Abdominoplasty helps to flatten and shape the abdomen and waist by removing excess fat and skin and tightening muscles. The best candidates have pockets of fat or loose skin that haven't responded well to diet and exercise. The procedure can also be useful for women with stretched skin and muscles from pregnancy.
The procedure takes approximately two to five hours and can be performed with general anesthesia or local anesthesia with a sedative. Recovery time ranges from two weeks to a few months. With a balanced diet and regular exercise, results are long-lasting. Abdominoplasty will likely leave a permanent scar stretching between the hips, although it should be low enough for even a bikini to conceal it.
The most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the U.S., liposuction sculpts the body by removing undesirable fat that has not responded to diet and exercise from areas such as the abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, chin, cheeks, neck and upper arms. Local anesthesia or general anesthesia may be used, and the procedure can last anywhere from one to five hours depending on the amount of fat being removed.
There are several different methods surgeons use when performing liposuction, including ultrasound-assisted lipectomy (UAL) and suction-assisted lipectomy (SAL). In both types, fluid is injected into the area to be treated. Then a tiny incision is made in as inconspicuous a place as possible, and a cannula (small tube) breaks up the fat layer and suctions it out.
After substantial weight loss, weight gain or simply from the effects of aging, skin on the upper arms can become inelastic, loose and flabby. Arm lifts, also known as brachioplasty, remove that excess skin and fat. Patients who have significant amounts of fat may want to consider combining the procedure with liposuction.
A thigh lift is performed to remove excess skin and fat from the upper legs. Candidates typically suffer from loose, inelastic skin after extreme weight loss due to diet, exercise or bariatric surgery. Because of this, the procedure is often combined with others such as breast lifts, face lifts and arm lifts to retain an attractive body proportion.
In a medial thigh lift (inner thigh lift), the surgical incision is made in the inner thigh along the line where the leg meets the groin. In a lateral thigh lift (outer thigh lift), the incision is made from the groin around the back of the body, so that the buttocks are lifted along with the thigh.
The body lift is performed to remove loose, excess skin from the torso and upper legs. It offers an improvement in appearance for patients who have lost significant amounts of weight due to childbearing, diet, exercise or bariatric surgery. The procedure is often combined with others such as breast lifts and arm lifts to retain a proper body proportion.
A panniculectomy removes hanging fat and skin, typically after massive weight loss. It may be performed as a single procedure or combined with a tummy-tuck, depending on the patient's condition. Panniculectomy is different from abdominoplasty, in that abdominoplasty tightens the muscle as well as removes excess skin and fat, but a panniculectomy only removes excess skin and fat. A panniculectomy may also be performed with another abdominal surgery, such as a hysterectomy, or repair of the abdominal wall or hernia of the belly button.
A hernia occurs when tissue or part of an organ, usually the intestines, protrudes through the abdominal wall. Hernias do not heal on their own. Among the most common procedures in the U.S., hernia surgery pushes the protruding tissue back into place and repairs the weakened or torn muscle that allowed it to pass through. This alleviates pain and corrects or prevents the occurrence of more serious problems.