Abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty

AKA Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic surgery procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen. The aim of a tummy tuck procedure is to produce a flatter and tighter tummy and to improve the abdominal contour and profile.


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The type and amount of surgery varies depending on the condition and the amount of excess skin and fat that needs to be removed. Mini tummy tucks are suitable for those patients whose abdominal muscles are in position and just require removal of excess sagging skin from the lower abdomen only and it can be combined with liposuction at the same time. In more complex cases, in addition to removing larger amounts of skin and fat, it may be necessary to tighten the abdominal muscles and some liposuction may be needed to remove some of the more stubborn excess fatty tissue.

Many factors need to be taken into account including the condition of the abdominal muscles and the weight of the patient. A tummy tuck procedure is not surgery for weight loss. If you are overweight, you will need to lose weight first and adopt a healthier life-style before any surgery can take place. It is always best to be as close as possible to your ideal weight before having this operation. The surgery can then be used to help you achieve a more aesthetically pleasing result following your weight loss.

Abdominoplasties are also very common after pregnancy and childbirth. The abdominal muscles spread, and the skin that has stretched to accommodate the baby doesn’t always return to its pre-pregnancy state, resulting in a pouch-like sagging. It is advisable to wait until you have your last child before pursuing tummy tuck surgery to enjoy the results longer term. 

Your chosen surgeon will talk to you at length about the implications of this type of surgery, including the position and length of the scars and any possible short-term or long-term complications. Depending on the type of tummy tuck surgery needed, the procedure can take anywhere from one-and-a-half to four hours.

All of our abdominoplasty procedures are performed under local anaesthetic with sedation, and do not require an overnight stay.

Your surgeon will give impartial advice and have a thorough discussion with you on your suitability for surgery, and the type of procedure that will achieve the best results for your individual needs.

Incisions
Every patient is different so there are no right or wrong approaches to scar size or location. Your individual needs and circumstances will be considered by the surgeon, and you will be fully counselled on the advantages and disadvantages of the different techniques.

The length of the scar is dictated by the amount of loose skin that needs to be removed. Typically, the more excess skin there is, the wider the scar will run.

The shape of the scar is a bit more flexible and will take into consideration your preferred style of underwear. Some incisions can be quite straight, whilst a curved incision will allow for removal of more skin without the scar running too wide.

Similarly, the location of the scar will depend on surgeon preference and also upon the patient’s wishes. This will vary with different body shapes and the extent of the surgery. The surgeons will try and hide the scar as much as possible within the parameters of your clothing preferences, however the scar will always be visible when nude.

It is a good idea to bring your favourite/most common style of underwear with you to the consultation so the surgeon has an idea from the outset as to where they need to plan for the incisions to be made.  

For women who have had caesarean section births, most likely the incision can be made at the same location so there is only one low scar.

Recovery
During an abdominoplasty procedure at The Westbourne Centre, patients are given a local anaesthetic with intra-venous sedation, but are not completely unconscious. Tummy tuck recovery time is therefore much quicker compared with the same procedure using a general anaesthetic, which usually involves up to two nights stay in hospital. The use of local anaesthesia with sedation is one of the benefits of all abdominoplasty and cosmetic surgery procedures performed at The Westbourne Centre, as our patients will be able to recover in the comfort of their own home.

Upon discharge from The Centre, you will be wearing a post op garment which will help to protect the wound and encourage the skin to heal properly. You will need to wear this for a number of weeks as you recover.

Time off work is an individual matter, and will vary from patient to patient. Things to consider would be how physically demanding your job is and the type of environment you work in. Our surgeons will advise that you should not drive or fly for approximately three weeks following surgery, and you will need to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for up to six weeks.

You will be fully informed about the implications of having an abdominoplasty and any possible short or long-term complications during your consultation.

Before and after photos
As everyone is different, it is important to understand that outcomes can vary post-operatively for each individual patient. We do not publish tummy tuck before and after photos on our website, nor do we distribute them prior to the consultations. Our surgeons will show you some images during the consultation which are relevant to your individual case. Sometimes it can be difficult to manage expectations if you have seen images where the end result is not compatible with your shape and proportions. It is also useful for the surgeon to talk you through the transformation and why they achieved the result they did.

Our surgeons aim is to ensure that you have realistic expectations of what is achievable. The final decision to have surgery is, as always, your own personal choice.


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