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Abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure performed in cases of excess fat and skin, a flabby abdomen that has lost its tone, a relaxed and sagging belly, the so-called "abdominal apron". The aim of this operation is to remove both fat and excess skin, and to strengthen the abdominal wall by means of special muscle suturing techniques in order to obtain a flat and distended abdomen.

    What can the patient expect in the days and weeks following the operation?


    At the end of the abdominoplasty operation, the patient is awake almost immediately and is fully conscious after about two hours. You will be able to walk again, albeit slowly, on the afternoon of the operation. It is necessary to spend the first night after the operation in the clinic.

The day after the abdominoplasty operation, the patient can go home without any problems. You will bring with you the necessary drains (one right and one left) to collect the blood that is normally present after the operation. It is essential to walk with your abdomen flexed to avoid damage to the traction points in both the muscles and the skin itself, and to wear a special girdle for at least 30 days. However, you will immediately be able to walk without undue effort. In the days following the abdominoplasty operation, the belly will show some swelling that masks the real result. This is due to the collection of normal postoperative oedema, which will result in a taut, hard and swollen abdomen. In the skin of the treated area, sensitivity may be reduced or absent, but will be regained in the following weeks and/or months. This is due to the normal healing of the tissue itself. Pain is usually absent or mild if the patient follows appropriate preventive pain medication.

Recovery time after abdominoplasty


 The post-operative recovery phase should be considered an integral part of the surgery and the complete achievement of the results and the success of the operation may depend on it. Follow-up visits are therefore of paramount importance, to monitor proper healing and absence of complications, normally at 7, 14, 28 days, 3, 6 and 12 months.

No stitches should be removed, as only absorbable stitches are used during the procedure.

Personal hygiene is crucial for proper healing and to avoid infection of the surgical wound. For this reason, the surgeon provides detailed instructions on how to disinfect. During the first two weeks after the operation, the operated area should not be wet.

 

In the first few days after the operation, a light diet is recommended until bowel activity is completely normalized.


In the post-operative period, especially if the abdominoplasty (or mini-abdominoplasty) has been combined with liposculpture, it is normal to have some bruising, which is resolved in 2 weeks on average. Swelling is also normal, and gradually decreases in the weeks following the operation, but may persist for several months. It may be more evident on one side than the other. To prevent it and speed up its resolution, it is essential to wear an elastic abdominal compression bandage day and night for two months. Great attention must be paid to the correct application of the bandage, which must be well stretched and correctly glued, so that the compression is uniform and homogeneous, without causing furrows and depressions.

For several months after the operation, there is residual swelling above the scar, which gradually disappears. From the second month after the operation, once the pain has completely disappeared, lymphatic drainage or LPG Endermology sessions (an instrumental technique for massaging and stimulating the tissues) allow the swelling to be eliminated and any subcutaneous nodularities, which are often present in areas subjected to liposculpture, to be dissolved.

Another important function of the elastic abdominal band is to retain the muscles which, in most plastic surgeries of the abdominal wall, are remodelled and put under tension, so that they do not stretch and tear the muscle sutures.

For the same reason, during the first month, it is necessary to sleep upright in bed and not on the side, with the back slightly raised, without twisting. The external compression obtained with the bandage also protects against uncontrollable tension, such as coughing or sneezing.

It is normal to experience a decrease in skin sensitivity in the abdominal wall for a few months.

In general, it is prescribed to refrain from working for at least three weeks after the operation.  If the job requires intense physical effort, such as lifting weights, a longer recovery period is necessary.  Driving a car, light housework, sexual activity and social activities can be resumed after two weeks, avoiding movements that strain the abdominal wall. Light sports activities can be resumed after 3 weeks, while for more intense sports it is best to wait at least 3 months.

Operations to reshape the abdominal wall result in scars of varying degrees. In order to achieve the best result in terms of the quality, and therefore visibility, of the scar, it is advisable to apply paper patches along the scar for three months after the operation, replacing them every 10 days.  This minimises the tension of the skin, a possible cause of scar enlargement. Afterwards, a silicone gel is prescribed to be applied for a few months, in order to achieve optimal healing. Full sun protection is required for at least 3 months.