Duration of procedure:
Abdominoplasty, often known as a ‘tummy tuck’, is a not weight-loss technique. Although the procedure removes some fat, it is not a substitute for a healthy diet or sensible exercise. Patients should be at normal or near-normal weight before surgery.
Two kinds of abdominoplasty can be performed – a complete abdominoplasty and a mini-abdominoplasty. The complete abdominoplasty is performed for patients who need maximum correction. In this operation a horizontal incision is made low on the abdomen at the level of the pubic hair. The abdominal musculature is tightened with stitches and any hernias or weaknesses are repaired. The umbilicus (belly button) is usually circumscribed during the operation. It remains in the same position on the abdominal wall, but is brought out through a new skin opening.
A mini or modified abdominoplasty is performed for patients who require less correction. In this case there is no scar around the umbilicus and the horizontal scar is shorter. In a full abdominoplasty the scar extends from hip to hip.
It is possible to perform an abdominoplasty at the same time as another intra-abdominal procedure such as a tubal ligation, although I prefer to perform an abdominoplasty as a separate procedure. It can also be performed at the same time as other cosmetic procedures such as breast or facial surgery. Liposuction of the hips and other areas is commonly performed with an abdominoplasty.
At the time of your consultation, I will assess whether you are a candidate for a complete or mini-abdominoplasty. I will take clinical photographs, before and after surgery, as these are an important aid in planning and performing the surgery. They become a permanent part of your patient record. These photographs are of the abdominal region only and do not include your face.
Here are some questions frequently asked about abdominoplasty:
Will I have to have a general anaesthetic and how long will the operation last?
If you have a complete abdominoplasty you will be given an epidural or general anaesthetic. A mini-abdominoplasty can be performed under a local anaesthetic. The procedure takes between one to three hours, depending on the area involved.
Will I have to stay in hospital?
A friend or relative should accompany you when you leave, remain with you overnight and accompany you when you return to my rooms the morning after surgery. If a relative or friend is not available to you, we will recommend a nurse.
What care is necessary after the operation?
When can I return to work and what sort of physical activity will I be able to do?
Will I have scars?
Will I be able to have more children?
What will I feel like after the operation?
Swelling of the abdomen is normal following surgery. During the first week your clothes may fit more tightly and you may weigh more than before. This swelling will subside from the second week after surgery but some lower abdominal fullness persists. You may expect to see about 50% of your total contour improvement at two weeks and about 75% at one month. It usually takes an additional two months for the last of the swelling to recede. Occasional patients may see continued improvement up to six months after surgery but changes beyond three months are subtle. It is important to understand that it will take between six months to a year for the scars to mature fully. Tissue oil massage helps immensely.