Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
A Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty) is the surgical procedure performed to improve the shape and contour of your tummy. The operation is performed to remove excess skin, unwanted scars, stretch marks, fat and can tighten the stomach muscles.
Who is suitable for a tummy tuck?
There are a variety of different tummy tuck procedures that may be suitable for you depending on your age and specific circumstances. These include:
Typically, liposuction is suitable for patients without stretch marks who have good-quality elastic skin and whose main problem is an excess of fat. Often patients have what might be termed a 'pot belly' - a slight excess of fat in the lower tummy. Liposuction involves small incisions, through which excess fat is removed. The wounds are then closed and some skin shrinking or tightening can be expected with the use of a compression garment.
This tummy tuck is performed on slightly older patients who may have had previous pregnancies (causing the muscles below the belly button to splay apart), and who have a slight excess of skin and fat, especially below the belly-button. A wedge of ellipse of skin and fat is cut from the lower tummy, leaving a horizontal scar similar to that from a Caesarean Section. liposuction is performed on the upper tummy and waist and muscles below the belly-button are tightened. The belly-button itself is stretched slightly to become more elongated, and generally more appealing.
Classic Tummy Tuck
In patients with a greater degree of slack/excess skin, excess fat and splaying of the muscles, a classic tummy tuck may be required (not in women who are planning pregnancy). An incision is made from hip to hip, around the belly button and a larger wedge of skin is excised from above the belly button to just above the pubic hair. Some areas may be treated with liposuction and the muscles above and below the belly-button are tightened. Although this tummy tuck leaves the biggest scar, it provides the greatest degree of improvement in shape.
What to expect at the initial consultation?
At the initial tummy tuck consultation your abdomen will be examined by your surgeon to assess skin quality, the quantity of fat and muscle tone. All aspects of the operation will be discussed with you and your surgeon will assess whether the treatment is suitable for you and whether the operation will meet your specific needs.
It is important that you mention to your surgeon any previous abdominal surgery, pregnancies, previous leg or lung blood clots and whether you smoke. If you are on any long-term medication, if you have any allergies, if you have a tendency to bleed or bruise easily, if you have had any previous surgery, if you had any problems with local or general anaesthesia and if you have any medical ailments, tell you surgeon.
Where does the treatment take place?
Your tummy tuck will take place at New Victoria Hospital. You can expect to spend up to 3 nights in hospital recovering from the operation before going home.
What can go wrong?
In general, tummy tucks are safe and results are entirely predictable, with an associated high-degree of patient satisfaction. Nevertheless, no surgery is without risk and your surgeon will explain the risks and possible side-effects of treatment with you at your consultation.
How long does it take to recover?
Recovery can take up to 4 weeks and you are not advised to return to work during the recovery period.
How satisfied can you expect to be with the procedure?
Mini or Classic tummy Tucks produce excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin and fat. In most cases, the results are long lasting, especially if you avoid weight-gain, follow a balanced-diet and exercise regularly. Patients frequently experience improved self-confidence from an improved abdominal contour.
Scars are inevitable with a tummy tuck, but with time these should decrease and appear much less conspicuous.
Your surgeon can discuss the exact nature of your treatment, including procedure details, recovery times and any possible side-effects at a consultation. This will reflect your exact circumstances and needs. The information included here is provided for general guidance only.
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Mr Adam Blackburn
BSc (Hons), MBBS (Hons) FRCS (Plast)
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Ms Catherine Milroy
BM BCh MA FRCS(eng) FRCS(plas)
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