Tummy Tuck Cosmetic Surgery (Abdominoplasty)
An Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, involves removing the extra skin and fat from the lower abdomen. Many people develop a bulging tummy as they get older, which may be a slight bulge or over a larger area. Even in fit, active people, a small tummy can persist despite exercise, meaning that the only way to improve this may be surgery. Abdominoplasty is one of the commonest performed cosmetic procedures and has a high satisfaction rate.
Is a Tummy tuck for me?
Many people would benefit from a reduction of the skin and fat on their abdomen: even slim patients may benefit from a tightening of the abdominal wall muscles (for example, in correcting a wide six pack). Our lead surgeon, Vivek, carries out three different types of abdominoplasty to tailor the operation to the needs of the patient.
What are the scars like?
When the skin and fat of the lower abdomen is removed, a scar is left along the panty-line in most cases, although occasionally a scar may rise higher if a better waist is required. A small scar is also left around the belly button. These scars are noticeably red initially, but in most cases settle down over the first year.
What is involved?
You will be admitted the day of your operation. Whilst you are under a general anaesthetic, an incision is made along the panty-line and the skin and fat of the abdomen is lifted off of the muscle, leaving behind the belly button: the skin is then re-draped flat and the extra tissue removed. The abdominal muscles may then be tightened if they have come apart, which is particularly the case after childbirth., and the belly button is then brought back out to its new position. Dissolving stitches are used so no stitch removal is required, and drains are used to allow fluid to drain from under the skin for the first few days.
What can go wrong?
In the vast majority of patients the results after abdominoplasty are very good at improving the shape and size of the abdomen. However, occasionally parts of the panty-line wound may open up and need dressings over a few weeks to heal: this tends to be a problem in very large procedures and in patients who smoke. Smoking is particularly bad for this operation and poor healing is common in patients who smoke.
To minimise your chances of wound problems it is important that you stop smoking for 6 weeks before and after your operation. We will still carry out your procedure if you continue to smoke, but only if you understand the risks involved.
Other problems may include bleeding after the operation, which requires a second small operation to stop the vessel or infection. Sometimes fluid collects after the operation and this may have to be removed with a needle in the clinic: other, less common complications will be explained during your consultation.
What do the results look like?
In most cases the results after abdominoplasty are very good. The scars tend to settle well eventually and are mostly hidden by panties or swimwear. Your new contour takes well to clothes and you will be able to wear things you previously wouldn’t dare. However, if you put on a significant amount of weight the results will eventually be reversed.
What is the recovery like?
You will be in hospital until your drains are no longer required: for most people this is a few days. Initially it is good to walk around "stooped over" to take tension off of the wound line, and once you go home you will be tired for the first couple of weeks, however you will be given ample painkillers to deal with any discomfort you feel, and our lead Consultant, Vivek, will see you regularly to make sure you are healing well. Most patients say it takes them six weeks before they feel "back to normal".
How long will I be off work?
In most cases you will be able to go back to a desk job after 3-4 weeks, but a more active job, and exercise, should be avoided for six weeks
Your new look after Abdominoplasty
Once you have fully healed, you will feel more confident in your appearance and less self conscious. You will be able to go out and buy new clothes, although you should probably leave at least 6-9 months before the scars settle well enough not to be too noticeable in a bikini.