Fleur-de-lis Abdominoplasty Guide

After massive weight loss, many patients have loose abdominal skin. In some cases, a traditional tummy tuck may not be enough to tighten and tone the abdominal contours. Fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty is a type of tummy tuck that is designed for more significant skin tightening for patients who have lost an extreme amount of weight. It is one of many tummy tucks a patient may consider.

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What is fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty?

The fleur-de-lis tummy tuck tightens loose abdominal skin in both a vertical and horizontal direction. Named after the shape of a water lily, the operation involves two scars that intersect on the front of the abdomen. During the procedure, the surgeon cuts away the excess skin in two planes. They can also correct abdominal muscle separation and remove fat.

What are the benefits?

Benefits of the fleur-de-lis procedure may include:

  • A narrower waist
  • A flatter abdomen
  • Better-fitting clothes
  • Improved body image
  • Tighter abdominal skin
  • Possible reduction of stretch marks

What are the disadvantages?

The downside is the surgery leaves two long scars on the abdomen. The horizontal scar is usually hidden in the underwear line. The vertical scar is more difficult to hide. The scars usually fade with time. Scar revision options such as lasers and injections may be used to reduce scarring after surgery, but the scars will never fully disappear.

Who is a candidate?

A fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty is for individuals who have an extreme amount of lax skin on the midsection after significant weight loss. The ideal candidate:

  • Is not obese
  • Is mentally and physically healthy
  • Does not smoke or is willing to quit
  • Understands that all surgery has risks
  • Is happy to trade surgical scars for a tight, toned abdomen
  • Has reached and maintained a stable weight for six months
  • Can take approximately three weeks off work to recover

To determine if you are a candidate for fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty or a different type of tummy tuck, consult with a specialist general surgeon who has experience in body contouring.

What happens during the surgery?

The fleur-de-lis tummy tuck is performed under general anaesthesia. The surgery takes approximately three to five hours. With the patient lying on the operating table, the surgeon marks and cuts away the excess skin with a vertical incision on the midline and a horizontal incision from hip to hip. Liposuction and abdominal muscle repair may also take place during the surgery. Because the skin is pulled down as it is tightened, the navel usually needs to be moved so that it is centred on the abdomen. The incisions are closed and the patient wakes in the recovery room.

How long does it take to see results?

The abdominal region will immediately appear tighter and slimmer after surgery. However, there can be pronounced swelling that lasts six to twelve months. During this time, the tissues relax and the swelling dissipates. The scars may become dark at first and then gradually fade. Most patients can expect to see the final results of fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty in approximately one year.

What is recovery like?

Patients should take it easy in the first few weeks and focus on healing. While the recovery can be uncomfortable, it is temporary. It takes three to six weeks to recover from fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty on average.

How much time do patients stay in the hospital after fleur-de-lis surgery?

An overnight hospital stay is usually required. Some patients spend up to ten days in the hospital.

When can the patient shower after surgery?

Most patients can shower 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Avoid scrubbing the incisions aggressively. Sponge baths may be easier in the first few days. Avoid prolonged submersion in water.

Is the fleur-de-lis tummy tuck painful?

The surgery itself is painless. There is no memory or sensation of surgery due to anaesthesia. Every patient experiences different levels of discomfort in recovery. Pain is moderate after surgery. The abdomen will feel tender and sore. Walking upright may be limited in the first ten days. Pain medications are prescribed to make the recovery period more comfortable.

How much time off work and driving?

Most patients take two to four weeks off work. Driving can be resumed in three to four weeks.

When can exercise resume again?

Exercise is off limits for six weeks. This means avoiding anything that may slow recovery such as heavy lifting, going to the gym, playing sports, etc. Walking is encouraged right away as it helps to reduce the risk of blood clots, which can be fatal. The surgeon may advise you to take light, short walks for a few minutes every few hours starting on the same day as surgery. As you are likely to be in the hospital for a few days, a nurse can assist you in getting out of bed and walking.

Download our infographic: “15 Exercises to get the Best Body After a Tummy Tuck”

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Risks and complications

The fleur-de-lis tummy tuck is considered safe and effective for healthy patients. The compilation rates are comparable to those of a traditional tummy tuck. Unwanted side effects may include:

  • Seroma
  • Infection
  • Necrosis
  • Blood clots
  • Hematoma
  • Poor scarring
  • Nerve damage
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Poor reaction to anaesthesia
  • Undesirable cosmetic result that requires a revision surgery

Other risks are possible. Consult a specialist general surgeon that routinely performs body contouring surgery for more information.

Fleur-de-lis Abdominoplasty FAQs

Find answers to common questions about fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty.

How can patients maintain their results?

To maximise the long term benefits of this surgery, patients must commit to a healthy lifestyle. For patients with a history of weight struggles, this includes a proper diet and exercise plan.

What do the fleur-de-lis scars look like?

The fleur-de-lis operation leaves an inverted T-shaped scar on the abdomen. The scar length varies since each patient is unique. The scars are hidden in most styles of clothing. Different surgeons may use different incisions. It is wise to discuss the expected placement and length of the scars with the surgeon prior to having surgery.

How long does it take scars to fade?

Silicone scar sheets or scar gel can be initiated at home three to six weeks after surgery when crusting is no longer present. It takes a year or longer for scars to fade. If the patient has a history of poor scarring, this should be considered before undergoing surgery. Laser scar treatments may help improve scar redness and texture to an extent.

Does health insurance cover fleur-de-lis surgery?

Private health insurance usually does not cover the fleur-de-lis tummy tuck when it is done for cosmetic reasons alone. If the procedure is medically indicated, some of the costs may be covered with a corresponding MBS item number. Strict eligibility requirements apply. Most patients pay out of pocket.

How much does the fleur-de-lis tummy tuck cost in Australia?

The cost of a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck in Australia varies by surgeon. The average price range is approximately $9,000 to $29,000 AUD. Because the extent of loose skin differs greatly from patient to patient, it is difficult to estimate the total cost of surgery without an in-person consultation. Factors such as the surgeon’s experience and whether liposuction or abdominal muscle repair accompanies the surgery are two of the main factors that impact pricing.

Is a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck with liposuction possible?

Yes. Today, many surgeons offer liposuction-assisted abdominoplasty, including the fleur-de-lis tummy tuck. Aside from removing excess fat and sculpting the abdomen, liposuction may also reduce bleeding and help make tissue dissection easier.