Liposuction with abdominoplasty: is it OK to do the operation together?

Liposuction with abdominoplasty: is it OK to do the operation together?

In the field of aesthetic surgery, some procedures are gender-specific, while others address issues that can cause discomfort for both men and women. Generally speaking, the concern commonly referred to as "love handles" seems to be more prevalent among men. On the other hand, having a flat stomach is the dream of everyone, although it is not always achievable. Various factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and life events, can contribute to an increased waistline, involving excess fat and skin.

While proper diet and exercise may play a role, they are not always sufficient. This is where a surgeon becomes the key to reshaping the body. But can Abdominoplasty and Liposuction be performed simultaneously? Let's explore.

Why the Unpleasant Belly?

The causes of this aesthetic concern can vary:

  • Incorrect lifestyle, possibly characterized by an unhealthy diet and a sedentary life, facilitating the accumulation of fat.

  • Lifestyle changes. Some patients, with a history described in the previous point, decide to make changes. However, if significant weight loss occurs, typically around 30 kg or more, the skin may not adapt to the rapid volume reduction. Consequently, the abdomen becomes relatively flat but appears quite loose.

  • Motherhood. The motivations are similar to the previous point. The volumetric change in the belly happens rapidly, within a few months. It expands to accommodate the baby and then quickly contracts, potentially leaving some extra weight and stressed skin, as seen after significant weight loss. Additionally, there may be a separation of the rectus abdominis muscles, known as diastasis.

    • In reality, it's often not just the belly that bears the signs of pregnancy. Hence, there are combinations of surgeries designed specifically to restore a toned body for new mothers.

Abdominoplasty and Liposuction: Similarities and Differences.

Similarities:

Abdominoplasty and Liposuction are the two "lifesavers" for many patients who have a less toned or "presentable" waistline. Many of them refrain from wearing swimsuits or being seen naked, even by their partners. This obviously represents a significant limitation. Thus, although these are entirely different procedures, as you will see shortly, they have in common the anatomical region they can address.

Differences:

There are more distinctions. The most crucial one is undoubtedly the aesthetic concern they aim to correct:

  • In the case of excess fat, Liposuction is the solution. This surgery can eliminate those pockets of fat that diet and exercise cannot eliminate. It is the optimization of an ideally already started improvement process. Sometimes, it can represent the starting point, but it should never be its substitution.

  • For loose skin and diastasis, Abdominoplasty comes into play.

    • In this case, it removes the sagging skin caused by significant volumetric changes, as mentioned earlier, either due to substantial weight loss or after one or more pregnancies.

    • Additionally, it can "tighten" the abdominal wall if it has been separated by excessive outward pressure, such as that of a growing child or visceral fat pushing from the inside.

These are two surgeries that work in very different ways, almost to be considered opposite in terms of the surgical approach.

Liposuction:

  • Has minimal incisions, if any significant ones, only small cuts of a few millimeters cleverly hidden in skin folds or areas with color changes.

  • Swelling is undoubtedly the most significant aesthetic concern, but it is limited by immediately placing a compression garment in the operating room. Lymphatic drainage massages are also recommended.

  • The surgery is relatively short, and the post-operative period is not particularly restrictive, only a gentler pace for the first few weeks.

Abdominoplasty:

  • Has rather long scars.

  • Swelling is also a consideration here, and it can be limited by a compression garment.

  • The surgery is challenging, both in terms of execution time and post-operative care. The patient, in this case, needs to be genuinely patient and wait for the right time to resume various activities. We are talking about a couple of months for full recovery.

Abdominoplasty and Liposuction Together: Is It Possible?

The answer is generally affirmative. In fact, the recommendation is to perform them simultaneously, especially to reduce localized fat deposits on the sides of the abdomen. As for central adiposity, which presents with skin laxity simultaneously, although treatable at the same time, some caution is needed in planning the intervention.

While the trends of the last decade favor combining the two procedures, it should be noted that an aggressive center-abdominal liposuction combined with extensive skin detachment necessary to adequately correct significant skin excess (separation of the skin layer from the underlying muscle before removing the excess) poses some additional risks. This is due to a temporary compromise of blood supply to the abdominal skin (both from aggressive subcutaneous thinning and extensive skin detachment), sometimes significantly. It is enough to create healing problems, the most feared of which is cutaneous necrosis.

Careful patient selection by the surgeon is necessary to reduce this eventuality. Significant risk factors to consider include cigarette smoking, a high body mass index, or diseases such as diabetes.

The planning of the intervention in terms of invasiveness, as mentioned above, is also essential. This is, of course, a purely technical choice that concerns the surgeon. However, you should be aware of it.

The advice I can give you is to have a thorough explanation of the surgery during the preliminary visit so that all the pros and cons of a possible combined surgical approach are clear to you. Feel free to ask questions about the risks and their likelihood during that time.

If you are unhappy with your abdomen, don't worry, come to my studio to evaluate together and in a more personalized way the surgery or surgeries that could truly "change your life."




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