Abdominoplasty, or “tummy tuck” as it is commonly known, is a Surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and to tighten the muscles on the abdominal wall. This procedure can dramatically change the appearance of your abdomen and may be done in conjunction with Liposuction to the area.
Abdominoplasty is a very rewarding procedure producing a flat and tight stomach which can replace a lax and fatty abdomen. It has become a popular procedure for both men and women as part of a body enhancement process.
Who is the best Candidate?
The best candidates for Abdominoplasty are men or women who are in good general health, however who are affected by abdominal fatty deposits and skin laxity that won’t respond to diet or exercise. This Surgery is especially helpful in women following pregnancy where abdominal skin and musculature may have stretched to a point beyond where it can return to normal. Men and women may benefit from this procedure following weight loss, to tighten the excess skin, thus giving a taut appearance to the abdomen following Surgery.
Patients who intend to lose more weight should defer Surgery, similarly women who plan further pregnancies should wait. If you have had previous Surgery to your abdomen, you will need to discuss the effect that any scars may have on the Surgery and your ultimate outcome.
What to Expect
If performed for medical reasons, Abdominoplasty can attract Medicare rebates and a percentage of your Doctor’s, Anaesthetist and Hospital fees may be claimed from both Medicare and your Private Health Fund, if you have private health cover. You will require a referral from your General Practitioner if you wish to claim these rebates.
In your consultation your Surgeon will assess your individual needs based on a physical examination to determine the extent of Surgery necessary and any combinations of Surgery such as the addition of Liposuction to give you the best possible result. You will be given information regarding your Surgical procedure. Factors such as your concerns and expectations will also be discussed.
Abdominoplasty is an extensive procedure and requires the use of a General Anaesthetic of approximately two to three hours in duration. It is usually required that you spend at least one to two nights as an Inpatient in a Hospital facility following this procedure. This enables your Doctor and staff to monitor your progress following the surgery.
Most commonly, a long incision is made from hip to hip, just above the pubic area. A second incision is made around the umbilicus to free the area from the surrounding tissue. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall all the way up to the upper abdomen and excess fat removed. The muscles are then tightened by pulling them close together and suturing them with strong dissolving sutures. Liposuction is used to contour the waist and the pubic area.
All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk. When performed by a qualified Plastic Surgeon, who is trained in this surgery, the risks are generally lowered. Specific complications associated with this surgery in the short term include infection which can be treated with antibiotics, haematoma or a collection of blood and serous fluid beneath the skin requiring drainage, and diminished sensation due to damage of nerve fibres during the surgery. This sensation can persist for several months.
It may take some time to recover fully from Abdominoplasty. If you start out in top physical condition, your recovery will be faster. Some people return to work after two weeks, however it may take up to four weeks for others depending on the job you do.
A gentle walking programme may be commenced after one week, depending on how you feel. This activity may be gradually increased over time.