An abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgery that alters the patient's appearance by removing excess skin and reconstructing abdominal muscles. According to a 2020 survey by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, abdominoplasty is one of the top five most common cosmetic surgeries worldwide.
This procedure is commonly confused with liposuction and panniculectomy. Liposuction is only limited to removing fat and can be done in other body parts. On the other hand, panniculectomy removes the skin without tightening the underlying muscles and is not considered a cosmetic procedure.
Why people choose abdominoplasty surgery:
- Remove excess fat from the abdominal area
- Improve hygiene and reduce skin irritations or chafing
- Greatly reduce the appearance of stretch marks
- Strengthen the abdominal muscles
Who Should Not Have An Tummy Tuck?
Even if they need one, not everyone is qualified to have an abdominoplasty procedure. Some of the people on the exclusion list include:
- Women who still wish to have children: The main objective of a tummy tuck is to tighten the muscles in the abdomen. Having a pregnancy after your tummy tuck can reverse the effects of the surgery.
- Smokers: Smoking is not ideal for almost every medical and surgical scenario. It slows the healing process and may predispose you to infections following the surgery. Smoking may also aggravate post-surgical pain or cause you to develop dangerous blood clots.
- People living with chronic medical conditions: If you have cardiovascular disease or a kidney problem, your body may not adequately handle the stress of the surgery. Also, conditions like diabetes may reduce the healing rate of your surgical scar and increase the risk of infection.
- Individuals with ongoing weight loss: This includes those on a weight loss plan intending to lose more weight. Also, if your weight is unstable, you should not have an abdominoplasty until it is stabilised.
How To Prepare For An Abdominoplasty
Abdominoplasty surgery is an intensive surgical procedure, and you may have to wait for about a year to achieve full recovery. The success of your surgery depends on multiple factors, and that’s why you need to get everything right before going in.
- Consult a plastic surgeon with the right experience in the field. Dr Nathan Stewart is board-certified and has spent more than 14 years helping people in Perth. With his team, you are guaranteed the best medical and surgical care.
- Stop smoking. Studies have shown that quitting smoking 6-8 weeks before surgery reduces the risk of postoperative complications.
- Stop some medications. Your doctor may modify your intake of NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen and diclofenac. If you are on blood thinners or long-term medications, inform your surgeon so you can be adequately evaluated.
- Consider the financial implication. The fee may be higher if you do not have insurance coverage for the procedure.
How Is A Tummy Tuck Done?
There are two main types of abdominoplasty surgeries, depending on the extent of the surgery.
Partial Abdominoplasty (also called mini-abdominoplasty) is done for people without significant excess skin overlying their abdomen.
The surgeon makes smaller incisions and separates your skin between the incision line and your belly button. From here, the corrections are done without shifting the position of your navel. Partial abdominoplasty takes a short time, usually less than two hours.
During a complete abdominoplasty / tummy tuck, the surgeon will make an incision at your bikini line and extend it depending on how much excess skin is on your abdomen.
Another incision is made to free up your belly button from the surrounding tissue. The surgeon then begins the corrective process. The incisions are subsequently sutured, and drainage tubes may be placed under your skin for a few days.
What Are The Risks Associated With Abdominoplasty?
Like any other surgery, an abdominoplasty may lead to side effects. With experienced hands, chances of having these complications are limited. Some of the risks you should be aware of are:
- Pain and slight swelling in the operated area.
- Soreness and fatigue lasting a few weeks.
- Numbness, which may last a few days or even be permanent.
- Scarring or infection of the surgical site.
- Asymmetry of the abdomen, giving a lopsided view.
- Seroma or haematoma.
- Death of the fatty tissue deep underneath your belly, causing painless lumps.
What To Do After Your Abdominoplasty Procedure?
Until you reach full recovery,
- Avoid strenuous activities that require lifting heavy objects.
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol.
- Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.
- Be in constant communication with your surgeon.
You may have to wear a compression garment after your surgery. If you start feeling uneasy, feverish, or notice bleeding, call for help and meet your healthcare provider.
What Should You Do Now?
Want to see results from our past patients? Be sure to view our gallery page to see before and after images. Dr Nathan Stewart is available for consultation in Perth and Bunbury. If you have any questions or would like to know more about the procedure, contact Dr Stewart today.
What is Abdominoplasty surgery?
Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure to remove excess fat and skin from the abdominal area and tighten the muscles to create a flatter, smoother tummy.
Who is a candidate for tummy tuck surgery?
Ideal candidates for tummy tuck are those who are in good health, have excess skin and fat in the abdominal area, and have separated abdominal muscles due to weight gain, pregnancy, or aging.
How is the procedure performed?
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and can take 2-3 hours. It involves making an incision above the pubic area, removing excess skin and fat, and tightening the abdominal muscles. The incision is then closed with sutures. Drains are left in place for 3-10 days.
Is tummy tuck surgery painful?
The procedure is typically associated with some discomfort, but this can be managed with pain medication.
How long is the recovery after tummy tuck surgery?
Recovery after tummy tuck surgery can take several weeks, and most patients return to work after 2-3 weeks. Full recovery can take up to several months, and exercise should be limited until cleared by Dr Stewart.
How long will I need to be in hospital?
You can expect to spend two nights in hospital.
Will I have a scar after a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck involves making an incision, so there will be a scar. The scar is typically located below the bikini line and can be easily concealed with clothing.
Can a tummy tuck be combined with other procedures?
Yes, a tummy tuck can be combined with other procedures such as liposuction, a thigh lift, or a breast augmentation.
Is there any risk associated with the surgery?
Like any surgical procedure, tummy tuck carries some risks such as infection, bleeding, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Dr Stewart will discuss these and other potential risks during your consultation.
Is tummy tuck covered by insurance?
Usually, tummy tucks are considered cosmetic procedures and are not covered by insurance. However, in certain cases such as massive weight loss or medical conditions such as rectus divarication, insurance may cover the procedure. Dr Stewart will discuss with you during your consult if you qualify for a medicare item number.
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.