Abdominal plastic surgery – When is it needed and when does it make sense?

Author: Dr. med. Petra Berger

What is the point of abdominal plastic surgery, called abdominoplasty among surgeons, and when is it carried out? Dr. Berger has plastic surgery practices in Frankfurt and Zurich. Abdominoplasty is one of her specialties. In this interview Dr. Berger explains the options and risks of this type of surgery.

Dr. Berger, does abdominoplasty mean a chance to have a perfect flat tummy? Only very few people fulfill the modern ideal of beauty – women with youthful flat tummies, men with six-packs – when you glance around at the pool or on the beach.

Dr. Berger: The best method to stay in shape is still the combination of healthy eating and sufficient exercise. However, in some cases abdominoplasty is the only way to achieve a normal body shape again.

dr med petra berger
Petra Berger, M.D.

What cases are those?

Dr. Berger: Abdominoplasty makes sense for people who have lost enormous amounts of weight in a short period of time, such as people on a diet, after liposuction or after giving birth. The excess skin and weakened ligaments will not firm up easily. Not even lots of sports and a diet can change anything about this fact. Also, with increasing age the tissue loses its elasticity and the tummy protrudes more. In all of the above cases, convincing results can be achieved only through abdominoplasty.

What happen during the surgery?

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Dr. Berger: The surgery itself takes place under complete anaesthesia and can last two to four hours. A horizontal curved incision is made above the pubic bone and the skin in the abdominal area is lifted. Afterwards, abdominal muscles are stretched and the excess fatty tissue and skin is removed. With another incision the naval is reset in order to achieve an overall aesthetic impression. The incision is closed with precision stitches and small surgical drains are attached for the discharge of secretion. The scar can later be hidden under a swimsuit or underwear and usually heals so well that it is barely discernable.

How long does convalescence take?

Dr. Berger: Immediately after surgery the patient should remain overnight at the clinic. Stitches do not need to be pulled out, because modern medical materials are used. For one to two months following the surgery patients wear an elastic bandage; a compression belt is also suitable. This prevents swelling and supports the abdominal muscles, which have been surgically stretched. Patients should not exercise under any circumstances in the first month after surgery.

What is so dangerous about abdominoplasty? Or rather what is so special about it?

Dr. Berger: The wound resulting from this type of surgery is really rather large. Most patients feel it is very limiting and unpleasant. The incisions must be made with the utmost precision; otherwise the area of the lower abdomen could become permanently numb. Asymmetry, indentations and unwanted scars are always a risk. As with any other surgery, it is never entirely possible to eliminate the risk of thrombosis or bacterial infection.

When patients ask about this surgery, what do you advise as an expert?

Dr. Berger: Abdominoplasty should always be carried out only by a certified plastic and aesthetic surgeon. The chosen surgeon should have sufficient experience with the procedure. Then the surgery will be successful and help achieve a firm and aesthetic abdomen again.

Dr. Berger, thank you very much for all your insights about this topic.

Published: 2012-11-08

Dr. med. Petra Berger

Discussion to topic

Dr. Omar Fouda Neel  |  Basic member  |  Plastic surgery  |  Montreal, Laval
  • 157 answers
I typically advise all my female patients to finish having children and then have their tummy tuck done. Also having a healthy lifestyle and ideal weight is important. Male patients can have this surgery when they are ready. To be a candidate for a tummy tuck you need a specific amount of skin laxity, a medical exam and need to stop smoking. More details are discussed during consultation. You are always welcome in Montreal, regards,
ClinicForYou  |  Premium member  |  Wrocław
  • 496 answers
Tummy Tuck surgery aims at removing the excess skin (especially after weight loss or pregnancy) and muscles tightening. Great candidates suffer from loose skin on the tummy which is impossible to get rid of through exercises but needs to be removed surgically. Tummy tuck is often combined with liposuction in order to remove fat tissue first and then concentrate on skin removal.

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