An Abdominoplasty (also commonly referred to as Tummy Tuck) is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess skin and reconstructs the abdominal muscles. Results from a 2020 survey conducted by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons revealed that abdominoplasty is one of the world's top five most common cosmetic procedures.
An Abdominoplasty can be confused with other procedures, such as liposuction and panniculectomy. Liposuction is the removal of fat only and can be performed on other body parts. Panniculectomy removes the skin but doesn’t tighten the underlying muscles. This is not considered a cosmetic procedure.
Who Can Have Abdominoplasty Surgery?
Abdominoplasty surgery can be performed on women or men with loose or sagging bellies, and is common for those who have experienced:
- Significant weight loss: During weight gain, the elastic fibres that keep skin in shape are damaged due to the accumulation of fat under your skin. If the weight is lost faster than the fibres can adjust, the skin will become loose.
- Pregnancy: With each pregnancy, the muscles and skin of the abdomen are stretched, which can cause sagging. With the reduction of skin and tightening of the muscles in the abdomen, an abdominoplasty procedure is suitable for women who don't intend to have more children.
- Old age: As you grow older, your skin loses supporting fibres like elastin and collagen. Senescence reduces the ability of your skin to maintain its firm shape, leading to wrinkling and sagging.
- Inherited conditions: Abdominoplasty may also be helpful for some inherited conditions like Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.
Who Should Not Have An Abdominoplasty?
Not everyone can qualify for an abdominoplasty procedure. There are some limitations on who can get the procedure. This includes:
- Women having more children: Becoming pregnant after having a tummy tuck can reverse the effects of the tummy tuck, as pregnancy loosens the muscles of the abdomen.
- Smokers: Patients who smoke are not ideal for almost every medical and surgical scenario. It can reduce the rate of healing and can predispose patients to infections following surgery. It can also cause patients to develop dangerous blood clots, and aggravate pain post-surgery.
- People living with chronic medical conditions: Your body may not handle the stress of surgery if you have cardiovascular disease or kidney problems. Diabetes can reduce the rate of healing and increase the risk of infection.
- Individuals with ongoing weight loss: If the patient’s weight is unstable, if the patient intends to lose more weight, or if they are on a weight loss plan, they should not consider an abdominoplasty as the result of the surgery can be reverted.
How To Prepare For An Abdominoplasty
Abdominoplasty is a highly intensive surgical procedure; in some cases, it may take up to a year to recover fully. The success of the surgery depends on many factors, which is why it is critical to follow all steps required.
- Consult a plastic surgeon with the right experience in the field. Dr Nathan Stewart is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has spent over 14 years helping people attain and maintain beauty. He and his team can guarantee the best medical and surgical care.
- Stop smoking. Quitting smoking 1.5-2 months prior to surgery can significantly reduce the risk of complications post-surgery.
- Stop some medications. Some medications may require modification, such as NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and diclofenac. Long term medications or blood thinners may also be problematic, so it’s best you inform your surgeon so that you can be adequately evaluated.
- Financial. If you do not have insurance cover for the procedure, the fee may be higher.
How Is A Tummy Tuck Done?
Depending on the extent of the surgery, two different types of abdominoplasty may be performed.
Partial Abdominoplasty (also called mini-abdominoplasty) is performed on people with minimal to no excess skin on their abdomen.
The surgeon separates your skin between the incision line and your belly button by making smaller incisions. Without shifting the position of your navel, the corrections are done. This is typically a short surgery, and will usually take less that two hours.
Complete Tummy Tuck
A complete abdominoplasty involves creating an incision at your bikini line. This is extended depending on the amount of excess skin on your abdomen.
The next incision is made at your belly button to free it from the surrounding tissue. After this, the surgeon begins the alteration process. Incisions are then sutured, and there may be drainage tubes placed under your skin for a few days.
What Are The Risks Associated With Abdominoplasty?
As with any other procedure, an abdominoplasty can lead to side effects. With experienced professionals, the chance of these complications occuring is limited. However you should be aware of the followings risks:
- Slight swelling and pain in the area
- Soreness and fatigue for a few weeks
- Numbness for a few days which can become permanent
- Infection or scarring in the area of operation
- Asymmetry of the abdomen, which can create a lopsided view.
- Seroma or haematoma.
- Death of the fatty tissue deep underneath your belly, causing painless lumps.
Why people choose abdominoplasty surgery:
- Remove excess fat from the abdominal area
- Create a defined appearance
- Strengthen the abdominal muscles
- Greatly reduce stretch marks
- Improve hygiene and reduce skin irritations or chafing
What To Do After Tummy Tuck Procedure?
Until you reach full recovery,
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol.
- Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.
- Avoid strenuous activities such as lifting heavy objects.
- Be in constant communication with your surgeon.
You may be required to wear a compression garment post-surgery. If you being to feel unwell, feverish, or notice bleeding, call for help and discuss with your healthcare provider.
What Should You Do Now?
Dr Nathan Stewart currently consults in Bunbury and Perth. Be sure to view our gallery to see the results of past customers. If you would like to know more about the procedure or have any questions, contact Dr Stewart today.
What is Abdominoplasty surgery?
An Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure which removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area and tightens the muscles to create a flatter and smoother look.
Who is a candidate for tummy tuck surgery?
An ideal candidate for a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is someone of good health who has excess fat and skin in their abdominal area, and has separated abdominal muscles due to aging, pregnancy, or weight gain.
How is the procedure performed?
The procedure involves making an incision above the public area in order to remove excess skin and fat and tightening the abdominal muscles. The incision is then closed with sutures, and drains are left in place for between 3 to 10 days. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and can take between 2 to 3 hours to complete.
Is tummy tuck surgery painful?
A Tummy tuck or Abdominoplasty surgery can cause discomfort post surgery, but this can be managed with pain medication.
How long is the recovery after tummy tuck surgery?
The recovery period for an Abdominoplasty can take several weeks. Most patients can return to work after two to three weeks, although full recovery can take up to several months. Exercise should be restricted until Dr Stewart deems it safe to resume.
How long will I need to be in hospital?
Patients can expect to stay in hospital for two nights.
Will I have a scar after a tummy tuck?
Yes, there will be a scar after your tummy tuck procedure. In most cases the scar is located below the bikini line, and is easily concealed with clothing.
Can a tummy tuck be combined with other procedures?
Yes, you may combine your tummy tuck with a range of other procedures, including thigh lift, liposuction, or a breast augmentation.
Is there any risk associated with the surgery?
As with any other surgical procedure, there are some risks that can arise from a tummy tuck, such as bleeding, infection, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Prior to your surgery, all potential risks will be discussed with you by Dr Nathan.
Is tummy tuck covered by insurance?
Tummy tucks are typically not covered by insurance, as they are considered a cosmetic procedure. However, there may be certain cases where insurance may cover the procedure, such as massive weight loss or a medical condition like rectus divarication. Dr Stewart can discuss whether you qualify for a medicare item number during your consultation.
Taking care of yourself after surgery
After your surgery, it is important you take as much time as you need to rest and recover. You will be provided with a number of information sheets and checklists to prepare you for your recovery, including any symptoms to watch out for and tips to keep you as healthy and comfortable as possible during this time.
Following the procedure, you will likely experience some moderate discomfort. Dr Stewart will discuss your pain medication needs with you and tailor a dosage and schedule to suit your individual circumstances. Symptoms should subside within a few weeks. You may need to wear compression garments for several weeks following your surgery.
Should you have any questions at any time, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr Stewart or the team.