Abdominoplasty is suitable for patients who have a lower abdominal apron, multiple striae on the skin and divarification of the recti muscle. Frequently they are associated with thick layers of fat deposits in the abdomen as well as the waist-line and hips. Sometimes they are associated with a significant ventral hernia in the midline due to tearing of central raphe and separation of the abdominal recti muscle.
An abdominoplasty involves (i) removing the lower abdominal apron, excess skin and fat below the umbilicus, (ii) lifting the upper abdominal skin flap to expose the midline divarification or hernia, (iii) repair of the ventral hernia or divarification and lastly (iv) pulling the upper abdominal skin flap down to close and repositioning the umbilicus through a new hole in the skin flap.
When there is an associated thick fat deposit in the abdomen and waistline, a second stage liposuction procedure 6 months later is recommended to further contour the body. A staged procedure is recommended for safety reasons as well as to avoid surgical complications like skin flap necrosis and delayed wound healing.
The procedure takes about 3-4 hours under general anaesthesia. Hospitalization for 2 days is recommended for recovery and rest. An abdominal binder for support is advised after the surgery to protect the repair for a month. The recovery time is about 1-2 weeks. Full recovery to resume normal exercise may take about 4-6 weeks.