Mr Omar Tillo
Consultant Plastic Surgeon
Many people do not know the differences between abdominoplasty and liposuction, what results they can achieve and the best candidates for each procedure.
It is best to discuss your wants, needs and ideal outcome in your consultation, so your surgeon can recommend the best procedure for you to have.
A tummy tuck is more suitable for those who have excess skin or significant stretch marks. Liposuction can be performed alongside a tummy tuck. This is suitable for those people who have excess skin, such as from a large weight loss, and may also have excess weight.
Liposuction only removes fat, rather than excess skin. Liposuction will not alter the appearance of any stretch marks, and can even make them worse, as the skin will be looser. Liposuction is more suitable for patients who have excess fat but still have firm abdominal skin, as the skin will shrink after the liposuction.
Good candidates for abdominoplasty are men and women who:
If you are planning to lose a large amount of weight, it is best to postpone this surgery until you have achieved your weight loss goals. This surgery is also not recommended for women who are planning future pregnancies, as the tightened muscles can separate during pregnancy.
If you have abdominal scarring, the surgeon may advise against undergoing an abdominoplasty, as this may increase the noticeability of the scars.
An abdominoplasty is performed under a general anaesthetic known as ClearSleep™, so you will be asleep during the procedure.
The abdominoplasty procedure involves:
The first few days following the procedure will be the most uncomfortable, and you may experience some pain. You can take medication to help manage your pain. During the recovery period, you will have to avoid any strenuous activity, particularly if your abdominal muscles were tightened. You will have to avoid physical activity for four to six weeks.
After the abdominoplasty, you will notice bruising and swelling in the abdominal area. This will take between one and two weeks to reduce. You may be given a garment to wear which will help to reduce the swelling. This swelling will reduce the results of the procedure, but you will be able to notice this once the swelling has gone down. However, it may take several months to see the final results.
After surgery, you will retain some water, which can cause temporary weight gain. This is a completely normal side effect, and will quickly dissipate.
To help speed up recovery, you will need to avoid smoking. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen, which can result in infections and problems with the wounds.
Your surgeon and medical team will be in contact with you during your recovery period to monitor your progress and to help avoid any complications.
Following a tummy tuck, patients describe a major feeling of tightness around the abdomen. The discomfort is described as an intense muscle ache similar to the feeling after an aggressive abdominal workout. It is generally the case that the most expertly performed tummy tucks will cause a certain amount of postoperative discomfort. This is related to the extent of tightening that the surgeon has achieved. If a tummy tuck doesn’t hurt at all, the abdomen was likely not tightened adequately.
Bruising and swelling are always seen after a tummy tuck or liposuction. Additional liposuction to the upper abdominal area and love handles and bruising will also be performed.
Patients are able to leave the hospital on the evening of their procedure. Although straining, heavy lifting and bending should be avoided, tummy tuck patients must start minimal walking and leg exercises the day of the surgery. Lying in bed for hours at a time is dangerous and must be avoided to minimise the risk of blood clots. When going to sleep, a couple of pillows under the knees and behind the head will act to ease the tension on the surgical incision and will help relieve discomfort.
Patients with jobs that require significant physical activity including bending, lifting, or quick movement will need about four weeks off before being able to return to full duties comfortably. Those patients with jobs not demanding physical activity can return to work after two weeks.
Light workouts involving exercises that do not strain the surgical incision or the abdominal muscles can begin at two or three weeks post-op. This includes brisk walking or stationary bike riding.
Heavier workouts including abdominal crunches, sit-ups and running should not be attempted for about one month.
Yes, tummy tuck patients should wear a special compression garment for four weeks after a tummy tuck.