For many people, achieving a flat, well-toned tummy can be nearly impossible without surgical intervention. If you struggle with excess skin, weakened or protruding abdominal muscles, and stubborn fat that can’t be resolved by diet and exercise, then a tummy tuck may be the solution for you.
A tummy tuck, or “abdominoplasty,” streamlines your midsection by removal of excess skin and fat and tightening of the abdominal muscles. The results are truly transformative and often part of a mummy makeover procedure to restore a healthy, natural shape and improve your confidence and physical appearance after weight loss or pregnancy.
The abdominoplasty procedure is performed in a fully accredited hospital under a general anaesthetic. You can expect the operation to take between 3-4 hours and generally most patients are required to stay in hospital for 2 – 3 nights. At the end of your operation a drain will be inserted and a compression surgical garment applied. The abdominoplasty technique used will vary depending on you individual anatomy to achieve the results you desire. The variations in the abdominoplasty depend on how much skin and fat you need to have removed (incision length) and whether the underlying muscles need to be repaired.
In women you have excess fatty tissue and loose skin below the umbilicus, the mini tummy tuck is an excellent option. The benefit is a shorter scar that is not much longer than a caesarian scar, which is easily hidden within your bikini line. There is no need to reposition the belly button and liposuction can be added to remain abdominal areas. The underlying abdominal muscles can be repaired if separation is a concern.
In women or men with excess in both the lower and upper abdomen, then a full tummy tuck is required. During a full abdominoplasty the entire abdominal skin is redraped and the underlying abdominal muscles are tightened. As there is a large amount of skin removed during the procedure the umbilicus is moved into a new position, which results in a scar around its opening. While the scar of a full tummy tuck is longer than a mini tummy tuck, the incision is still discrete and falls within your underwear line. Liposuction is combined with a full abdominoplasty to contour the abdomen and flank regions.
As part of any tummy tuck procedure we frequently combine liposuction to remove stubborn pockets of fat in and around the abdominal area – flanks, lower back and thigh region to give an overall improvement in your abdominal contour. However with significant advancements in non-surgical fat reduction procedures – we are frequently combining less invasive (quicker) abdominoplasty procedures with either CoolSculpting or UltraShape in the pre or postoperative period to give you a faster recovery period and reduced overall costs.
Preparing For Tummy Tuck Surgery
Once you have decided to have tummy tuck surgery, Dr Turner and his staff will guide you in your preparation. You will be given instructions to help make your tummy tuck surgery and recovery go smoothly and you may be given various tests so that your medical records are as up to date as possible before proceeding to an operation.
As with other types of surgery, a chest x-ray and blood tests may be necessary to assess your general health. Dr Turner may want photographs of your abdomen in your medical record to document your problem and to compare results.
Dr. Turner will ask that you to stop taking aspirin-containing products two weeks before surgery to minimize bleeding. You will also be asked to stop smoking before surgery because it restricts the blood flow and may affect healing, resulting in wound breakdown and less than optimal results.
You will be measured for a surgical garment to wear in the recovery period. This is to be worn day and night for six weeks after surgery and is essential in the molding of the abdomen to give the best possible result.
After Tummy Tuck Surgery
After your surgery, you wake up in a recovery room. Dr Turner and the nursing staff monitor you, checking your blood pressure, temperature and pulse. Once you are alert, you will be transferred to the ward to rest. When you are ready for discharge between days 2 – 4, you will be given prescriptions to relieve pain and prophylactic antibiotics. Have someone fill the prescription, drive you home and take care of you as you recover. Follow any abdominoplasty post-op instructions given to you.
At 1 week after your tummy tuck surgery you return to Dr Turner’s office and your abdomen and dressings are reviewed. At this appointment your surgical drains will be removed. Here, you begin to see the results of your surgery despite some initial swelling. Dr Turner will tell you how to care for your wound and dressing.
During your tummy tuck follow-up visits Dr Turner will monitor the shape of your abdomen and watch for infection. Healing takes several weeks or longer, depending on how long swelling lasts. Swelling normally takes up to 3 months to settle. The regime for wearing a garments and resumption of normal activities and exercise will be discussed at these visits.
Abdominoplasty risks and complications
As with any surgery, abdominoplasty surgery involves risks and potential complications. You need to understand and accept these in order to make an informed consent to the operation. Some risks are more likely to occur than others. Please ask Dr Turner for as much detail as you need to fully understand the procedure, its benefits and its risks.
It is important that you carefully read and understand the potential risks and they will be discussed in further detail when you have your consultation with Dr Turner.Some risks are more likely to occur than others.
At you consultation, Dr Turner will ask you what concerns you have regarding the appearance of your abdomen and what you aim to achieve with an operation. During this consultation he will examine you to assess skin tone, fatty deposition and your underlying abdominal muscle tone to determine your suitability for the procedure. Other abdominal surgery and scarring may modify the plan for the procedure and any areas of scarring will be noted.
From this evaluation, a surgical plan will be formulated. This will determine whether a full or traditional tummy tuck operation is required, or a mini tummy tuck is an option for you. Occasionally, the fatty layer may be so thick, that extensive liposuction at the same time as a lipectomy (skin resection) may be hazardous and increase the chance of complications such as postoperative wound breakdown. In these rare cases, Dr Turner will offer the alternative of a two stage operation with extensive liposuction followed some months later by a full abdominoplasty and muscle repair.
The degree of scarring will depend on the amount of skin removed from the lower abdomen. It is a matter of simple geometry that the more excess skin that is present, the longer must be the final scar. There is simply no escape from this proposition. This usually necessitates a long scar running from hip to hip across the top of the pubic hairline.