Abdominoplasty: your questions answered


One of the questions that is frequently asked is what will happen at the procedure? And how things will go? And what will happen afterwards?

Mind you, abdominoplasty 360-degree liposuctions, whole body liposuctions, they are major procedures. They are not intermediate operations. They are major procedures which will take a good few hours to complete.

We never rush an operation. In fact there are days when we only do one big operation, particularly doing mummy makeovers etc. So in terms of abdominoplasty and liposuctions, ordinarily it will take anything from two and a half to three and a half, four hours because most abdominoplasty will be combined with liposuctions.

You will be put to sleep to have the procedure, you will come back into your own room to recover, but couple of hours before you become really conscious.

Now how I perform my procedures, we will be using lot of local anaesthetic, so that makes you totally numb and one of the biggest advantage is, that you’ll be very comfortable when you wake up and also the anaesthetist will not need to use morphine related medications which create lot of sickness and vomiting, so two big advantages in the way we perform our waistline abdominoplasty and liposuction procedures are that your mobility, your recovery is much quicker, rather pain-free and you are not sick etc.

I would like my patients to mobilise on the same day, the nurses will help you do that. More than likely, in a major liposuction and in a major abdominoplasty you will have a drain. Drain is like a little tube which is coming out, which will stay in your body from 24 hours to 72 hours before it’s removed, and that’s to prevent excessive collection of any leaking of fluid and blood in there so that there is no post-operative complication.

You’ll wake up once you’re comfortable, the nurses will mobilise you take you to the toilet, you would have being given intravenous fluids, at some point we feel that you can start eating and drinking, you’ll be given water to start with, once you’re okay with water, it’ll move to something like tea or coffee, what you prefer, and a few hours later you will have your food.

It is likely that you will stay with us for one night. Some patients prefer staying two nights but most people will be more comfortable at home, so one night is sufficient and they are discharged the next day.

Before you are discharged you’ll be provided with a full post-operative pack of medications, explanations, and etc with telephone numbers including my own telephone number. Most importantly you will be put in a tight garment, you will be explained how to manage the garment, how to go to the loo, how to mobilise, where to sit.

There are three particular instructions that I’m very strict about in the post-operative period that you will have to do. One is breathing exercises, and I will show you how to do your breathing exercises. Opening up of your lungs prevents the complications related to anaesthesia, but more importantly blood flows, oxygen flows, your healing is much better.

Number two, the stockings and antithrombotic measures, you will have to keep them on, and number three, how will you eat and drink over the next few days and move your bowels? Generally speaking lot of drinking, lot of fluids over the first two three days, starting with light snacks on day two day three day four, and then as you become more mobile, and more comfortable you will be moving your bowels and your mobility will increase and we would like you to be mobile regularly.

And again all these instructions will be given to you in writing. Exactly how to do, and we will be available 24/7 if you were not sure about something or if you wanted to clarify something. And that’s how the whole procedure is managed.

One last thing, how do we manage pain?

As I have explained before, I will be putting long-acting anaesthetics both into your muscles when they have been repaired as well as into your skin. So they tend to keep you numb for anything from 12 hours up to 48-72 hours as well sometimes.

So you will then be provided with two or three different pain medications, and there will be a sheet explaining how to take those pain medications. You will take those pain medications without a break regardless of whether you have pain or not.

So by the time your numbness starts wearing off and the pain starts hitting, you already have plenty in your blood to control the pain and you just continue doing that, the idea is that we will convert your pain into bit of a discomfort rather than having lots of pain, but of course things can be modified accordingly postoperatively if need be. We’ll be available to assess, check, and modify and manage any problems.

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