A tummy tuck, known medically as an abdominoplasty, is a very popular cosmetic surgery procedure which aims to reshape the abdomen, by removing loose skin, excess fat and tightening up the abdominal muscles to produce a tauter waistline.
Am I a suitable candidate for a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck is a fantastic procedure for men and women who are unable to tone up their abdomen, however much diet and exercise they do. It’s not a weight loss procedure so it is best suited to those that are near or at their ideal body weight, but may be bothered by fat deposits on the abdomen, stretched and sagging skin and lack of muscle tone.
Pregnancy stretches the muscles of the abdomen and many women find they are unable to tone up the abdominal muscles fully. Weight fluctuations and gravity will often result in the skin and muscles of the abdomen to sag.
If skin tone and muscle strength is good you may benefit from liposuction alone or a less extensive procedure that focuses on the area beneath the umbilicus, known as a partial abdominoplasty or mini-tummy tuck. If sagging tissues extend around onto the back and flanks then a more extensive procedure may be required.
What happens during a tummy tuck procedure?
A tummy tuck can take anything from two three hours, depending on the extent of the procedure. It is performed under a general anaesthetic and you will usually require a one or two night stay in hospital.
Partial or mini-tummy tuck
This variation of the tummy tuck procedure will usually take between one and two hours. An incision is made across the lower abdomen, below where underwear or swimwear will sit. I will then separate the skin from the abdominal muscles up to the naval. Fat deposits are removed, muscles are tightened and the skin is stretched down with any excess skin removed. The tummy button is not repositioned in this procedure, but may be displaced downwards by up to 1-2cm.
A larger incision is made across the lower abdomen and the tummy button is freed from the surrounding skin. The skin is separated from the abdominal muscles and they are tightened up and stitched into their new position. Unwanted fat deposits are removed and then the skin is stretched down to the incision with any excess skin eliminated. I then then create a new hole for your tummy button, before closing all incisions.
This follows exactly the same procedure as a full abdominoplasty, but the incision will be extended around onto the flanks and/or back. Fat deposits are removed and the skin pulled down to produce a tighter and flatter waistline.
Are there any possible risks or complications associated with a tummy tuck procedure?
Immediately after your tummy tuck procedure, there will be swelling and discomfort although you should be able to control any pain with over-the-counter painkillers. The abdomen will feel tight and there may be a tugging sensation. Recovery after a tummy tuck takes time and I will explain how best to care for yourself after your procedure.
Potential risks after any surgical procedure include infection, bleeding and/or fluid collecting under the skin. There may be nerve damage that leaves the skin on the abdomen feeling numb. This may take a few months to subside.
What results can I expect from my tummy tuck procedure?
It can take up to a year before the scar will heal as much as possible and although it will never fully disappear, most patients are happy to accept the scar in exchange for a much tighter abdomen and improved body shape.