Having a baby is an exciting and life-changing event for a woman, but it does not come without some negative physical changes that may continue after the baby is born. One change that is common in pregnancy, and that does not go away postpartum, is the advent of stretch marks.
A person who has been overweight or obese can make lifestyle changes that yield a healthier, slimmer, better-contoured body. As the weight decreases, unsightly stretch marks caused by excess weight remain.
Is there a cure for stretch marks? Are there any creams or lotions that can make them disappear with regular use? How about non-invasive medical treatments to get rid of stretch marks?
Some moisturizing creams or ones containing Vitamin A can improve and/or lighten the appearance of stretch marks, but none have been found to erase them completely. For the lower abdominal stretch marks, there is one way to eliminate them surgically.
CAN ABDOMINOPLASTY TREAT AND ELIMINATE STRETCH MARKS?
What is an Abdominoplasty
An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is a form of cosmetic plastic surgery of the abdomen which tightens abdominal muscles and removes excess skin caused by weight loss. The result of a successful abdominoplasty will be the eradication of skin wrinkles and a slimmer, more toned and shapely physique.
Patients who seek abdominoplasty are often women who have given birth multiple times or overweight people who have lost weight but find themselves with loose, saggy skin which cannot be fixed with diet and/or regular exercise.
In performing an abdominoplasty, the surgeon may augment the procedure with liposuction or other body-sculpting methods to produce a more symmetrical and natural looking result.
Basic Facts about Abdominoplasty
- Time Required for Procedure is 1.5 to 3 hours
- In-Patient Time: 2-3 days/nights
- Recovery Time (Out of Work) 1-2 weeks
- Exercise avoided for 6 weeks postoperatively
Benefits of Having an Abdominoplasty
If you are a candidate for abdominoplasty, after you have healed from the procedure, you will be rewarded with an elevated self-image and an enhanced level of self-esteem.
Whether your weight gain was due to pregnancy or lifestyle habits that led to excess weight accumulation, you can reclaim the lean, well-proportioned figure you thought was gone forever.
Another bonus of the surgery will be that stretch marks in the lower abdominal area will be removed, since all redundant skin left over after the muscle tightening procedure will be excised. The leaner, tighter abdomen will be free of stretch marks, from the area of incision down to the pubic area.
Before and after photos of people who have healed from abdominoplasty show a shapely, tight, well-contoured abdomen with no stretch marks.
It is important to remember that stretch marks on other parts of the body will not be affected by the procedure.
How to Prepare for an Abdominoplasty Procedure
A physical examination and probably lab testing will be required prior to an abdominoplasty procedure. Once this is done and any contraindications to the procedure have been ruled out, your procedure can be scheduled.
The surgeon may prescribe new medications, discontinue some you have been taking, and adjust the dosage of others. If you are a smoker, you will be advised to stop smoking prior to the procedure.
Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medications will need to be discontinued before the surgery. Herbal supplements will need to be stopped as well since some can cause increased bleeding in the operative or postoperative period.
How is Abdominoplasty Performed?
An incision will likely be made from above the pubic area, below the navel, to each hip bone. Another incision will be made around the umbilicus.
The skin is detached from the foundational fascia and muscle. Sutures are made to rearrange the position and tightness of the muscles, giving the abdominal area a more taut and solid appearance.
If liposuction is needed to remove excess fat and improve the overall appearance of this part of the body, it is done at this juncture. At this point, excess skin and any unwanted fat not removed by liposuction are removed using a scalpel and the remaining skin is sutured back into the proper position.
If an incision was made around the umbilicus to allow for movement of the overall skin flap, a new opening will be created and the umbilical stalk will be relocated to the new opening.
At times, this extensive a procedure may not be necessary, as the excess skin and fat may be confined to the area immediately below the belly button. A mini-abdominoplasty may be performed with a shorter incision and less tissue being removed.
In this case, the incision around the umbilicus may not be performed and its position post-surgery may be a bit lower than it had been previously.
A mini-abdominoplasty might sometimes be performed on an outpatient basis. This will also eliminate stretch marks on the lower abdomen. The removal of these stretch marks will be permanent because the affected skin has been removed.
Some patients may still opt for a full abdominoplasty, even if a smaller incision is adequate, because when combined with liposuction, a better body contour may be achieved.
Recovery Period for Abdominoplasty
Analgesics will be prescribed for postoperative pain during the first week. Bleeding will be controlled by small drainage tubes placed under the skin during surgery and removed approximately one day after surgery.
Your doctor will provide an elastic compression garment custom-sized for you to wear in the immediate postoperative period to avoid opening of incisions.
In considering the pros and cons of having an abdominoplasty to eliminate excess fat, loose, saggy skin and stubborn stretch marks, you must count the cost and consider the long-term benefits.
Downtime, postoperative discomfort, beginning lifestyle changes, commitment to meticulous post-surgical wound care in exchange for a lifetime of a stronger, slimmer, healthier YOU!
Weigh the options, count the cost, anticipate the rewards and make your choice for a better, brighter future!
To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact New York's #1 rated plastic surgeon, Dr. Douglas S. Steinbrech at (347)983-9560 or online at www.drsteinbrech.com. Dr. Steinbrech specializes in the area of body lift surgery including tummy tuck procedures and excels in using smaller incisions and minimally invasive techniques for an easier recovery and superior post-surgical results.