Damage to the abdominal wall due to hernias, prior abdominal surgery or other types of injury can lead to ongoing complications. A hernia takes place when the fascia of the abdominal wall separate, causing contents to protrude or bulge through this opening. Hernias can be painful and can also inhibit the function of the intestines and lungs. It can be difficult to engage in physical activity with a hernia and ongoing muscle function in the abdomen and back can degrade as a result. Incisional hernias can also linger even after weight loss, and can also be caused by infected wounds or other injuries.
It is possible to patch hernia injuries with a plastic mesh, but it is also possible to find a long-term solution that can close even large or complex abdominal hernias. The experienced plastic surgeons at Cold Spring Plastic Surgery can use your own body’s natural tissues and biologic assistance to repair a hernia and reconstruct the muscles of your abdominal wall.
By making incisions in the abdominal wall and using your own tissue to restructure and strengthen the muscles of the abdomen, your surgeon can help avoid a recurrence of a hernia while also producing aesthetic results that remove loose skin and slim the contour of the abdominal area.
Am I A Candidate For Abdominal Wall Reconstruction?
Abdominal wall reconstruction is a surgery that can help people with hernias to restore their health, strength and function. This procedure can be an excellent option for people with incisional abdominal hernias who continue to suffer from pain and other damage as a result. In general, good candidates for this procedure should otherwise be in good health and should be non-smokers, as nicotine can hinder recovery after surgery.
This procedure can be an excellent option for people who are suffering from a hernia due to long-term obesity, especially people who are on or who have completed their weight loss journey but are still experiencing inhibited organ function as a result of their injury.
An abdominal wall reconstruction can also help people with diastasis recti, the separation of abdominal muscles that can take place due to pregnancy and childbirth.
For women with diastasis recti, abdominal wall reconstruction can also be part of a mommy makeover or tummy tuck.
When you come in for a consultation at Cold Spring Plastic Surgery, your surgeon will discuss the right hernia repair process that can help you achieve your goals. Reconstruction of the abdominal wall can also be part of a tummy tuck procedure or a panniculectomy that can help to remove stubborn fat or loose skin after weight loss.
How Is Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Performed?
This procedure generally takes two to five hours, and your plastic surgeon will perform the procedure under general anesthesia. Your particular procedure will be affected by the extent of hernia damage or scar tissue and the amount of excess skin that is present. The type of abdominal wall reconstruction that is performed can depend on the underlying issue that is being addressed.
For people with congenital or umbilical hernias, these can often be repaired by making an incision under the belly button with internal stitches in the abdominal muscles to close the hernia. For people with abdominal hernias caused by heavy lifting, pregnancy or other bodily injuries, an incision below the belly button can be used to close the injuries.
Stitches in the abdominal fascia can be used to treat these types of hernias during a tummy tuck; in some cases, placing a mesh must also be performed in order to close a larger hernia.
For people with an incisional hernia, after the hernia itself is released, your plastic surgeon at Cold Spring Plastic Surgery will make incisions in order to release the highest layer of abdominal muscles to allow the hernia to fully close. Larger hernias may require the use of a biologic mesh to support healing. Your surgeon will release the layers of muscles so that they can be shifted over the abdomen to allow them to close over the injury. This procedure can help to restore the muscles of the abdomen and reinforce their closure, helping to prevent the reemergence of a hernia in the future.
All incisions will be closed with deeper supporting stitches that are aligned with sutures to close the incisions. Drains may be placed in order to collect fluid, and a compression garment will be applied in order to support the results of the surgery.
What Is Recovery Like After Abdominal Wall Reconstruction?
In general, you can expect to experience mild swelling and discomfort for the first several days after the surgery. A compression garment or binder should be worn for three to six weeks after the surgery in order to support a successful outcome and bolster the muscles of the abdomen as they recover from hernia damage as well as the impact of the procedure. Your surgeon will give you a timetable for the removal of all drains and sutures.
Within three weeks, you can expect to return to work, caring for children and light exercise; depending on the type of work you do, you could perform office tasks more quickly, but the physical functions of work will take a longer time to return. Vigorous exercise and physical activity, including lifting objects greater than 30 pounds, should be avoided for at least six weeks after your abdominal wall reconstruction.
You will be able to see and feel the effects of the procedure immediately after it is completed; many patients report feeling as if their muscles and abdomen are tucked in and held firmly. The appearance and feel of your restored abdominal muscles will continue to progress as your healing process continues, and you will see the final outcome for your body shape over a three month period after your procedure.
Schedule a Consultation About Abdominal Wall Reconstruction
The experienced Long Island plastic surgeons at Cold Spring Plastic Surgery can help you achieve your goals for your health and appearance. Call our office or use our convenient online form to make an appointment at our Suffolk County location to set up a consultation about abdominal wall reconstruction. We work with patients from across the United States and around the world, and we look forward to speaking with you about how our plastic surgeons can help you improve your health and achieve your aesthetic goals.