Abdominal Liposuction

The abdomen is the most frequently treated area, especially among women. The surgery is particularly popular in the Northeast and the West Coast. In abdominal liposuction, excessive, unwanted fat is removed from the tummy to obtain a well-sculpted and flat shape. Upper, lower, or whole abdomen – liposuction of the tummy can treat all. Numerous variables influence the outcome of this plastic surgery.

Dynamics Influencing the Results of Abdominal Liposuction:

  • Patient’s Gender: Women have more elastic fat than men. A male body has dense, fibrous, and less pliable adipose tissues. Therefore, tummy liposuction is more successful with women.
  • Weight Loss Patterns: Your weight should be stable for at least 6 months before the liposuction of stomach. Obesity followed by substantial weight loss results in the production of ‘difficult to treat’ fibrous fat. Consequently, in such cases, the abdomen liposuction procedure cannot remove the fat very effectively.
  • Past Pregnancies: After pregnancy, abdominal muscles tend to stretch and form a protuberance in the lower abdomen. Similarly, in the case of C-section, any gynecological surgery, and/or hernia operation, a bulge of fat often forms just above the horizontal Pfannenstiel incision, commonly known as ‘bikini line incision.’ Stomach liposuction helps modify this contouring issue. However, if the tummy muscles are too stretched, especially due to pregnancy, then tummy tuck offers a better solution than liposculpture.
  • Location of Abdominal Fat: Based on location, the abdominal fat has the following two types:
    • Superficial Fat: Also called subcutaneous fat, it is located right under the skin and above the muscles. Liposuction can easily remove localized adipose tissues. The cosmetic results are quite encouraging in this case.
    • Deep Seated Fat: Visceral or intra-abdominal fat is located in the abdominal cavity, close to the vital organs, especially around the intestine. This fat is quite unhealthy and its excess is often related to diabetes or cardiac complications. Therefore, this fat must be eliminated. However, it does not respond to liposuction. Strict diet and a regular exercise regimen are the only ways to get rid of this fat and slim the abdomen down. Strengthening the abdominal muscles, helps achieve firmness.
    • Quantity of Fat: The greater the amount of fat to be removed, the trickier the process becomes.
    • Abdominal Muscle Tone: In liposuction, nice muscle tone helps acquire the desired shape promptly, while keeping the scars to a minimum. However, if the abdominal muscles are too stretched, then tummy tuck is a better procedure for fat removal.
    • Age: The age of the patient does not much affect liposuction of abdomen. However, the finest cosmetic effects have been achieved when the patient is young and has supple skin.
    • Skin Quality: An inelastic skin may not take the desired shape and may appear creased or wrinkled, especially in the upper abdominal area. This may require some skin tightening or lifting techniques. However, a majority of patients have elastic abdominal skin, exhibiting desired contraction during the postoperative recovery.

The Procedure

Tumescent liposuction using small microcannulae and local anesthesia is the commonest and the safest liposuction technique employed in abdominal liposuction. The method causes less bruising and swelling and has a short recovery span.

Side Effects

Liposuction of the stomach often results in soreness, bruising, swelling, and slight pain, which is common after any liposculpture procedure. You may feel a little discomfort when bending at the waist. Post liposuction edema (swelling due to fluid accumulation in the body) in the abdomen takes longer to subside than in other treated body parts. Since the abdomen is a large body area, swelling, aches, and skin lumps start subsiding gradually around 6 weeks after liposuction.

Post-Operative Recovery from Liposuction Abdomen

Your doctor will most likely advise a short walk a few hours after the surgery and a shower at least once daily, 24 hours after the surgery. Most abdominal liposuction patients are able to resume their routine within 3-4 days of the surgery.

Risks of Tummy Liposuction

A complete health check up prior to the surgery helps minimize the risks of liposuction. The major perils of abdominal liposuction are as follows:

  • Excessive Surgical Complications: Previous liposuction surgeries on the abdomen lead to the formation of fibrous connective tissue (fibrosis) in the remaining subcutaneous fat. This adds to the complexity of the successive procedures.
  • Punctured Organs: The risk of damage to internal organs is ever-present in the case of abdominal liposuction. Any such damage is often easily diagnosed and repaired in the case of local anesthesia. However, the patient is not able to ‘feel’ such impairments under general anesthesia. Any delay (beyond 16 hours) in damage control may prove fatal for the patient.
  • Abdominal Hernia: Abdominal hernia in the lower stomach, near the belly button, may complicate the fat removal process. The chances of injury to the vital organs are quite high in such cases. Therefore, liposuction should take place around 6 months after the hernia is removed from the body.
  • Previous Invasive Treatment: Avoiding multiple procedures simultaneously is considered a standard practice in liposuction. The causes and effects of any other treatment mostly interfere with the surgery. Therefore, any previous abdominal surgery, laparoscopy, and/or radiation treatment in the tummy region may compound the risks of abdominal liposuction.
  • Breathing Problem: Pressing upon the operated area is important for liposuction recovery. However, excessive compression after abdominal liposuction may block normal lung expansion. This may trigger breathing troubles for the patient.
  • Excessive Liposuction: The abdomen is one of the largest body areas eligible for liposuction. Accordingly, the chances of a large quantity of fat removal are high. Therefore, the surgeon needs to be extra careful to keep a check on the liposuction fat quantity.

Effectiveness Index

Before the arrival of liposuction, abdominoplasty or tummy tuck was used for fat removal. The process also helps firm up the skin. However, liposuction is a much simpler, safer, quicker, and cheaper process. Therefore, since the launch of abdominal liposuction, tummy tuck is used mostly for skin tightening and stretch mark removal. Liposuction results show up fully after around six months. Then, if you feel you do need skin firming, tummy tuck can be an option. However, in most cases, liposuction alone delivers satisfactory results and no follow up surgery is needed.

Abdominal Liposuction Cost: The total abdominal liposuction costs stay the same as that of any liposuction procedure. The surgical charges (including the surgeon’s fees) range from $2000-7500.