Post Weight Loss Abdominoplasty Washington DC
Surgical procedures to address the excess skin in the abdominal region after weight loss range from simple removal of a hanging apron of skin and tissue (panniculectomy) to full reshaping of the abdominal region with tightening of the underlying fascia and muscles (abdominoplasty).
Why is Post Weight Loss Surgery Performed?
Some patients experience a premature plateau in their weight loss due to the hanging excess skin and tissue interfering with exercise. If you are experiencing this problem, a Washington DC post weight loss surgery with removal of the hanging abdominal skin (panniculectomy) can be performed as an initial procedure which can promote the ability to achieve further weight loss prior to undergoing the final definitive abdominal contouring surgery. If you are experiencing symptoms related to the overhanging skin such as fold irritation or infection, then insurance may cover some costs associated with the panniculectomy.
What are the Benefits of Post Weight Loss Surgery?
No matter how vigorous an exercise program may be, it is difficult for a patient who was previously obese to obtain a firm abdomen without surgical tightening of the fascia surrounding the muscles of the abdominal wall. An additional benefit is the cinching of the waist to create a shapelier figure, or more athletic look.
Are There Other Factors Which May Affect the Decision to have Post Weight Loss Surgery?
A common finding in our Washington DC post weight loss surgery patients is the hanging, full pubic region that creates a pouch-like appearance with the genitals pointing downward. This area is rejuvenated in both men and women with an abdominoplasty as the entire pubic region (mons pubis) is elevated and, if necessary, liposuction is performed.
Will I Have Scars Following Abdominoplasty?
An abdominoplasty results in a scar that extends hip-to-hip across the lower abdomen, with another scar around the umbilicus. In patients with an existing vertical midline scar or in select patients with extreme amounts of excess abdominal skin, a revised or new vertical midline scar (fleur-de-lis) may be necessary in order to maximize the tautness of the trunk and improve the final appearance of the abdominoplasty.
What Can I Expect during Abdominoplasty?
The procedure is performed in our fully-accredited outpatient surgery center, or in a hospital, based upon need. This may be scheduled in conjunction with other body contouring procedures depending upon your overall goals for your body shape. Your incision sites will first be marked while you are standing, prior to entering the operating room. At the end of the procedure, temporary drains will be placed to prevent fluid from accumulating underneath the skin. A urinary catheter (Foley) may remain in place overnight.
What Can I Expect Following Abdominoplasty?
Patients who undergo this surgery in an ambulatory setting may have local anesthesia injected into the operative site. If your tummy tuck is performed in the hospital, you will be comfortable with pain medication delivered through an IV. Following surgery, your surgery site will be wrapped in an abdominal binder. Your bandages are changed in your initial postoperative appointment, and the drains removed when the output is minimal. You will be wearing a compression garment for one month following surgery.
What is the Recovery from Weight Loss Surgery Like?
The recovery period for an abdominoplasty is usually between three and six weeks. You will need to remain flexed (bent) at the waist for the first five to ten days. You will be unable to drive for two to three weeks. While each patient is different, most people find they are able to resume their normal activities by six weeks, and many patients are back to their normal exercise program within eight to ten weeks. It is important that you continue to wear the compression garment when exercising for the first two months following your surgery.
What Can I do to Minimize Scarring?
Scar massage can begin three to four weeks postoperatively. Scars are initially red and raised but flatten and fade over the course of a year. During this first year, the final shape of your lower body will slowly be revealed with its firmer, more attractive definition. If any revisions or touch-ups are necessary, this occurs at approximately nine to twelve months following surgery.
Are There Risks Associated with Post Weight Loss Surgery?
Risks and complications are uncommon but may occur. They include, but are not limited to:
- Wound separation
- Loss of the umbilicus
- Skin loss
- Prolonged numbness and/or swelling
- Widened, hypertrophic or keloid scarring
- Need for revision surgery in the future
- Fluid collection under the skin following drain removal requiring drainage (seroma)