What does abdominal lipectomy consist of, doctor?
It’s a surgical operation that aims to eliminate excess skin and fat from the abdomen, and it’s indicated in cases where it’s not possible to perform a liposuction. Depending on the importance of the abdominal problem, we can perform either an abdominal minilipectomy, when the excess is moderate and requires less resection of skin, or a complete abdominal lipectomy, in cases where there’s a greater volume of excess fat and skin. Although it’s usually recommended that this operation be performed on people with problems of excess weight after slimming, in many cases we use it in very obese patients: it enhances their self-esteem and this encourages them and helps them to slim more easily. We also tend to combine, in addition to the resection of skin and fat, a liposuction of excess lipodistrophies remaining in the abdomen, achieving a better aesthetic result.

What type of anaesthesia is used?
Usually locoregional anaesthesia, reserving general anaesthesia for specific cases. A short hospital admission is required.

What about scars?
An incision is made immediately above the pubic hair, and is prolonged laterally along the groin. Another circular incision has to be made in the periumbilical zone to push the navel outwards. The incisions are made in these zones so that the scars will be totally or partially covered by the patient’s underwear. Although in general the scars are barely visible, in some cases more anti-aesthetic scarring may occur: it will improve after a year or so, but some scars require additional post-operative treatment. Scarring in this zone takes longer in people who smoke or are diabetic.

Is this operation painful?
The post-operative pain of complete abdominal lipectomy is slight to moderate, and disappears almost completely between three and five days after the operation, requiring analgesia combining two drugs.

What risks does this operation involve?
There may be surface bruising. There may also be seroma, which consists in an accumulation of yellowish liquid that can be drained from the wound after eight or ten days (it rarely occurs, but it heals in a few weeks). It’s also very common to have a loss of sensitivity in the skin underneath the navel, which tends to be temporary, disappearing completely after three months.

When can the patient go back to normal life?
The sutures tend to be removed after the twelfth day. During the first few weeks there’s a cutaneous edema, which tends to disappear after two or three months. An abdominal girdle has to be worn day and night for a period of two to five weeks. The final result of the shape of the abdomen is attained in the fourth month. In the case of complete abdominal lipectomy, the minimum sick leave has to be five to eight days, and the patient must avoid making substantial physical efforts for one month.