After significant weight loss, though diet and exercise or perhaps after having surgery like a gastric band or gastric bypass, your tummy fat can disappear very quickly. This can leave you feeling much better in clothes and can also have a really positive impact on your general health. Unfortunately, after major weight loss, your tummy may not shrink back to where it used to be and you can be left with lots of loose folds of skin. This can look unsightly when undressed and can even cause sores within the folds of your skin. In cases such as this, a normal tummy-tuck may not be suitable for you, as you require much more skin tightening than this simpler procedure can provide.
A fleur-de-lys abdominoplasty removes the excess skin and fat on your tummy in two directions (vertical and horizontal), rather than in just one direction like the standard abdominoplasty (vertical). This procedure is therefore ideal for massive weight loss patients. The surgery also tightens the inner core muscles, weakened by large weight gain. The skin between the belly button and pubic area is removed first and then a second wedge of skin and fat is removed down the middle of your tummy, from the breastbone down to your pubic area. The belly button stalk is then re-sited along this vertical scar. The scar from a fleur-de-lys abdominoplasty is an upside-down T shaped scar. You should only undergo this more extensive procedure if you can accept this additional midline scar.
Choosing to have a fleur-de-lys abdomoniplasty (tummy tuck) can have a truly positive impact on many aspects of your life after weight loss. Aside from making you feel much more comfortable going about your day-to-day life, you could have the flexibility to choose your clothes, underwear and swimwear in a completely new light. The surgery can really change your life and increase your confidence.
What is involved in the procedure?
Once you have decided that ‘fleur-de-lys tummy-tuck’ surgery is the right procedure for you, we will arrange a surgery date that suits you. The surgery is performed under general anaesthetic (with you asleep) and takes 3 hours.
An incision is made just above the pubic area, along the bikini line from one hipbone to the other. If you have a previous Caesarean section scar, part of the incision will be in the same area. A second incision is usually made between your breastbone, down to your pubis, skirting around the belly button to disconnect it from the underlying abdominal muscle wall. Excess fat and skin are then removed and cut away. The rectus muscles (ab’s) are then tightened, reducing the waistline. The skin is then re-draped over the tummy and stitched in place, re-siting the belly button into its new position.
You will need to stay in hospital for 1 or 2 nights following surgery to ensure you are pain free and well rested before going home. A special abdominal garment is fitted over the dressings and this should be worn for around 6 weeks day and night following surgery. The aim of this garment is to reduce swelling and contour the tummy but should also help to reduce pain.
Time to Recover
During the first week of recovery, you will need plenty of rest and limited movement to allow your body to heal. You will be unable to drive for 2 weeks following surgery. You will probably experience some bruising and swelling following the procedure, and you should take analgesics to help with the discomfort. After one week you will return to hospital to have your dressings changed and then you will need to take it easy for up to 4 weeks, depending on how well you have healed and how you feel. After this time you can expect to return to your normal routines, including gentle exercise. Full aerobic exercise can be resumed after 6 weeks. It will probably take around a year for everything to settle down completely and for you to see the true results.
A fleur-de-lys tummy-tuck has an extremely positive outcome in patients who have lost a large amount of weight. After this surgery, you should feel much more comfortable as the loose folds of skin are removed from your tummy. Hopefully, your self-esteem and overall confidence will increase alongside this.
Available at HMT Sancta Maria, Spire Cardiff Hospital, Nuffield Health and BMI Werndale