A fleur de lis is a cosmetic abdominoplasty procedure generally performed in patients after a significant weight loss resulting in severe laxity of the stomach. Both tummy tucks and a fleur de lis are the removal of skin from the abdomen.
Fleur de lis is a French decorative symbol meaning flower of the lily. A similar design is drawn onto the stomach prior to surgery this is where the surgery moniker stems from.
Typically tummy tucks are completed from hip to hip, the incision being horizontal. A fleur de lis is completed vertically and can be from below the chest to below the belly button and then an added horizontal removal of skin. As the fleur de lis is both a vertical and horizontal operation it is only performed in extreme cases as the patient is then left with a highly visible scar in the shape of an upside down T whereas a tummy tuck scar can usually be concealed by underwear.
The middle section of skin above the abdominal wall is lifted and removed; the remaining skin is then pulled tight and stitched together vertically. Some doctors may tighten the muscles along the walls of the abdomen or perform liposuction which can make an improved difference in defining the waistline. A fleur de lis is specifically for patients that may need further help in contouring and shaping their midsection.
The best candidate for a fleur de lis procedure is a person that has had an extensive weight loss, ie 50 pounds or more. The loose skin of the midsection can be defined via laxity; if there is moderate laxity a tummy tuck would be recommended whereas if it is a case of severe laxity a fleur de lis would be more appropriate. The patient must be fully aware and prepared for the obvious scarring of the stomach.
As with all medical and/or cosmetic procedures following the doctor’s post procedure plan is vital. Usually once the wound has begun to close and heal topical creams or oils can be applied to ease the scarring of skin. Products containing vitamin e are always beneficial for its natural skin healing properties.