Women and men who have loose abdominal skin and fat that is concentrated in the abdomen can benefit from abdominoplasty. Sometimes these conditions are inherited. In other instances, substantial weight loss may cause abdominal skin to become flaccid. Abdominoplasty also can tighten muscles that have been separated and weakened by pregnancy. The procedure may somewhat improve the appearance of stretch marks, especially those located below the navel.
You may be a good candidate for abdominoplasty if you have one or more of the following conditions:
- excess or sagging abdominal skin
- an abdomen that protrudes and is out of proportion to the rest of your body
- abdominal muscles that have been separated and weakened
- excess fatty tissue that is concentrated in your abdomen
Abdominoplasty, as an aesthetic (cosmetic) procedure, generally is not covered by insurance. In some instances, however, a patient may have a hernia and not just a spreading of the abdominal muscles. Insurance reimbursement may be available for that portion of the procedure that is not cosmetic.
Fortunately, significant complications from abdominoplasty are infrequent. Every year, many thousands of people undergo successful aesthetic surgery of the abdomen, experience no major problems and are pleased with the results. Anyone considering surgery, however, should be aware of both the benefits and risks.
Some of the potential complications that may be discussed with you include bleeding, infection and reactions to anesthesia. Tissue loss along portions of the horizontal incision is a possibility when the abdominoplasty is very extensive. This complication, which delays healing and prolongs recovery, is more common in patients who smoke or have medical conditions such as diabetes. Revisionary surgery is sometimes helpful in certain instances where incisions may have healed poorly.
Following surgery, occasionally, fluid may accumulate under the skin. Removal of this serum is a painless process but may require several visits to the plastic surgeon's office.
Abdominoplasty will enhance your body contour by making your abdomen firmer and flatter. You may find that you feel more comfortable in your clothing and are more confident about your appearance.
The incisions from the procedure will heal and fade over time. It is important to realize, however, that the incision lines will be permanently visible. In some instances, they will eventually be only faint lines. Certain individuals may have incision lines that are more noticeable. Fortunately, the incisions for your abdominoplasty are usually in locations concealed by most bathing suits and undergarments.