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What is Abdominal Wall Surgery?

Article Details
  • Written By: J.M. Willhite
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 April 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Surgery conducted to restore firmness to the abdominal area is known as abdominal wall surgery. Commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, abdominal wall surgery is an elective, cosmetic procedure that may accompany or follow successful individual weight loss efforts. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with a tummy tuck and these should be discussed with a qualified health care professional during consultation and prior to scheduling surgery.

Performed for a variety of reasons, abdominal wall surgery is a procedure an individual chooses to have done. Generally, there is no medical reason for having a tummy tuck. Individuals who have experienced infection or rashes associated with the external folding of excessive abdominal skin may find relief from such discomfort following abdominal wall surgery. Those who elect for surgery may find the procedure beneficial following dramatic weight loss or multiple pregnancies.

Conducted on an inpatient basis and under general anesthesia, abdominal wall surgery may take anywhere from two to six hours to complete. Requiring up to four days of post-operative hospitalization, the procedure involves the removal of fatty tissue and excess abdominal skin to make the area tighter and firmer. In some cases, the procedure may be conducted in combination with liposuction, which is the removal of excess body fat with the use of a special surgical suction instrument.

During the procedure, the attending surgeon will make an incision across the abdomen just above the pubic region. Once the fatty tissue has been removed, the surgeon may tighten any loosened abdominal muscles using sutures. Any additional fat or skin located on the sides of the abdomen, known as love handles, may also be removed. Following the completion of the procedure, the incision is closed with stitches, drain tubes may be positioned to rid the area of any fluid accumulation, and an elastic bandage is positioned over the abdomen.

Less extensive tummy tucks, known as mini-tummy tucks, may be performed endoscopically with the use of several small incisions made in the same location of the abdominal region as an open surgery. Small cameras, known as endoscopes, are utilized to aid with the positioning and employment of equally small instrumentation used to perform the surgery. The surgeon employs the video feed, supplied by the cameras and projected on a monitor, as a visual guide. Generally, endoscopic surgeries require less healing time, are least invasive, and involve less post-operative discomfort.

At least two weeks prior to surgery, individuals may be instructed to temporarily discontinue their use of any medications that may interfere with blood clotting. Individuals scheduled for surgery may be instructed to not consume any food or beverages at least 12 hours prior to the procedure. Following surgery, pain medication may be administered to alleviate any abdominal discomfort. It may be recommended that individuals wear an elastic bandage for support and avoid any strenuous activities or straining for several weeks following surgery. Individuals may return to work and resume regular activities without restriction within one month.

Complications associated with surgery may include infection, excessive bleeding, and blood clots. Use of general anesthesia carries a risk for allergic reaction to medications administered and breathing difficulty. Risks specific to abdominal wall surgery include nerve damage, scarring, and organ damage.

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