Sometimes sport, abs workouts, and a healthy diet are not enough! An abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a procedure that can resolutely change your self-confidence and help you recover a body you like in which you feel good.
By acting on three components – skin, fat, and muscle – this body contouring surgery helps achieve a toned, flat tummy, and often repairs scars left by pregnancies or major fluctuations in weight.
In this article, you will discover everything you need to know before deciding on an abdominoplasty.
What is an abdominoplasty?
This surgical procedure aims to reshape your abdomen by eliminating the excess skin and fat while tightening the weakened muscles (diastasis or weakness of the abdominal wall such as a hernia), whereas liposuction only decreases the amount of fat in the area. Women who have been through several pregnancies or patients who have experienced considerable weight loss and wish to recover a more defined, flat tummy often consider undergoing an abdominoplasty.
But beware! An abdominoplasty is not a solution to lose weight but rather a method to improve the shape and the contour of your abdomen. In terms of ideal weight for an abdominoplasty, we advise slimming before and maintaining a stable weight or « ideal weight » to reduce the risks and put all the odds in your favor for a lasting, well-proportioned result.
During this operation, the surgeon removes the excess tummy skin and fat – and sometimes from the hips – using liposuction and then tightens the rectus abdominis muscle (diastasis treatment). The final result is a flatter, more toned, well-proportioned abdomen. An abdominoplasty also enables skin damaged by stretch marks in the area under the navel to be removed.
In general, patients in good health who have sagging abdominal skin and muscles after a pregnancy or significant weight loss are suitable candidates for an abdominoplasty.
Bodylift or abdominoplasty?
A bodylift is a more complex procedure that treats the entire circumference of the body (tummy, love handles, buttocks). It is often aimed at patients who have undergone bariatric surgery or lost a lot of weight. An abdominoplasty only treats the abdomen and sometimes the waist.
What does an abdominoplasty involve?
Firstly, two consultations are necessary to carefully plan the project. During our first consultation, you can tell me about your motivations and the result you wish to achieve. After excluding any contra-indications to this surgery and reviewing your medical history, I will examine your body and skin to determine if an abdominoplasty is the right indication. I will explain in detail what an abdominoplasty involves and provide you with a detailed, personalized quote.
The operation is performed under general anesthesia and takes approximately 2.5 to 3.5 hours depending on the extent of the correction necessary and the surgical procedures.
Two incisions are necessary: one incision in the suprapubic area (approximately in the same place as a c-section scar) to access the underlying muscles and tissues. A second is made around the navel (circular peri-umbilical scar).
The excess skin and fat are removed and the tissues are redraped to obtain a firmer, well-proportioned silhouette. Finally, the incision is carefully closed using advanced suturing techniques to minimize the scars. The sutures are totally absorbable.
The result will be visible after 6 to 12 months.
What precautions need to be taken before and after an abdominoplasty?
Before an abdominoplasty
It is important to take certain precautions to guarantee the success of the operation, minimize the risks, and ensure good healing and recovery.
You must not take any aspirin or anti-inflammatories over the 10 days before the operation, as these drugs increase the risk of bleeding.
It is essential to stop smoking at least one month before the surgery; smoking can hinder healing and considerably increase postoperative complications (particularly thromboembolic events).
You should also maintain a healthy lifestyle with enough sleep and adopt a balanced diet to promote more rapid healing.
After the abdominoplasty
It is crucial to follow all the postoperative instructions carefully.
You should wear a compression garment for 2 months to support and hold the treated area in place and reduce edema.
Postoperative dressing changes are necessary weekly at the office and sick leave is 2 to 3 weeks depending on your job. You can gradually resume your normal activities depending on your individual recovery but it is important to avoid intense physical activities for at least 2 months. Listen to your body and take it easy!
A drug treatment protocol is set up to manage the pain but can vary depending on the patient. The pain tends to be greater when there has been a lot more muscle involvement. In this case, ensure that you have the support of family or friends during this period, as you may need help with certain daily tasks. Furthermore, the half-sitting position should be preferred during the first days after the operation.
Finally, you should avoid exposing the scars to the sun at all costs throughout the entire healing period (at least one year).
National health insurance coverage for an abdominoplasty
The criteria for undergoing an abdominoplasty on the French National Health Service are strict. A considerable abdominal apron (skin and fat covering the pubic area) is essential for possible coverage by the French National Health Service (which only concerns the accommodation part of the operation, no medical and surgical fees).
Diastasis of the rectus abdominis due to one or several pregnancies or twin pregnancies is not covered by the French National Health Service.
What is a mini tummy tuck?
It is a « simplified » version of an abdominoplasty. If you do not need a complete abdominoplasty, you may be the ideal candidate for a mini tummy tuck. This surgery is less complex and recommended when the excess skin and fat are primarily in the lower part of the abdomen, just above the pubic area.
A mini tummy tuck requires a smaller incision and less extensive correction than a traditional abdominoplasty. Furthermore, the recovery period is shorter and the scars more discreet.
Effective solution to recover a flat, toned stomach, improve your self-confidence and feel better about yourself, an abdominoplasty is not a minor operation but I am here to assist you, answer all your questions, and provide the best care and personalized advice.
Do not hesitate to make an appointment for a consultation to discuss your needs, your expectations, and the right solutions for your case.