut away. Belly button is not detached from muscles. Scar is within the panty line and also around the belly button. Liposuction of abdomen is usually done along with abdominoplasty.

» What are the risks involved with tummy tuck surgery?

Fortunately, significant complications from tummy tuck are infrequent. Anyone considering surgery, however, should be aware of both the benefits and the risks.

Some of the potential complications include bleeding and collection of blood clot- which may require another surgery to remove the clot. Infection and reactions to anaesthesia can occur. At times there is collection of watery (serous) fluid called seroma and the drain may need to be kept for a week or longer for that. Rarely, a patient may require a blood transfusion during or after the operation especially in obese people who are also having liposuction of thighs etc. Depending on the individual’s healing capacity, the incision may take longer than the usual 1 week to heal. Rarely, loss of part of the skin may occur which may take 2-3 months to heal. The scar can be prominent at times or there can be bulges at the corners of the scar (dog ears) that may require a minor surgery for correction. Umbilicus may also have healing problem. In case of umbilical hernia umbilicus may need to be removed and new umbilicus can be made.

Apart from these the problem common to all major surgeries like mild or severe reaction to anaesthesia and clotting of blood in leg veins leading to potentially life threatening pulmonary thromboembolism can occur.

Like in any surgery risk depends on your general health. If you are healthy and nearly normal in weight the risks are minimal. On the other hand, risks are higher in case of patients suffering from diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

You can help to lessen certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your plastic surgeon, both before and after surgery.

» How will I look and feel after surgery?
The day after surgery, you will be encouraged to get out of bed for short periods of time. After several days, you will be able to move about more comfortably. Straining, bending and lifting must be avoided, however, since these activities might cause increased swelling or even bleeding.

Any surgical drains will be removed a day or two after surgery, at which time your dressings may also be changed or removed. You will be instructed to wear a support abdominal binder for a few weeks. Generally, stitches are self absorbable. If staples are used they are removed in a week.

You may notice that you feel less sensation all over the abdomen. This usually is temporary. It may, however be months or even more than a year before sensation returns to normal. Incisions will initially be red or pink in color. They will remain this way for many months following surgery.

The abdomen will not look very flat initially because of the swelling but in 6-8 weeks the results will appear.

Recovery time is shorter if muscle tightening is not done and it is often possible to return to light work after a week or two, depending on your job. In many instances, you can resume most of your normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, after several weeks. You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort during this time, but such feelings are normal. Severe pain should be reported to your doctor.

When muscle tightening is done the pain and stiffness may be there for 2 weeks which will need pain killer tablets. You will be able to join light work in 2 weeks.

Any sexual activity should be avoided for a minimum of one week, and your plastic surgeon may advise you to wait longer. After that, care must be taken to be extremely gentle with your tummy for at least the next six weeks.

» What is drain? Why is it used?
Drains are soft slender plastic tubes one end of which is placed underneath the skin of abdomen and other end comes out of skin. Two such tubes are connected to a small plastic container which constantly sucks out any blood or fluid accumulating in the operated part. Usually the drainage is bloody on first day and watery afterwards. Drainage reduces day by day. Most times drain is removed after 24 hours. If drainage is more then it can be kept longer. In that case patient is sent home with drains and drainage is measured everyday till it comes down. Drains are painless.

» Why is the binder necessary?
The binder is very important. It gives firm and elastic support so the skin sticks to muscle and fluid collection is avoided. Also most patients feel more comfortable with garment during early post-surgical period.

» Is the result permanent?
Unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, results stay. You can even improve upon the results by toning the muscles with abdominal exercises.

» What results can I expect after tummy tuck surgery?
You can expect a significantly flatter abdomen ,reduced pant size and tighter skin. The scar will be hidden even in a bikini, except the scar around the belly button.

» How long do I need to see the doctor after surgery?
You will return to the clinic for follow-up care at prescribed intervals, usually 2 days, 2 weeks, One Month and 3 months later. At these visits your progress will be evaluated any minor problems are taken care of. You are not charged for follow-up visits after surgery till one year.

Please remember that the relationship with your plastic surgeon does not end when you leave the operating room. If you have questions or concerns during your recovery, or need additional information at a later time, you should contact Dr. Priti.

» Will I be able to have normal pregnancy after tummy tuck?
If you are planning pregnancy in future muscle tightening part will be avoided and only skin and fat removal will be done. Then there will not be any problem.

» Are there methods available to reduce the scarring?
Scars can be improved by creams, gels and taping for 3-6 months. Excessively prominent scars can be revised surgically after 6 months.
to view article on how to minimize scars after surgery

» Is there a way to do reduce abdomen without scars?
surgery can remove fat but not the loose skin. Waist size can be reduced to some by liposuction through small holes but skin and muscle tightening is not possible by this method.

» I have had bariatric surgery done for morbid obesity and have lost 50 kgs. My tummy is sagging up to my thighs and I am having skin infection under the skin fold. Can I have tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck commonly required after massive weight loss. In your case the loose skin will be there on back side also, so circumferential abdominoplasty may be needed.

to view procedure of plastic surgery after massive weight loss