Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
Pregnancy, weight-loss and the natural ageing process can leave behind excess, sagging skin around the stomach area, which can’t be banished through exercise or non-invasive treatments. The solution is an abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, which will give you a flatter, firmer abdomen.
What is an Abdominoplasty?
An abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic surgery procedure used to make the abdomen flatter and firmer. Excess fat and skin are removed from the abdomen area in order to tighten the muscles and tissues of the abdominal area.
There are two types of tummy tuck. The one you have will depend on how much skin and fat you have removed. Your surgeon will explain which type is most suitable for you.
- Full abdominoplasty – required when patient has excessive fat deposit plus a drop in the underlying muscle and skin layer.
- Modified (mini) abdominoplasty – required when patient has good muscle tone, but there is too much skin and the stomach appears crinkly.
It is becoming more common that an abdominoplasty is combined with liposuction to remove stubborn pockets of fat and leave you with a slimmer contour and there are a number of variations on the procedure which your surgeon will discuss with you during your consultation.
Before the liposuction procedure was invented, an abdominoplasty was the only procedure carried out to remove excess fat. Depending on the amount of excess skin and fat you have, vaser liposuction may be a more suitable, minimally invasive option for you. You may find that the results of liposuction are sufficient for your desired results. Doctors will always offer you the most suitable option for you and your body.
Tummy tucks should not be thought of as a substitute for weight loss or an exercise program. The procedure cannot correct stretch marks, although these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are located on the areas of excess skin that will be treated.
Flabby skin on the belly is usually the result of weight-loss, yo-yo dieting or pregnancy. It might just be lax and wrinkled skin that has lost its elasticity, but in more extreme cases the muscles are stretched and there can be unattractive, over-hanging folds of skin that won’t spring back into shape.
If you’ve worked hard in the gym and are leading a healthy lifestyle you will soon realize that you can’t shift these folds of stretched skin through diet and exercise alone. For many, swimwear or fitted clothes just aren’t an option and if you feel self-conscious about the appearance of your tum it can really affect your body confidence.
Depending on how much fat and skin require removing, and the type of abdominoplasty being carried out, the operation may take up to three hours under general anaesthetic.
The procedure starts with an incision across the base of the abdomen, from hip to hip, that generally follows the pubic lining (bikini line for women). Incisions for a mini tummy tuck can be significantly smaller. Your surgeon may also make a second cut to remove your belly button from the surrounding skin.
The stretched or torn muscles will then be pulled together and stitched in place. Excess fat will also be removed, pulled down, and stitched into place. Once all your excess skin is removed, your belly button is then re-positioned correctly.
Once the skin and fat removal is completed, all incisions are stitched and your lower abdomen is strapped with bandages.
With a modified, or mini, tummy tuck, you may only have an incision below your abdomen.
Whatever your motivation, having a tummy tuck will give you a flatter, firmer tummy that is more proportionate with your body shape. The changes can be permanent as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight after your surgery.
Within a week or two of your procedure, swelling will begin to reduce and you should be able to stand tall fully upright.
It may take up to six months for your abdominal area to settle completely so that you can see the full results of your abdominoplasty – shorter for a modified tummy tuck.
Typically you’ll require a two-day stay in hospital, after which you will be discharged with an abdominal support garment that must be worn constantly for the first 2 weeks, and only during the day for a further month. You will also be prescribed a course of antibiotics, which must be taken.
We recommend that you book 2 – 3 weeks off work and avoid strenuous exercise for at least 6 weeks.