Abdominoplasty is an elective surgery, a form of cosmetic surgery commonly known as a "tummy tuck." In an abdominoplasty, excess skin and fat are removed from the abdominal area so that the muscle wall can be tightened. Often, this surgery is performed after pregnancy or extreme weight loss to remove excess of sagging skin.
There are several different types of abdominoplasty, ranging from full to partial. In general, the surgery follows several basic techniques. First, an incision is made, usually across the abdomen from hip to hip just above the pubic area. A second incision then removes the navel. The skin is removed from the abdominal wall, and the muscle fascia underneath is tightened with sutures. Liposuction can then be performed to remove excess fat. The skin is then stitched back into place. A partial abdominoplasty is essentially the same procedure, albeit in a more limited fashion. Further, abdominoplasty can be combined with other forms of cosmetic surgery, including breast enhancement, other areas of liposuction, or even in the case of a mastectomy.
As with any surgery, there are risks of complications with abdominoplasty. While generally considered to be safe, patients should understand the potential risks and side effects, as well as potential recovery time, which can last as long as four weeks, with full recovery taking as long as six months.