An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is cosmetic surgery to improve the appearance of your abdomen (stomach). It may involve removing excess skin and fat and tightening the abdominal muscles. Sometimes the skin of the abdomen does not shrink back after pregnancy or after losing a lot of weight. You are most likely to benefit from an abdominoplasty if you are self-conscious about what your abdomen looks like. Abdominoplasty is not appropriate for people who are over weight or as an attempt to lose weight.
Your surgeon will carry out a detailed assessment before deciding if surgery is suitable for you.
- Full abdominoplasty is suitable if you have a lot of excess skin. Your surgeon will make a curved cut from one hip to the other. They will remove any excess skin and fat. Your surgeon will then cut under the skin above your umbilicus (belly button), pulling it downwards and tightening it. Sometimes they will need to reconstruct your umbilicus and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall.
- Mini abdominoplasty – is suitable if you only have a little excess skin. Your surgeon will only need to make a small cut just above the pubic area to remove the excess skin.
- Endoscopic abdominoplasty – is suitable if you only need to have the muscles of your abdominal wall tightened. Your surgeon will make small cuts and use special surgical instruments to tighten the muscles.
The length of your hospital stay depends on which procedure is performed. With full abdominoplasty you should be able to go home after two to three days. You may have dressings and drains (plastic tubes) coming out of both sides of your abdomen. The drains area usually removed before you leave hospital. You will be given post operative pain killers.
Most patients are mobile from day one and return to normal activities within six weeks. However everyone heals differently. Be sure and discuss your return to work with your surgeon.
The results of an abdominoplasty improve gradually over the first six months. The best results for you will happen if you keep to a healthy weight and exercise regularly.