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The following is information regarding mini-abdominoplasty which is important to review, understand and discuss with family and/or friends before choosing to proceed with this surgery.  

GOALS OF MINI-ABDOMINOPLASTY:  The goal of mini-abdominoplasty is to improve one's body contour specifically by reducing abdominal bulging.  The underlying abdominal muscles are approximated and tightened and excess skin and fat may be removed from the lower abdomen.  There should be an improvement in appearance both in and out of clothing, although in any given patient, these goals may be only partially met.

LIMITATIONS TO THE PROCEDURE:  Generalized obesity cannot be improved by this by this procedure even though the abdominal contour itself may be improved by surgery.  If there are significant amounts of fat underneath the skin, removing the lower abdominal fat and excessive skin will improve, but not necessarily flatten the abdominal outline.  Muscle strength will not be improved, but the resting tone of the abdominal wall flattens the abdominal outline.  Muscle strength will not be improved, but the resting tone of the abdominal wall may be improved.  If there are extensive stretch marks present, particularly above the umbilicus (belly button), stretch marks will remain following surgery.  The results of the surgery are not necessarily permanent.  subsequent alterations of the body contour may occur as a result of aging, weight gain/loss, and pregnancy.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROCEDURE:  If no surgical treatment is undertaken, there is usually a persistent abdominal contour irregularity and lax skin, such as that resulting from pregnancy or excessive weight, which will not be improved through exercise alone.  In some patients, liposuction alone may be used to remove excess abdominal wall fat. The underlying muscle and overlying skin may be a problem with patients who have a wide muscle separation or unusually loose skin.

SURGICAL TECHNIQUES/ANESTHESIA/RECOVERY:  Mini-abdominoplasty is a major surgical operation, which is usually performed under general anesthesia or sedation.  An incision is made above the pubic area.  Excessive skin and fat from the level of the belly button to this incision may be removed.  In the case of excess abdominal skin, the upper abdominal skin is lifted and brought down to the level of the pubic area.  A small incision is made for the belly button to be repositioned (the belly button is not severed during this surgery).  Sutures will be placed around the belly button and in the long incision above the pubic area.  Scars will necessarily result but are well positioned in an area to be hidden with most styles of bathing suits or underwear.  Please note that in some instances, a patient may not have excess skin, but may require tightening of the muscle alone.

The surgery takes a couple of hours with a moderate amount of blood loss. Blood transfusion is usually not required, and we do not require blood to be available for the surgery.  However, if you wish to donate your own blood or have a designated donor provide blood our office can help you arrange this preoperatively.

Following surgery, drains are placed which exit through the corners of the incision.  In some instances, you will be discharged with these drains in place and given instructions to empty them at regular intervals.  An abdominal binder or compression garment is required for several weeks following surgery to help prevent swelling and assist healing.  Lifting and carrying objects greater than 10 pounds is discouraged.  Vigorous physical exercise particularly sits ups and truncal rotation exercises are also prohibited for 6 weeks following surgery.  Immediately following the surgery it is recommended that the patient sleeps with the head of the bed elevated with support slightly under the knees.  Likewise, for the first week following surgery, walking should be performed slightly bent at the waist.

RISK/COMPLICATIONS:  The most common complication following this surgery is a collection of blood or fluid underneath the abdominal flap.. If this is a large amount of fluid it may be necessary to evacuate the fluid by needle aspiration or in rare cases by reopening the incision in the operating room.

As noted previously, the incisions may lead to adverse scarring which might improve over time but will remain permanent.  Some asymmetry or unevenness of the abdominal skin can be expected, particularly in the lower abdominal area.  There may be numbness, particularly below the belly button, which may be permanent.  There may be lumps or irregularities in the underlying fatty tissue, which may improve, but in some instances may be permanent.  There may be temporary discoloration in the operated areas.  Wound infections are rare, but can lead to the separation of the wound requiring special dressing, antibiotic preparation, or in rare instances secondary surgical procedures.  In very rare instances a blood clot may "travel to the lungs" (pulmonary embolus)  Finally there may be an alteration in the position or appearance of the umbilicus.

Even though the risk and complications cited above occur infrequently they are the ones that are peculiar to the operation or of greatest concern.  Other complications and risks can occur but are even more uncommon. Any and all of the risks and complications can result in: Additional surgery, time off work, hospitalization, and expense to you. 

The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science.  Although good results are expected, there can be NO guarantee nor warranty expressed or implied by anyone as to the results that may be obtained.  Many factors beyond the control of the surgeon affect both short and long-term outcomes, including but not limited to each patient's individual tendencies toward scarring, skin quality, genetic makeup, and other health factors.  On occasion, secondary surgeries may be indicated or desired to obtain the optimal result.  If such procedures are performed there may be additional charges incurred by you.

COMMENTS:  If a smoker you must be off cigarettes for 3 weeks before surgery and for 3 weeks after surgery.  There is a much great risk for scarring, poor healing, hair loss, and skin loss in smokers.

Must be off all aspirin-containing products for 3 weeks before surgery and for 3 weeks after surgery.  (Check all medications with us.  Some medications such as Motrin and Advil may also affect clotting).  You must stop all herbal medications 2 weeks prior to surgery.

If there is any item on this that you do not understand call the office.  An explanation or additional information will be provided.

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