Traditional Abdominoplasty - Background
A traditional abdominoplasty is an operation designed to remove excess abdominal skin and tighten the abdominal wall muscles in the midline. This operation is often combined with breast operations, liposuction of the midriffs (the “love handles”), liposuction other parts of the body, mommy makeover operations, and various other procedures. However, no liposuction is performed in front of the rectus abdominis muscles (the “six-pack”) muscles in order to safely preserve the blood supply to the abdominal skin.
What Does a Traditional Abdominoplasty Entail?
A traditional abdominoplasty starts with by marking the patient’s abdomen in the preoperative area to ensure that the lower abdominal incision lies well underneath the patient’s undergarments. The patient is then accompanied to the operating room and placed under general anesthesia. Tumescent solution is then infiltrated in front of the rectus abdominis muscles. Tumescent solution is a dilute, safe solution that contains sterile normal saline, lidocaine, and epinephrine. The epinephrine causes the very small blood vessels to constrict, which results in minimal bleeding during the operation and keeps most of the lidocaine in the area where the operation is performed.
The lower abdominal incision site is carefully reassessed for symmetry before the incision. The excess abdominal skin is excised, and a tunnel is made upwards in the midline. The edges of the rectus abdominis muscles (the six-pack muscles) are tightened in the midline, the umbilicus is moved (if necessary), and the deep and superficial layers of the external abdominal wall are sutured together with multiple layers of strong sutures. Normally, no sutures are placed on the outside of the skin that need to be removed later. Drains are placed which are normally removed in one week.
The Ideal Candidate for a Traditional Abdominoplasty
The ideal candidate for a traditional abdominoplasty is an individual with lax or excess abdominal skin and/or diastasis recti (a midline space between the six-pack muscles), which is commonly seen after pregnancy or significant weight loss. Additional patient-specific qualities that may make you a better patient for a traditional abdominoplasty versus an Avelar abdominoplasty or liposuction alone are discussed during your surgical consultation.