Overview: What is lipoabdominoplasty?
The lipoabdominoplasty is a combination of a Tummy Tuck and liposuction to the abdominal region. The ideal patient has not only excess skin to the abdominal region, but also has some unwanted fatty volume. This allows us to remove excess fatty tissue from the mid section via liposuction, as well as remove excess skin. By combining both procedures, we can provide the patient with optimal results.
The Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty portion of the procedure is performed to remove excess skin to the abdomen in order to provide a flatter look to the stomach. With weight gain and weight loss or with child bearing, the abdominal muscles and skin are stretched and usually do not return to their original orientation. The Tummy Tuck tightens the abdomen in two ways. Firstly, the abdominal muscles are tightened, which acts like an “internal corset” to reduce the circumference of your waistline and give you a flatter stomach. Secondly, the loose or excess skin to the abdominal region is removed and brought together in a tighter and more aesthetically appeasing way. With the addition of liposuction to the abdomen, the tummy tuck results can be more impressive and allow for even more skin excision in many cases.
How is the procedure performed?
The first part of the combination procedure starts with the liposuction portion. Liposuction traditionally involves two main steps. First, the fatty tissue under the skin is infiltrated or filled with a saline solution called tumescent fluid. The second step usually involves removing the fat cells by way of suction. Here at Chau Plastic Surgery, we add a third step to the liposuction procedure. Between the above mentioned first and second steps, we treat the fat and the skin with ultrasound energy. This breaks the fat down to smaller units so that more can be removed and, in our hands, be removed more evenly. The ultrasound energy also provides some skin tightening, so as the fatty volume is decrease, the skin can re-drape to your new figure better.
Once the liposuction portion is complete the abdominoplasty is performed in much the same way a standard Tummy Tuck might be performed. The standard Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty involves an incision that spans from hip to hip at the lower abdomen and an incision around the belly button. The skin is lifted off of the abdominal muscles and pulled downward. The excess skin is cut away and an incision is made in the abdominal skin for the new belly button site. The muscles at the midline of the abdomen that are referred to as the rectus muscles or “the muscles that give some people the six pack look” are brought closer together with suture. This helps to reduce the size your waistline and give your stomach a flatter look. Once the excess skin is removed to the lower abdominal region, the two edges of skin are sewn back together with dissolvable sutures. The skin around the belly button is often closed in a similar fashion but may have some sutures that will need to be removed in the office one to two weeks after surgery.
What should I expect after my lipoabdominoplasty?
The procedure lasts approximately three to four hours and in most cases the patients go home the same day of surgery. You will have drains to drain fluid from underneath the skin flaps, a compression garment and an abdominal binder. The compression garment is similar to a body suit, which helps to allow smoother healing to the areas of liposuction. This garment is worn for six to eight months after surgery nearly twenty-four hours a day. Most of your sutures are under the skin and dissolvable and will not need to be taken out. You will be limited in your activity after your surgery and will need to take some time off of work.
At Chau Plastic Surgery, we strive to provide you with the best results. Call our office for your complimentary cosmetic consultation and see if a lipoabdominoplasty is the right procedure for you.
Return to Main Body Procedures Page