The operation is usually done for cosmetic reasons, with the aim to improve the appearance of a flabby or bulging belly caused by ageing, pregnancies or rapid weight loss.
It can also be done as a reconstructive operation to:
- correct abnormalities after a disease or surgery, such as removal of large pelvic tumours
- fix structural defects of the abdomen
- correct abnormalities caused by obesity
- improve the contour of the abdomen after hernia repair.
An apronectomy is another operation sometimes done in addition to an abdominoplasty. It involves removing a hanging 'apron' of abdominal fat that can cover the genitals, make personal hygiene difficult and cause ongoing skin irritation.
If you are thinking about an abdominoplasty
Many people people feel a great deal of pressure to appear perfect. This operation might improve your appearance and possibly your quality of life. But it is major surgery, and not suitable for everyone.
If you are obese, think about whether you have done all you can without surgery. Would seeing a dietitian help? Are there ways to exercise more regularly? Do you have all the support you need?
Consider whether you can afford this surgery and if it will give you the results you expect. Medicare doesn't cover the cost of cosmetic surgery, and often private health insurance doesn't either except in rare situations when abdominoplasty is done for reconstructive reasons and not cosmetic reasons.
Before a surgeon will perform this operation, you usually need to be at a stable weight. You may be asked to postpone the operation if you aim to become pregnant or lose a lot of weight.
You should also be aware that:
- If you have recently given birth, it can take a long time to get your abdominal muscles in shape again.
- Having an abdominoplasty will not prevent you from regaining weight.