The aim of an abdominoplasty is to produce a flatter and tighter tummy and to improve the abdominal contour and profile.
The type and amount of surgery needed 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 but just require removal of excess sagging skin from the lower abdomen (although 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.
Abdominoplasties are 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 in order to enjoy the results longer term.
Will I be suitable for abdominoplasty?
Many factors need to be taken into account when deciding whether a patient is suitable for abdominoplasty including the condition of the abdominal muscles and the weight of the patient. It is important to remember that a tummy tuck is not a weight loss solution. If you are overweight, you will need to lose weight first and adopt a healthier lifestyle 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.
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.
Where will the incision be made?
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, the incision is most likely to be made in the same location as the caesarean scar so there is not multiple scarring.
How long will it take to recover from an abdominoplasty?
All abdominoplasty procedures are carried out under local anaesthetic with sedation meaning there is no overnight stay. During the procedure, patients are given a local anaesthetic with intravenous sedation and painkillers. Patients are not unconscious; they breathe for themselves meaning that you are able to go home the same day to recover in the comfort of your own home.
When you leave 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.
Do you have any 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 abdominoplasty 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.
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