What Is A Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery procedure designed to reduce the size of the stomach, (tummy), and make it more firm.
This is achieved by removing the excess fat and skin from the middle and lower areas of the abdomen. The procedure may also involve tightening the muscles and tissues of the abdominal wall.
Abdominoplasty is available to both men and women, but is more commonly performed on females after weight loss or childbirth.
There are different types of abdominoplasty that can be performed depending on the desired results and goals of the patient. These include:
- Partial (mini) abdominoplasty
- Complete (full) abdominoplasty
- Extended abdominoplasty
Each procedure involves making incisions in the lower region of the stomach and they are sometimes combined with other surgeries at the same time, such as liposuction or thigh lift.
Why Choose A Tummy Tuck?
There are many reasons why people opt to have a tummy tuck. Sometimes it can be just one reason, and sometimes multiple.
If a person has recently lost a lot of weight through diet and exercise, it can often leave loose skin on or around the abdomen. This can leave people feeling unhappy and self conscious, especially when it comes to wearing particular items of clothing, such as bikini or sports bras.
Some of the reasons why patients opt for abdominoplasty include:
- To remove loose skin after weight loss / childbirth
- To tighten muscles / skin after pregnancy
- To correct abdominal scarring from injury, surgery or illness
- To remove stretch marks
- To flatten the abdomen
- To remove stubborn fat / skin that cannot be removed through diet or exercise
- To correct weak muscles and improve posture
A tummy tuck is not a procedure designed to replace weight loss treatments / programmes. It will also not stop you from putting weight on in the future.
It is important that you speak with your surgeon during a consultation and outline your desired goals. Your consultant will then be able to advise on what can realistically be achieved and tell you whether or not you are an ideal candidate for a tummy tuck.
Abdominoplasty procedures are common and vary from patient to patient depending on your body size and shape.
If you are in the middle of an exercise programme or diet regime, it is advised that you wait until you have settled on your desired weight. This is because fluctuations in weight can have an effect on the extent of your tummy tuck procedure and the results it can achieve.
During abdominoplasty, your surgeon will make an incision in the abdomen, usually from one hip to another along the bikini line. A second incision is made around the navel (belly button).
Your surgeon will then tighten the muscles and tissue of your abdomen and remove any excess skin and fat. The skin that is left behind is then moved in to the correction position and a hole is made for the navel.
As with all incisions, scarring is to be expected and the location of the scars will be around your navel and across the lower abdomen. Scars are often hidden with clothing or underwear.
For patients who are undergoing a partial abdominoplasty as opposed to a complete, only one incision is made on the abdomen. The location of the incision is in the lower abdomen above the pubic region.
It is not uncommon for patients to undergo liposuction procedures at the same time as a partial tummy tuck, to help shape and contour the remaining muscles / tissue.
An extended tummy tuck is a complete tummy tuck in combination with a thigh lift, which helps smoothing and contouring of the flank and upper thigh.
Advantages Of A Tummy Tuck
When the body goes through a traumatic event or drastic change, such as pregnancy and weight loss, it can leave behind an undesired appearance.
This can have a knock on effect on self confidence and make people feel more self conscious towards what their stomach looks like.
A tummy tuck can help boost self confidence and eliminate the issues causing you to be self conscious, such as stretch marks, loose / baggy skin, sagging muscles / fat.
There are many advantages to having a tummy tuck either on its own as a single procedure or in combination with other procedures. These include:
- Flattening the abdomen
- Removing excess skin and fat
- Tightening abdominal muscles
- Removing large, deep or visible stretch marks
Sometimes a tummy tuck is performed in combination with another procedure to achieve desired results. common procedures include:
- Breast surgery, including uplift, reduction, augmentation
- Liposuction and body contouring
When meeting with your consultant, is it important to outline and understand what you want from your surgery to ensure that you are opting for the correct procedure. There are some common misconceptions that some people think a tummy tuck alone can achieve, such as losing weight.
Recovery & Aftercare
Following a tummy tuck, you will be given a tailored aftercare plan that you must follow in order to get the most out of your surgery and assist in the healing process.
The aftercare plan will depend on the type of tummy tuck you have any the extent of your surgery.
Patients usually stay in hospital after their surgery for up to two to four days.
Dressings and bandages are applied to the lower abdomen and very thin tubes (drains) may also be present in the wound. The tubes are to drain fluid and will be removed before you are discharged for home.
Some patients may also be on a drip to ensure you stay hydrated and to administer any medications that are needed. However, if you are able to drink adequate amounts of fluid then a drip may not be required. Your surgeon will discuss this with you during your consultation as they outline the extent of the operation.
Painkillers will be provided following your tummy tuck to help ease symptoms of pain and discomfort and to help aid recovery.
It is important that you rest and not do too much activity too soon. Doing so can cause swelling and slow down your recovery.
Patients should expect a recovery period of up to six weeks, observing the following recommendations:
- Rest in bed at home for the first 1-3 days
- Get up and walk around as soon as it is comfortable to do so
- Don't be scared to get out of bed and go to the toilet
- Avoid strenuous activity and stretching
- Take up to 4 weeks off work depending on your job role
- Gradually increase activity levels from light walking around the home to going up and down the stairs
- Do not go walking outside of the house for longer than 10 minutes in the first few days/weeks
- Avoid sports and heavy lifting for up to 2 months
- Paracetamol and ibuprofen are fine to take to ease pain
- Wear support clothing if advised by your consultant
Complications & Side Effects
All medical procedures come with complications and side effects and a tummy tuck is no different.
Because every patient is different, side effects may be more common to some people more than others. Common side effects of a tummy tuck include:
- Numb feeling in the abdomen
- Skin sensitivity
These symptoms should ease and improve within the first few days of recovery. Some longer term swelling may be present in the following 1-3 weeks, but should ease completely within 2-3 months.
Why Choose Us
At the Manchester Private Hospital, our qualified and experienced surgeons have been performing tummy tuck surgery for many years.
From the initial consultation through to post surgery aftercare, we ensure you have peace of mind and feel comfortable every step of way.
Call today on 0161 507 8822 to arrange a consultation and discuss abdominoplasty in as much details you like and ask everything you need to know before making an informed decision.
Our high skilled abdominoplasty surgeons are ready to build your self confidence by removing stretch marks, excess skin and tighten your stomach.
FAQs - Tummy Tuck
If you have excess, saggy skin or fat that can't be removed through diet or exercise, then you may be an ideal candidate for abdominoplasty.
This procedure is usually performed after childbirth or weight loss.
Some patients can return to work after 1 week, but recovery can sometimes mean up to 4 weeks off work.
Very light exercise is permitted after 3-4 days recovery such as walking. However, those looking to play sports or visit the gym should wait between 4 and 8 weeks before doing so.
Yes. It is common for other surgical procedures to be performed during abdominoplasty such as liposuction or breast surgery.