Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that helps to flatten and shape the abdomen and waist by removing excess fat and skin and tightening muscles.
The best candidates are in good physical condition with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven't responded well to diet and exercise. Older, slightly obese people whose skin has lost some of its elasticity can be helped. Abdominoplasty can also be useful for women with stretched skin and muscles from pregnancy, although results from the procedure will diminish if they continue to bear children. For this reason, women who plan to have children again are advised to delay abdominoplasty. Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight are also encouraged to wait before undergoing the procedure, since skin in that area typically loosens after substantial weight loss.
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, but 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. Patients who have had previous abdominal surgery should know that their old scars could be raised, stretched or generally more noticeable after the procedure. Other, rare post-operative complications include infection, blood clots, and poor healing, which may require further surgery.
Dr. Moye will make two incisions: one from hipbone to hipbone close to the pubic area, and one around the navel. Skin is separated from the abdominal muscles, which are then pulled together and stitched into place for a firmer abdomen and narrower waist. The skin flap is stretched down and over the newly tightened muscles, excess skin is removed, and the navel is reattached. Finally, the incisions will be stitched, dressings will be applied, and a temporary tube may be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.
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The most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the U.S. today, liposuction sculpts the body by removing undesirable fat from areas of the body such as the abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, chin, cheeks, neck and upper arms that have not responded to diet and exercise. Local anesthesia or general anesthesia may be used and 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 tumescent liposuction, the super-wet technique, and ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL). In all types a tiny incision is made in as inconspicuous a place as possible. A cannula (small tube) is inserted and moved back-and-forth beneath the skin, breaking up the fat layer and suctioning it out. Tumescent liposuction and super-wet liposuction use fluid injection, which facilitates fat removal, reduces blood loss, provides anesthesia during and after surgery, and helps to reduce the amount of bruising after surgery. UAL liquefies fat with ultrasonic energy and is highly precise.
After surgery, drainage tubes, compression garments and antibiotics may be needed to facilitate the healing process. Patients are encouraged to walk as soon as they are able and many return to work within a few days, although strenuous activity should be avoided for about a month. Results are visible immediately, though improvement may continue as swelling subsides during the first three months. Scars are small and inconspicuous. Other irregularities in appearance are possible, such as asymmetric or "baggy" skin, numbness and pigmentation changes.
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The arm lift (or brachioplasty) attempts to procure a more natural and youthful look by removing the fat and excess skin hanging down from the underarms. This is more commonly seen in women, but can occur in men who have lost significant weight. The incision is made beneath the arm and can extend from the elbow to the armpit, varying upon how much skin must be removed. However, most patients are satisfied with the results and believe trading "skin for scars" is worthwhile, especially when they are efficiently hidden by Dr. Moye.
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