A flat and well-shaped tummy is something that almost all of us strive for through exercise and other various natural weight control methods, such as diet. However, sometimes these methods cannot achieve our desired goals.
The causes of a fat abdomen are quite numerous and some are inevitable to control. Even for individuals of otherwise normal body weight and proportion, an abdomen that protrudes or is loose and sagging can happen due to incidences such as ageing, previous pregnancies, past surgeries or genetic inheritance. A previously overweight person will most times retain excess skin sag that could be bothering to them as one can’t lose the skin sag caused by previous stretching due to obesity or pregnancy through exercise or natural methods. Pregnancies also cause the abdominal muscles to stretch and get weak and displaced from their previous normal positions, leading to noticeable cosmetic concerns to most women.
For such instances, plastic surgery to reduce this bothersome abdominal fat, excess abdominal skin sags and restore the normal positioning of these muscles and give one a desired abdominal tone and flat tummy, might be the best option.
Tummy tuck is also medically known as abdominoplasty or liposuction abdominoplasty when liposuction of the abdominal wall is included in the procedure for the best outcome. For liposuction, cannulas (tubes) connected to a special machine are introduced into the fatty portion of the tummy wall and the desired fat is removed through suction. At times, removing fat only is indicated to some patients with normal muscle and skin tone. Otherwise it would lead to a sagging abdominal wall skin and doesn’t correct the changes in the underlying muscles leading to poor results. This excess skin and any changes to the muscles due to the stretching in previous pregnancies, obesity or ageing is corrected by tummy tuck surgery.
It is also important to know that tummy tuck or liposuction are not a method of weight control and don’t substitute exercises or other methods of weight loss. Tummy tuck is also not best for someone who is planning to get pregnant again as the pregnancy will cause abdominal wall stretching again. It is also a procedure for people who are otherwise healthy and is not the best for people with a lot of generalised excess body fat.
This type of plastic surgery, along with many other cosmetic surgeries, had been for so long deemed a myth in Rwanda and Africa at large, and people would travel abroad to have these operations, which definitely comes along with huge medical and travel expenses. This was largely due to lack of specialised medical expertise and proper medical equipment to carry out such operations well.
Today, however, Rwanda has attained the required skilled plastic surgery team and the high standard medical equipment to do such surgeries with the best outcome as elsewhere in high developed centres. This means that Rwandans and other people can access this procedure locally, at a definitely more affordable cost without the need to travel abroad. These tummy tuck surgeries are currently done at Rwanda Military Hospital.
Dr Ian Shyaka , Resident in Plastic surgery, Rwanda Military Hospital,