Abdominoplasty or liposuction? Questions to PD Dr. Mathias Tremp

The excess of fatty tissue, especially on the abdomen, is a common problem. Often the fat remains even despite regular physical exercise or diet. There are various treatment options.

Liposuction in combination with a nutritional consultation is certainly a very efficient and close treatment. Patients with excess skin, especially after significant weight loss, also benefit from an abdominoplasty.

Also read: Aesthetic and reconstructive surgery on the body, body lifting, buttock lifting and pomodelling, female intimate area

How does liposuction work?

Before liposuction, a so-called tumescent solution is injected into the fatty tissue. This form of local anaesthesia prepares the tissue by stretching it, reduces the risk of bleeding and, as a positive side effect, reduces the risk of infection.

We use the so-called PAL® (power assisted liposuction) MicroAir device. The PAL system works with a vibration technique that is particularly gentle on the tissue. The cannula vibrates up to 4'000 times per minute. This procedure is very efficient and is gentle on the surrounding tissue and lymphatic system.

How is an abdominoplasty performed?

In an abdominoplasty, the excess skin is removed. The incision is made in the bikini line, the length of the scar depends on the extent of the excess skin. In the case of discrete excess skin in the lower abdomen, a so-called mini-abdominoplasty is sufficient, the scar corresponds to a caesarean section scar.

In the case of more pronounced excess skin, the incision can be widened horizontally or vertically (Fleur de Lys abdominoplasty). As a rule, the navel is also prepared and reattached in the correct position. If there is an additional rectus diastasis (=interspace between the straight abdominal muscles), the abdominal wall muscles are reconstructed with a so-called rectus application.

Can an abdominoplasty be performed with liposuction?

Very often an abdominoplasty is combined with liposuction (lipo-abdominoplasty) when there is excess skin and fatty tissue at the same time.

This leads to an improved shape (High Definition Liposuction, Lipoabdominoplasty).

Does the procedure require a general anaesthetic or can it be performed under local anaesthetic? Is the procedure painful?

An abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia. Liposuction can usually be performed under local anaesthesia or so-called twilight sleep, this varies from person to person.

After the procedure the pain feels like sore muscles, we will give you appropriate pain medication.

How long is the procedure? Is the procedure performed as an outpatient or inpatient procedure?

Depending on the fatty tissue, the liposuction takes 60 - 180 minutes. The abdominoplasty takes about 90 - 210 minutes. An overnight stay is recommended for the abdominoplasty. Liposuction is usually performed as an outpatient procedure.

What are the risks?

After the liposuction, there is a temporary numbness that will normalize over the next 6 months. The formation of dents is minimal with modern technology. Other risks such as infections, bleeding or so-called fat embolisms (occlusion of blood vessels (embolism) due to fat droplets being deposited) are very rare.

After the abdominoplasty there is a feeling of numbness which will partially recover after about two years. Possible complications are wound healing disorders, post-operative bleeding or infections.

How long will I be incapable of working?

After a liposuction you should rest for about 5-7 days. After an abdominoplasty you will be able to work again after about 2-4 weeks.

What do I have to consider after the operation?

It is important, especially after liposuction, that you start lymph drainage relatively soon. In addition, you must consistently wear an abdominal belt for 4 weeks.

The compression garment stabilises the surgical area, promotes healing and reduces bruising. In addition, you should keep your weight stable after the operation and try to lose weight. Nutritional advice will help you with this. You can resume physical activity after 4 weeks.

What are the costs?

The consultation is free of charge.

The costs of liposuction vary from person to person and depend on the duration of the operation. Abdominoplasty can occasionally be covered by health insurance, especially after significant weight loss. This must be checked individually.

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