An abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” is a surgical procedure that is used to improve the shape and contour of the tummy. The surgery involves removing excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and also tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. An abdominoplasty can also be combined with liposuction to achieve even more dramatic results.
Am I a suitable candidate for an abdominoplasty/”tummy tuck”?
Abdominoplasty surgery is often requested by women who are unhappy with the appearance of their tummy following pregnancy. After pregnancy the skin and muscles of the tummy are stretched and in many cases this results in extra skin and a permanent weakness of their abdominal muscles. Some patients also develop unattractive stretch marks (striae) mainly on their lower abdominal skin. Whilst dieting and exercise can help to improve the appearance, only surgery can effectively remove the excess skin and tighten the stretched muscles.
Patients who have lost considerable amounts of weight following either weight-loss surgery or dieting also frequently request tummy tuck surgery. These patients tend to have an apron of skin that hangs down over the pubic area causing skin irritation, discomfort and problems with mobility. An abdominoplasty is an excellent procedure to help these patients regain confidence in their bodies along with improving their mobility. Mr Huq is an expert in abdominoplasty surgery and can help you to achieve the look you desire.
Are all abdominoplasty procedures the same?
There are many different types of abdomnioplasty surgery. Mr Huq will recommend the best type of surgery for you after a detailed examination and discussion of your goals.
Mini-abdominoplasty - This is a particularly effective procedure for slim women who have some skin excess on their tummy below their belly button. The final scar is shorter than in a standard abdominoplasty and an incision around the belly button is avoided.
Standard/Full abdominoplasty – This is the technique of choice for patients with a greater degree of skin excess, stretch marks and splaying of the abdominal muscles. A larger segment of skin is removed between the bikini line and tummy button and the abdominal muscles are tightened. The tummy button is repositioned and in addition some areas may be treated with liposuction. The final scar is longer and runs from hip to hip.
Complex abdominoplasty/Fleur-de-Lis abdominoplasty – These procedures are suitable for patients who have lost significant amounts of weight as more skin and tissue needs to be removed. In these cases the scar may extend beyond the hip and in some cases a vertical scar may be necessary on the tummy. The recovery time following these procedures will take longer than in a standard abdominoplasty. Most patients who undergo this type of surgery experience dramatic improvements in self-confidence and ability to exercise.
How long is the surgery and how long will I spend in hospital?
The surgery is carried out under general anaesthesia and takes between 2 to 4 hours depending on the type of abdominoplasty. You will spend between 1 to 4 nights in hospital and the drains are usually removed on the second post-operative day. You will be provided with an abdominal corset that needs to be worn for 2 weeks after surgery.
How long is the recovery?
The exact recover time will depend on the type of operation you have had and your individual circumstances. In general you will walk with a stooped posture for the first week and gradually return to normal by the end of the second week. It is advisable to have someone at home to for the first week after surgery.
You should take a minimum of three weeks off work and not return to any physical occupations for at least 6 weeks. You should also avoid exercise for 6 weeks in order to allow the scars to settle and to allow you to get the best cosmetic outcome.
Mr Huq will schedule regular outpatient visits to ensure that you have a smooth postoperative recovery.
What are the risks and complications?
Abdominoplasty surgery is a safe procedure with a high patient satisfaction rate. All surgeries have risks and Mr Huq will go through these with you in detail so that you are fully informed before your procedure.
Risks & Complications include
Poor Scarring – In most cases patients have a fine scar that extends from hip to hip. However, in some cases patients may develop red and lumpy scars. Fortunately, these lumpy scars often settle with time and massage. Occasionally the scars may need to be revised.
Numbness – There will be some numbness over the lower abdominal skin but this often resolves over the next three months.
Swelling/seroma - this can occur in the first few weeks after surgery but in most cases settles without requiring any treatment.
Skin death or necrosis – This is a rare complication and may require further surgery.
Delayed wound healing
Deep Vein thrombosis- You will be asked to walk from the first postoperative day to minimize this risk.