Abdominoplasty and Liposuction

There are two methods of removing excess fat from the body when diet and exercise have failed. One is abdominoplasty and the other is liposuction.

Abdominoplasty is the medical term for the surgery that is commonly referred to as a tummy tuck. There are two types of surgeries. One is a major operation designed to remove fat and excess skin from both the middle and lower abdomen. It also tightens abdominal muscles. This is called a complete abdominoplasty. A complete abdominoplasty is done under general anesthesia and may require two to four hours. A minimum of an overnight stay in a hospital will also be required. The surgeon makes two incisions. One extends across the lower abdomen from one hipbone to the other. The second incision is made around the navel. Some but not all surgeons will employ liposuction to suck out the excess fat through this incision. Drainage tubes are inserted after the procedure and have to remain for several days. A partial abdominoplasty requires only one short horizontal incision. It takes only an hour or two. A local anesthetic and a sedation are employed and it can be an outpatient operation but it will still be two or three days before you can return to work. If you have a complete abdominoplasty, you may not be able to stand upright for several days. You may also have to wait a few weeks before returning to work and your normal activities. The surgeon will remove the stitches in a week. A girdle type support garment may need to be worn for several weeks to minimize swelling. A complete abdominoplasty will leave permanent scars although they fade within a year.

Liposuction is a procedure that uses a tube attached to a vacuum to suck out the fat from the body. It is not recommended for people over age fifty. This is due to the fact that your skin has to have enough resiliency to spring back into shape over the smaller area. Otherwise you will have floppy skin and that won’t be attractive. Liposuction requires one to three hours and is usually an outpatient procedure and a local anesthetic is used. However, some surgeons may employ general anesthesia if the area to be treated is large. Most people can return to work about a week after having liposuction. However they may not be able to move around independently for a couple of days. This all depends on the size of the area that was treated. Patients cannot engage in vigorous exercise for several weeks. They may have to wear a support garment for two to three weeks. There will be bruising after liposuction but it will only last a week or two. Swelling may be present for up to six months. There have been serious complications from liposuction and some deaths have occurred. It is important that the procedure be performed by an experienced and highly qualified physician.

Regardless of which procedure is employed weight loss achieved by these methods does not have the benefits of weight loss accomplished through diet and exercise. The risks of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol are not minimized by liposuction or abdominoplasty.