Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
The aim of the Tummy tuck is to remove excess fat and skin from the abdomen. Although sometimes carried out on men, the procedure is most commonly performed on women who have stretched skin and slackened muscles as a result of child birth.
As a general consequence of getting older the elasticity in the skin decreases and therefore it becomes more difficult for older women to maintain the figure they want. A tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) tightens the muscles and skin and removes excess skin, thus enhancing the appearance of the abdomen.
Surgeons generally insist that a patient is not too overweight; otherwise additional liposuction may be required.
The procedure: Tummy Tuck:
This procedure is carried out under general anaesthesia and takes between 2 – 3 hours. The length of the operation depends on whether both the middle and lower abdomen are being treated or whether only the lower is required. Duration of the surgery will also be increased if additional liposuction is required. Expect to stay in hospital for 2 – 3 days following your surgery. The procedure is as follows:
Both middle and lower stomach treated:
- The surgeon makes an incision from the hip down to the pubic area then runs along the pubic hair line and up to the other hip.
- Another cut follows around the navel (belly button) to free it from the surrounding tissue.
- The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall up to the ribs. It is then flapped over revealing the vertical muscles which if stretched are pulled / tightened to give a flatter abdomen.
- The skin is then stretched down and any excess skin is removed. A new navel (belly button) is then created by cutting a hole into the skin.
Only lower stomach treated:
- This procedure is very similar with the only real difference being that the incision needed is smaller and the skin is only separated between the pubic hairline and the navel.
Recovery period: Tummy Tuck:
- Following surgery the area treated will be swollen, sore and firm for up to a week. You will experience pain on coughing, sneezing and going to the toilet. Your pain will generally be controlled with prescription pain killers.
- Following surgery you will be bandaged up and have tubes inserted to drain any post-operative fluid. Your bandages are normally removed 1 – 4 days after surgery and the tubes removed after 2 days to 2 weeks.
- Dressings are generally replaced with a garment which sometimes allows you to shower.
- In order to avoid blood clots which can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) you are expected to sit up in your bed as soon as you have recovered from the anaesthetic.
- Stitches are normally removed about 10 days after surgery.
- You can normally return to work about 3 weeks after surgery depending on how physically demanding your job is.
- No exercise for 6 – 8 weeks.
- Abdominal numbness is expected and can last for up to 1 year.
Your surgeon may well ask you to refrain from drinking alcohol and smoking both before and after surgery as it can contribute to poor blood circulation and fluid retention.
Like with all surgeries, recovery times differ from one patient to the next and closely following the surgeons post operation instructions will generally lead to a quicker recovery period.
The risks: Tummy Tuck:
- Wound infection.
- Chest infection.
- Deep vein thrombosis.
- Numbness: can be permanent.
- Scarring: can take up to a year before it fades. How visible the scarring is varies from one individual to another.
- Poor position of the belly button.