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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

What is an abdominoplasty?

An abdominoplasty is a ‘tummy tuck’ surgery done to tighten rectus muscles (‘6-pack’ muscles) and loose skin on the abdomen. It improves the contour and shape of the abdomen.

Who is suitable for an abdominoplasty?

If you are concerned by loose or overhanging skin on your abdomen or a bulge, laxity or gap in your abdominal muscles, you may be suitable for an abdominoplasty.

Caution!

If you are soon after pregnancy or plan to have more children in the future, are planning to lose weight or are overweight, it may not be the right time to have an abdominoplasty. Abdominoplasty is body contouring or reshaping surgery NOT weight loss surgery. If you smoke or have significant health problems, this will need to be assessed and you may be advised to wait or not to have an abdominoplasty.

The procedure

There are variations depending on your individual anatomy and goals. The standard surgery is done under general anaesthesia. A low incision is made along the pubic hairline from hip to hip and around the belly button and the skin is lifted up. The underlying muscles are tightened, excess or overhanging skin is removed and your belly button re-sited. The skin is restitched in a tighter way with a smoother contour. Drains are not routinely used. Stitches are usually absorbable.

Combination surgery

Abdominoplasty can be done on its own or in combination with other procedures. Common combinations include abdominoplasty with liposuction, breast surgery, labiaplasty and other body contouring procedures.

Duration of surgery

2 to 4 hours depending on the extent of surgery. If other procedures are planned at the same time, the overall surgery time is longer.

After surgery

You will have tapes on the incisions and a dressing over your belly button. You will need to wear a support garment for 6 weeks. Smaller abdominoplasties can be day case procedures. Larger abdominoplasty surgery usually requires one night in hospital. You can shower with care after 48 hours.

Recovery

You will be advised to stoop slightly when walking the first week or two. On average 3 weeks off work are needed. No heavy lifting or strenuous activity is allowed for 6 weeks. Some forms of exercise can be restarted at 4 weeks. Most exercise is restarted at 6 weeks. Driving is not allowed until you are safe to perform an emergency stop.

Complications

Unfortunately, complications can occur after all surgery and you need to be aware of this. Ms Nugent will do her utmost to reduce your risk as much as she can. This includes the health and procedure advice she gives you before surgery, the care and precautions she takes during surgery and the advice she gives you after surgery. Some of the complications that can happen include slow healing, infection, bleeding, poor scarring, asymmetry, problems with the belly button, pain, numbness or sensitivity in the skin, contour irregularities, seroma (fluid build-up), clots in the legs and lungs and persistent puckering at the scar ends.

Successful surgery

Most patients who undergo abdominoplasty surgery are very pleased with their results and describe it as a transformative procedure. Success depends on being prepared for your surgery, choosing the right procedure, the surgery itself and recovering well. All steps in the journey are crucial!

More detail

Download the detailed information booklet on this page to read more and book a consultation to discuss your individual circumstances with Ms Nugent!