There are several ways to correct an out-of-shape abdomen. The method used depends on the amount of fat or excess skin to be removed, the patient's overall health, age and preferences. Options include:
Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)
Endoscopic tummy tuck
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
Abdominoplasty, commonly called a "tummy tuck," is useful in removing loose, stretched skin on the abdomen. This operation is usually performed under general anesthesia and involves surgically cutting out excess skin and fat from the belly and tightening the abdominal muscles. The belly button may be repositioned during the procedure. The result is a flatter abdomen.
A partial abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, may be an option if a patient needs a less extensive abdomen-tightening procedure. This operation, usually done under local anesthesia and sedation, removes excess skin in a smaller area of the belly than with a complete abdominoplasty, so the scar is shorter. Unlike in a full tummy tuck, the belly button is not moved. The surgeon may tighten the abdominal muscles along with removing skin and fat.
Endoscopic Tummy Tuck
Patients with small amounts of excess abdominal skin and fat may be eligible for an endoscopic tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). The surgeon performs a tummy tuck through several small incisions while looking through a lighted tube called an endoscope. Endoscopic surgery leaves smaller scars than traditional surgery and may reduce bleeding, bruises and swelling.
This surgery is similar to a tummy tuck but is more complex. Panniculectomy cuts out the large abdominal apron of fat that hangs down in obese people or those who have lost a great deal of weight.
If a patient has firm, elastic skin, he or she may be able to have liposuction instead of a tummy tuck. As the name implies, liposuction uses suction to remove fat deposits. The suction usually comes from a high-pressure vacuum pump. This suction pump attaches to a tube, which the surgeon inserts into a small cut in the body.
For further information about liposuction, go to Liposuction.