A tummy tuck, medically known as an abdominoplasty, involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle to lower abdomen, as well as tightening the abdominal wall muscles. This is a suitable surgery if you have a large amount of weight or excess skin which you are wanting to remove.
There are two types of tummy tucks – the mini abdominoplasty and full abdominoplasty. The mini abdominoplasty makes a smaller incision and removes fat and excess skin. The naval will be pulled lower, and there is not as much abdominal tightening required. As this surgery is smaller, there will be a quicker recovery time.
Surgeons at Centre for Surgery perform a modern variant of the traditional abdominoplasty called a Lipoabdominoplasty. In addition to skin removal and muscle tightening, this procedure also involves extensive liposuction to sculpt and contour the abdomen and flanks.
Centre for Surgery has pioneered the ClearField technique for abdominoplasty surgery.
We have gone a step further and taken the Lipoabdominoplasty procedure and combined with this our innovative ClearSleep anaesthesia technique to make us one of the few providers in the UK to offer day case Lipoabdominoplasty.
Centre for Surgery also offers a tummy tuck for men.
ABDOMINOPLASTY AT A GLANCE
Anaesthesia type: ClearSleep
Procedure time: 4-6 hours
Recovery time: 1 week
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:
- Are physically and mentally healthy
- Are close to their ideal body weight
- Have good skin elasticity
- Have large fat deposits
- Have excess skin
- Have lost elasticity in the muscles and/or skin, particularly due to pregnancy or ageing
- Are a non-smoker
- Are at a stable weight
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, so you will be asleep during the procedure.
The abdominoplasty procedure involves:
- An incision going from each hip – the amount of excess skin will also have an impact on how large the incision is going to be.
- Abdominal skin is lifted
- Muscles and skin are tightened
- Any excess skin is removed
- The belly button will be repositioned
- Any recommended liposuction will be performed
- The remaining upper abdomen skin is pulled down and over the incision
- The incision will be closed and dressing applied
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.
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Our innovative ClearSleep anaesthesia technique
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Am I a good candidate for an abdominoplasty?
To be considered for an abdominoplasty, you will need to be physically healthy and considered a healthy weight.
Those who are wanting a tummy tuck generally have large fat deposits, excess skin, and are at a stable weight.
If you are a woman, you may wish to consider whether or not you are planning to have more children in the future. While having a tummy tuck will not make it unsafe to carry a child to full term, you may lose some of the results afterwards, and require another tummy tuck. To avoid this, the best option is to often have a tummy tuck once you know you will not have more children in the future.
What age should I have a tummy tuck?
There is no set age you should have a tummy tuck by. There is a large age range of men and women who have a tummy tuck. However, women should consider delaying having a tummy tuck until they are sure they will not be having more children in the future.
Centre for Surgery does not offer a tummy tuck to patients under the age of 18.
What happens during an abdominoplasty procedure?
Once you have been prepared for surgery, you will be given ClearSleep anaesthetic. You will not be awake during the procedure, and you will be unable to feel any pain or discomfort.
An abdominoplasty involves making an incision which runs from hip to hip. Next, the abdominal skin is lifted, and the muscles are tightened. The excess skin is then removed and the belly button will be repositioned. If you are also having liposuction, this will also occur at this stage. Finally, the upper abdomen skin is pulled down over the incision, which will then be closed and have dressing applied.
How long does the tummy tuck surgery take?
This will vary from person to person, but an abdominoplasty will take about 4 to 6 hours to complete.
How much pain will I experience?
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
Can I go home the same day?
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.
When can I return to work?
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.
When can I restart gym activities?
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.
Do I need to wear a compression garment?
Yes, tummy tuck patients should wear a special compression garment for four weeks after a tummy tuck.
Can I have another baby after a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck will result in no problems while you are carrying the baby. While some people will still be able to see the results of a tummy tuck after pregnancy, a pregnancy can change the results. Factors such as stretch marks, weight gain and muscle separation can cause the tummy tuck results to be altered.
It is important for you to consider whether or not you are planning to have more children after having a tummy tuck. If you wish to have a tummy tuck and have more children in the future, it is important to discuss this with your surgeon during your consultation. Your surgeon will be able to give you accurate advice on how long you should wait after your procedure to try and fall pregnant, and talk about any possible complications that could occur.
Can I have other procedures on the same day?
Should I have an abdominoplasty or a mini abdominoplasty?
This mainly depends on how much excess skin you have which needs to be removed. A mini abdominoplasty involves a shorter incision, and therefore not as much excess skin can be removed. It is more suitable for those who are experiencing bulging in the lower abdomen. As it is a smaller procedure, you will experience a faster recovery time.
Will I have a scar?
Unlike other procedures, a tummy tuck will leave you with a noticeable scar. An incision will be made going from hip to hip. However, the incision should be placed below your bikini line. The scar will look more swollen and red after the surgery, however, over time the scar will reduce the size and fade to a lighter colour.