Hanging abdomen with an apron is unsightly and uncomfortable for any woman. Not able to wear the dress of their choice is so depressing to anyone. The self esteem gets down with every morning seeing the self profile. But they can be happy that there is a sure way out.
Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck is a surgical procedure which is performed to remove excess fat and skin from the abdomen and to tighten the abdominal wall muscle and fascia.
Patients need to consult a surgeon who is well-versed with the problem and its corrective measures. Detailed physical examination with abdominal girth, height, weight, BMI, BP, Pulse, oxygen saturation to be checked. The co-existing problems like diabetes, hypertension, snoring, respiratory difficulty with walking, menstrual irregularities, stress incontinence and psychological problem (mainly depression).
The psychological impact of these illness on the patient is very significant. They will be always worried about and other is depression seeing the bad body contour every day. Being not able to wear the dress they like and not able to move around comfortably also keeps them introverts and less sociable. Many jobs also demand people with normal BMI and body shapes. Even promotions are jeopardized by these abnormalities. The associated medical problems and the need for medication for the same will also be making patients uncomfortable and dissatisfied in life.
Those who have increased BMI should be advised for weight reduction. To a good extend it is possible by diet regulations and exercise. There are some drugs available to reduce weight but it helps in reducing weight around 4-5 kg only. Those with higher BMI will be benefitted by intra-gastric balloon placement or by bariatric surgery of which sleeve gastrectomy is the best. Abdominal obesity also gets controlled to a great extent by these procedures.
Divarication of recti (the separation of muscle in the central abdomen), the ventral hernia and sagging skin with fat (the abdominal apron) needs tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). The exercises to tone the abdominal wall, weight reduction or application of any kind of solutions or application of slim devices like vibrators are not going to give any kind of benefit to these patients.
The procedure of tummy tuck involves a pre-hospitalization checkup including blood tests. Ultrasound abdomen is performed to rule out any other surgical problem in abdomen like an ovarian cyst or gall bladder stones which can be talked at the same time. The necessary consultations will also be done with other specialists as needed.
The operation is done under anaesthesia, either general or regional, so that patient will be comfortable. The incision will be made at the lowest skin crease of abdomen to give excellent cosmetic outcome. The skin and subcutaneous fat will be mobilized. The muscles which are far apart will be brought together. In case of hernia a net like material (mesh) will be used to give additional strength. The excess fat and skin will be removed and wound closed. The wound closure is also done in a careful manner with no stitches outside. This also will add to the perfect healing with very minimal scar. The scar will be completely hidden by the smallest of dress.
Patient needs to be in hospital for 2-3 days and can resume normal activities after that. All kinds of job can be started within two weeks time. Wearing an abdominal binder during this period will give additional comfort.
The outcomes are such great that patients get immediate results and regain self esteem. The profile changes and any modern dress will suit the person. The medical issues related to the divarication like dragging pain in abdomen and backache due to the abnormal posture and weight of ventral hernia will also get resolved. In those with higher BMI and sagging abdomen the procedure to reduce weight (sleeve gastrectomy) is done along with the tummy tuck thereby avoiding scars of the bariatric surgery and unnecessary second hospitalization. Combination of these procedures is an innovative method developed at our centre to give maximal benefit for patient with superior quality of life.