Introduction To Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty
An abdominoplasty (or tummy tuck) is a popular procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen area. Many patients choose this surgery after childbirth or weight loss in order to regain their shape and boost their confidence and at Sthetix, our highly qualified surgeons have been performing this procedure for decades with fantastic results (read tummy tuck reviews here).
As fully accredited specialists, the surgical team will work with you every step of the way to ensure professional and personalised care.
Who Is suitable?
Many of our patients choose this procedure after childbirth or weight loss however we also offer a mini tummy tuck for patients who wish to remove a smaller amount of skin or fat. This procedure is perfect for those who are unhappy with loose hanging skin, lax muscles or hard to shift pockets of fat. In suitable patients, tummy tuck surgery can be combined with liposuction to the abdomen (tummy) and flanks (love handles).
We assess each patient on an individual basis in order to create a tailored care package and this involves checking your medical and psychological health. Our dedicated team will ensure that prior to your decision, you meet with a Consultant Plastic Surgeon to talk through your specific needs, questions and queries.
Before Tummy Tuck Surgery
To ensure no complications and a full recovery we ask patients to stop smoking before their tummy tuck surgery. This is because smoking introduces toxins into the blood and can increase the risk of healing problems, skin loss and complications. We ask that smokers stop at least 6 weeks before the surgery date and don’t start again until wounds have completely healed.
We also ask that patients stop taking oral contraceptive pills (alternative methods are fine), aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs. This is because some of those pills can increase the risk of bleeding. And finally, we ask that patients do not take off-the-shelf herbal medicines or nutritional supplements.
To ensure that you are fully prepared for the surgery, we will ask you to attend a medical examination at a pre-operative assessment clinic where certain tests may be carried out to ensure your safety during anaesthesia and surgery.
The Procedure And Risks
The surgery is carried out under a general anaesthetic and requires a 1-2 night stay in hospital.
An abdominoplasty involves making an incision from hip to hip in the lower part of the abdomen (usually hidden by underwear). Once this is done, the skin and fat on the abdomen is lifted from the lower abdomen, the belly button is left in place and the skin and fat is lifted until the surgeon reaches the rib cage. The surgeon can then repair any loose abdominal wall muscle.
The raised layer of the skin and fat is then stretched down over the newly tightened muscles and the excess is removed. The wounds are then closed in layers using dissolvable stitches and after this, tubes are used to remove any fluids from the wound (they are taken out before the patient is discharged). The surgeon then brings the belly button out to the surface using a newly created hole in the skin.
The scar is placed low in the abdominal area where it is usually hidden under underwear and swimwear. A small scar will also exist around the bellybutton.
Patients are most commonly dissatisfied if their expectations did not meet what can be realistically and safely achieved. For this reason, we try and get to know you before the procedure and talk to you about the results you can expect and what we can work together to achieve.
After an abdominoplasty, many patients experience some discomfort, swelling and bruising. The potential risks of the surgery include haematoma, infection, loss of skin, wide or lumpy scars, loss of sensation in lower abdomen and upper thighs, persistent pain, DVT (deep vein thrombosis - a blood clot in the veins of the leg), PE (pulmonary embolism - a blood clot in the lungs) and dog-ears (folds of tissue at the end of a scar). The scars from this surgery can also be asymmetrical.
It is important to remember that an abdominoplasty mainly affects the front of the abdomen and whilst the waistline may improve, this isn’t guaranteed. The aim of the procedure is to remove the excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen and produce a flatter abdomen. This surgery has no effect on the flanks and hips, and in some cases the hips may appear bigger afterwards as a result of excess fat removal from the front, as this can make the flanks and hips appear larger in comparison.
Aftercare And Results
As your wellbeing is our number one priority, we offer a comprehensive and personalised aftercare package all included in your treatment.
After you are discharged, we will provide you with post-operative care instructions and you will have 24-hour access to trained staff who will be on hand to advise you should you have any questions or concerns.
After the surgery, we will arrange appointments for follow-up examinations with your surgeon to monitor your progress and check that you are recovering well (it usually takes 2-3 weeks to recover and heal from tummy tuck surgery and patients are advised to wear a compression garment for 6 weeks afterwards).
2 weeks after surgery, one of our trained staff will see you and check on your progress. Your surgery will see you after 6 weeks for a follow-up and (if necessary) for subsequent appointments until you are fully recovered. These follow-ups are standard and will be provided at no extra cost.
In the unlikely event of a problem, we will make arrangements for you to be seen by trained staff, and if needed, by the surgeon who performed the procedure. As all our surgeons live and work in the area, it is always possible to see your surgeon at short notice. Our surgeons don’t leave the country or local area after performing the surgery. On the rare instance that a surgeon has to leave for other commitments, we will always arrange for another trained plastic surgeon from our team to provide you with comprehensive care.
In the unlikely event of a complication directly related to your surgery, we would always provide or arrange further surgery and/or treatment at no extra cost for up to 1 year.
How long will it take to recover from a tummy tuck?
It usually takes 2-3 weeks to recover and heal from this procedure. We ask patients to wear a compression garment for 6 weeks after.
How do I know what to expect?
You will be extensively consulted on what you’d like to achieve, your goals and what is realistically possible with a tummy tuck. Your tailored plan will give you an idea of what to expect throughout the whole process.
When can I return to work?
Depending on the work, most people are comfortable returning to work around 2-3 weeks after tummy tuck surgery.
When can I drive?
We recommend that you don’t drive a vehicle for at least 2 weeks after the surgery.
When can I exercise?
We recommended gentle exercise (short walks) as soon as you are comfortable. You can gradually introduce more strenuous exercise after 6 weeks.
When can I resume smoking?
We ask smokers to stop at least 6 weeks before tummy tuck surgery and to refrain from smoking at least until fully healed. This is because smoking is well known to interfere with healing and increase the risks of complications.