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Abdominoplasty and Abdominal Wall Rehabilitation: A Comprehensive Approach

Ramirez Oscar M. M.D
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: January 2000
Cosmetic Special Topic: PDF Only

Standard abdominoplasty techniques involve a low horizontal or W skin excision, muscle plication, and umbilical transposition. Newer techniques include suction-assisted lipectomy, the use of high lateral tension with fascial suspension, and external oblique muscle advancement. The author has modified these traditional procedures and added new techniques to improve the aesthetic and functional results of the abdominoplasty procedure. This modification provides a comprehensive approach to abdominal wall aesthetic improvement and rehabilitation. The comprehensive approach described includes four components: the “U-M dermolipectomy,” “V umbilicoplasty,” the rectus abdominis “myofascial release,” and suctionassisted lipectomy. The patient is marked while standing for areas of suction lipectomy and undermining. The lower incision is designed as an open U with the lateral limbs placed inside the bikini line. The upper incision is a lazy M with the higher peaks located at the level of the flanks. Subcutaneous hydration is achieved to perform suction along the flanks, waistline, and iliac areas. Gentle suction of the flaps is also performed. The umbilicus is cored out in a heart shape. The flaps within the U-M marks are excised, and the undermining is performed to the xiphoid and costal margins. The rectus diastasis is marked, and the anterior rectus fascia is incised at the junction of the medial third with the central third of the width of the rectus sheath. Horizontal figure-eight plication sutures by using the lateral fascial edge enable easier infolding of the central tissue. The new recipient of the umbilicus is made by an incision in a V shape on the abdominal flap. The umbilicus is telescoped, and the triangular flap of the abdomen is sutured to the triangular defect of the umbilicus. Skin flap fixation to the umbilicus relieves tension in the lower portion of the flap. The upper skin flap, which is cut in an M manner, provides lateral tension and matches the length of the lower flap. A standard fascial suspension is used and closure is performed in layers. The techniques described here are intertwined procedures. Each facilitates the accomplishment of the other procedure, and they complement each other. They all attain the 12 objectives of the abdominoplasty described. These combined techniques have been used in 104 patients in a period of 11 years. Complications were minimal and easily manageable, except for one patient who required excision of a pseudobursa and retightening of the lower quadrants of the abdominal wall musculature to correct extreme lordosis. A comprehensive approach for the treatment of complex abdominal wall aesthetic and functional defects is presented. These require thoughtful integration of the four components mentioned. This approach has allowed predictable, reproducible, and aesthetically pleasing results. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 105: 425, 2000.)

From the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Received for publication April 27, 1999; revised June 28, 1999.

Oscar M. Ramirez, M.D.

Esthetique International

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Timonium, Md. 21093

Baltimore, Md.

©2000American Society of Plastic Surgeons