You have worked diligently. You are close to your ideal body weight, and yet you desire just a bit more body contouring. Now you are seeking solutions for that persistent excess of belly fat and excess skin which has appeared as a result of aging or substantial weight loss. You are now looking into your options and have discovered abdominoplasty, a procedure aimed at addressing excessive and/or stretch mark blemished skin and fat from the abdominal wall.
It is not uncommon for an abdominoplasty to be paired with liposuction. Hormonal changes as we age, anatomical zone, gender, and ethnicity can all be factors in our ability to combat “spare tires” and “love handles” as we seek a healthy lifestyle. During you consultation, you can expect Dr. Chong to:
Review of your health history
Discuss optimal weight (BMI) prior to your procedure.
Analyze the overlying skin quality and quantity.
Collaborate with you to set a realistic goal and plan of action.
Address any potential risks, complications, or recurrences.
Answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding the procedure, recovery time, and outcome.
“The best bedside manner of any doctor I’ve ever met!”
– D.I. (Patient since 2008)
Your abdominoplasty will be scheduled with Monitored Anesthesia Care, an IV Sedation allowing you to sleep through the procedure. If liposuction has been discussed as a part of your treatment plan, this procedure will be performed first, reducing excess fat in the hips, waist, and upper abdomen. In all, you can expect your procedure to last anywhere from 2-4 hours.
The incisions are typically low, just above the pubic area. The length of the incision (and any subsequent scar) are determined by excess skin. Once the abdominal flap is elevated fascia is repaired as needed and the strength of the abdominal wall is diagnosed.
Please plan on minimal activity and movement in the abdominal area for the first two weeks. An abdominal binder should be worn post-op to support the abdomen, assisting in conforming the abdominal skin flap onto the repaired abdominal wall. This type of compression garment will remind you to observe activity restrictions, as well as provide a surface to secure the drains. Binders can be expected to be worn for 2 weeks or until the drains are removed.
Placement of drains, wearing an abdominal binder, and limiting physical activity will aid in preventing complications such as a seroma. Once the drains are removed you will be advised to move into a first/second stage post recovery garment for up to an additional four weeks. During your regular follow-up appointments, female plastic surgeon, Dr. Chong will provide guidance with additional post care instructions catered to your specific needs.
What is a seroma?
A seroma is a collection of blood tinged fluid which accumulates when a skin flap is raised off its usual position. Massive weight loss patients are at higher risk for seroma, so “quilting” sutures are added. Treatment of a seroma requires frequent needle aspiration (removal), compression, limited activities & occasionally antibiotics.
Will I have a “six-pack” by the end of recovery?
It is important to remember that the results are only as good as the underlying muscular development. Resuming exercise after the prescribed convalescent period and maintaining a healthy diet can help to enhance the results.
How soon after can I walk?
We encourage walking as soon as the effects of anesthesia have subsided and as soon as you return home. Walking is important for many functions:
- Promotes the re-expansion of your lungs.
- Encourages blood circulation from your legs back to the heart.
- Resets your internal clock, after having IV sedation so you can resume normal sleep/wake cycles.
- Safeguards against the development of clots in the legs and/or pelvis.
- Assists the regulation of your intestines.
Will my incisions leak?
Yes. Some of the tumescent fluid (which is infiltrated at the beginning of the operation) is removed with the lipoaspirate, while some is absorbed into the general circulation. The decision to leave the liposuction ports open is based on the following observations:
- Reduces the amount of fluid your body will need to absorb.
- Reduces the amount of bruising.
- Produces a better liposuction scar.
The treated area tends to “weep” a thin bloody fluid post-operatively. This drainage can be expected to be pronounced at the lowest points on your body and quite brisk during the first 12 hours, post-op, requiring reinforcement of your drainage pads. The amount of drainage varies between patients.
Should I expect to see any changes in my results in the years following my procedure?
The key to maintaining results is the absence of weight fluctuation. Moving forward after your procedure, by choosing to maintain a healthy lifestyle, incorporating a regular exercise routine into your lifestyle, and observing a balanced diet you assume control over the longevity of results achieved. If you had liposuction incorporated into your procedure, it is important to remember that the unwanted fat was removed in an even layer, and the remaining mature fat cells do not reproduce. However, failing to adhere to a healthy diet and exercise regimen may possibly result in thickening in the untreated areas. Overall, your commitment to a healthy lifestyle is the key to your procedure’s success.
Dr. Chong is committed to providing optimal care that will help you look and feel your best. She will be happy to personally consult with you to discuss your goals and to help you determine a treatment plan that is the best for you.
Dr. Chong will be happy to consult with you to help you assess your goals and help you determine if Liposuction or an Abdominoplasty is the best option for you. Give us a call at our office in Newport Beach to schedule a consultation. Call (949) 644-1400!