What Is Abdominal Reconstructive Surgery?

Jackie Myers
Jackie Myers
Abdominal reconstructive surgery removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area.
Abdominal reconstructive surgery removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area.

Abdominal reconstructive surgery, commonly referred to as an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck, is a procedure for removing excess skin and fat from the abdominal region. It can also tighten muscles that have been separated. Many people report having a more toned and firmer appearance after the procedure. Experts recommend abdominal reconstructive surgery for those who stop noticing results after dieting and exercising regularly. Tummy tuck procedures are common among women who are seeking to reshape their torso after pregnancy.

Commonly called a "tummy tuck," abdominal reconstruction surgery removes fat from the stomach so patients appear slimmer.
Commonly called a "tummy tuck," abdominal reconstruction surgery removes fat from the stomach so patients appear slimmer.

An abdominoplasty is major surgery and holds several risks for the patient. It is not meant to be viewed as a substitute for losing weight. Some of the dangers associated with abdominal reconstructive surgery are poor wound healing, development of deep vein thrombosis, and fluid accumulation underneath the skin. Deep vein thrombosis is another way to refer to blood clots that develop in the large arteries of the leg. Those blood clots can travel to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism.

According to plastic surgeons, the ideal candidate for abdominal plastic surgery does not smoke cigarettes or plan to become pregnant in the future. Those who smoke have an increased risk of developing serious health problems either during or after the procedure. Likewise, the results of an abdominoplasty can quickly deteriorate if a pregnancy occurs afterwards because the abdominal muscles will separate again. People with high blood pressure are encouraged to consult with their physician before committing to a tummy tuck.

The two types of tummy tuck procedures are full and mini. Full tummy tucks require an incision that travels around the edge of the navel and extends across the lower abdomen. A second incision must be made to expose the underlying abdominal wall. Mini tummy tucks are recommended for people who are within ten percent of their desired body fat percentage. They are typically performed in an outpatient setting and only require a small incision across the lower abdomen.

Abdominal reconstructive surgery can last for a few hours, and plastic surgeons usually monitor patients in a post-operative setting for 24 hours in case any complications occur. Although a tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure, physicians believe that it is comparable to an open heart surgery in terms of recovery time, which can be quite long. The time to completely heal may take several weeks or months, depending on the type of abdominoplasty performed. Patients can expect a lot of swelling and bruising surrounding the incision site. To help with the discomfort and pain from the surgery, pain medications are prescribed.

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    • Abdominal reconstructive surgery removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area.
      By: derege
      Abdominal reconstructive surgery removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area.
    • Commonly called a "tummy tuck," abdominal reconstruction surgery removes fat from the stomach so patients appear slimmer.
      By: Tom Wang
      Commonly called a "tummy tuck," abdominal reconstruction surgery removes fat from the stomach so patients appear slimmer.