Abdominoplasty surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restores weakened or separated muscles creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer.
A flat and well-toned abdomen is something many of us strive for through exercise and weight control. Sometimes these methods cannot achieve our goals.
Even individuals of otherwise normal body weight and proportion can develop an abdomen that protrudes or is loose and sagging. The most common causes of this include:
- Prior surgery
- Significant fluctuations in weight
What abdominoplasty surgery can’t do
An abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program.
Although the results of an abdominoplasty are technically permanent, the positive outcome can be greatly diminished by significant fluctuations in your weight. For this reason, individuals who are planning substantial weight loss or women who may be considering future pregnancies would be advised to postpone an abdominoplasty.
An abdominoplasty cannot correct stretch marks, although these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised.
The average cost of an abdominoplasty is $5,798, according to 2016 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Abdominoplasty surgery cost can vary widely. The average fee referenced above does not include anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses.
A surgeon’s fee will be based on his or her experience, the type of procedure used, and the geographic office location.
Most health insurance does not cover abdominoplasty surgery or its complications, but many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.
Abdominoplasty costs may include:
- Anesthesia fees
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Medical tests
- Post-surgery garments
- Prescriptions for medication
- Surgeon’s fee
When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for an abdominoplasty, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
In general, you may be a good abdominoplasty candidate if:
- You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
- You have realistic expectations
- You are a non-smoker
- You are bothered by the appearance of your abdomen
Abdominoplasty surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
During your abdominoplasty recovery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and you may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling and support your abdomen as it heals following surgery.
Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for the surgical site and drains
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
- When to follow up with your plastic surgeon
Be sure to ask your abdominoplasty surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? When will they be removed?
- When will the stitches be removed?
- How will I bathe?
- How long will I wear the pressure garment?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
The final results of abdominoplasty surgery may be initially obscured by swelling and your inability to stand fully upright until internal healing is complete.
Within a week or two, you should be standing tall and confident in your new slimmer profile.
Your abdominoplasty will result in a flatter, firmer abdominal contour that is more proportionate with your body type and weight.
Previous abdominal surgery may limit the potential results of an abdominoplasty.
In women who have undergone cesarean section, the existing scars may be incorporated into the new scar.
The abdominoplasty scar may take several months to a year to fade as much as it will.
Although good results are expected from your procedure, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Following your physician’s instructions is essential to the success of your surgery.
It’s important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.