Abdominal wall corrections: who?
An abdominal wall correction can be considered by men or women with fat accumulations (potbelly) in the abdominal area that are difficult or impossible to remove by means of diet and exercise. Smaller fat accumulations can be taken care of with liposculpture.
Abdominal wall correction is also suitable in cases of major weight loss or flabby skin due to reduced skin elasticity caused by the ageing process.
A bulging belly may appear in women whose abdominal muscles have stretched due to pregnancy. This is often due to a longitudinal tear of the sinewy connection in the midline between the two straight abdominal muscles. This is called a diastase of the straight abdominal muscles. In some cases, correction of the muscles of the abdominal wall may be necessary. Women who plan to have another pregnancy can best wait to undergo this correction until after the last pregnancy. Even people who intend to lose much weight are suggested to wait until after their weight loss.
Generally, striae after a pregnancy can also be removed, at least for the part below the navel.
An abdominal wall correction is not a substitute for losing (over)weight. It is an operation with good and lasting results. Correction of the abdominal wall is only to be considered if weight loss or exercises do not offer a solution.
The first consultation
The ratio length/weight is very important when considering an abdominal wall correction. In case you are overweight, we advise you to lose some weight beforehand. During an examination that will be carried out, attention will also be paid to the possible need to attach the straight abdominal muscles. You will receive detailed information on the complete procedure and possible complications, although they are extremely rare.
You will receive extensive instructions in order to prepare properly for the operation. This includes instructions on what you are allowed to eat and drink before the operation and which considerations to take into account when on medication. It is also recommended to quit smoking on time: the scars heal much faster and you have less chance of having complications. If you have unexpectedly caught a cold or you become ill, the treatment is postponed. It is necessary to arrange for someone to pick you up and take you home safely. It is also recommended to organize some household help.
Although some clinics and hospitals sometimes work with a local anaesthetic, we have learnt through the years that general anaesthesia guarantees the safest way to operate.
Subcutaneous fat and excess skin are removed during an abdominal wall correction. If necessary, the surgeon may tighten the abdominal muscle. If the fat accumulation is only situated under your navel, the operation becomes easier than when the fat accumulation is also situated above the navel. If necessary, a correction of the abdominal wall can be combined with liposculpture of the upper abdomen and/or sides. Scars are inevitable. A horizontal incision is made in the fold just above the pubic hair, thus located under the so-called bikini line. The scar is therefore easy to hide. Normally, the navel needs also to be moved and that may leave a small scar around the navel.
The operation takes about an hour and a half, depending on the amount of skin and fat tissue that has to be removed.
After the operation
It is usually necessary to stay in the hospital for one or two nights. When the surgery takes place in The Baronie, you may leave the clinic the same day. If necessary, we can provide home nursing, but that is exceptional. Although the pain is slight in general, you still need ten days to recover. The first few days your abdomen will be somewhat swollen and painful. After about a week you come back to have the stitches removed. In general, patients are very happy with the result despite the scar. After two to three weeks you can return to work. The better your condition and abdominal muscles were before the operation, the faster you will probably recover.
The result of an abdominal wall correction is immediately visible after the removal of the bandage. At that time, swelling is still present but you may assume that the result even gets better when all the swelling has disappeared.
Complications after abdominal wall corrections are extremely rare. There may be some bleeding afterwards and sometimes the healing process proceeds with a bit more difficulty, especially in smokers and when the operation was combined with liposuction. There may also be a numb feeling just above the scar. This will normally disappear spontaneously. In extreme cases, this is permanent. The most frequent complication is a seroma, which means that fluid is accumulated under the skin. This can sometimes be accompanied by a splashy feeling. This complication is not serious at all, but it will need more follow-ups to suck away the fluid, which is, by the way, entirely painless.