Do you want a flatter, firmer tummy to get you beach ready? A tummy tuck can have a huge impact on your self-esteem and confidence!
When the abdomen is out of proportion with the rest of the body, apart from the self-consciousness you may feel about your appearance, it can cause a number of medical problems.
There is no substitute for weight loss exercise programs and healthy eating, but sometimes after weight loss you are left with some excess fat and skin in the tummy area that just won’t budge.
Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen. This procedure can help to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall; flatten the stomach; and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
The results of having a tummy tuck can be dramatic and help to improve your self-image and confidence.
At Cosmetic Image Clinics we do offer other fat reduction procedures such as Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, liposculpture suction lipectomy, or lipo, which is a type of cosmetic surgery which breaks up and “sucks” fat from the abdomen and helps to reshape or reduce the tummy. There is also a non-surgical solution to help reduce the fat from the tummy area, called CoolSculpting®, which is becoming increasingly popular.
As with any surgery it is important that you have all the relevant information available to make an informed decision. All of our surgeons have had many years of experience performing this surgery and can assist you in determining the most appropriate course of action.
If you want to feel confident wearing the latest fashion trends or enhance the effort you have put into exercising and eating healthy, then contact us for an appointment to discuss your options.
Why choose Cosmetic Image Clinics for Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck surgery?
At Cosmetic Image Clinics, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest levels of personal care while providing both surgical and non-surgical options for people seeking cosmetic rejuvenation and cosmetic plastic surgery.
Our selected team of doctors, plastic and cosmetic surgeons, clinical nurses and administrative team, have a wealth of experience caring for men and women undergoing cosmetic treatments.
By selecting our multi-award winning Cosmetic Image Clinics in Aquarius Health and Medispa, you can be assured that your comfort and satisfaction is our highest priority.
Your consultation will be conducted in the strictest of confidence and you will receive professional care and expert advice from our highly trained team.
What is Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck surgery?
Abdominoplasty is a major surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen. It also helps to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall, flatten the stomach and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Often these areas don’t respond to diet and exercise, causing frustration and embarrassment. You may choose to undergo abdominoplasty, also called tummy tuck, for a variety of reasons, such as removing large fat deposits in the tummy area; removing loose abdominal skin after weight loss; improving skin elasticity if you are an older patient; or improving your muscle and skin tone after multiple pregnancies.
A tummy tuck is most suitable where large fat deposits are involved and there is bulging of the abdominal muscles or excessive skin and fat hanging over the pubic region.
If the excessive tissue is mostly below the umbilicus (navel) then a smaller operation called a “mini-tuck” will be performed.
What is involved in Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck surgery?
Abdominoplasty is usually performed as a day procedure within a hospital facility, under general anaesthesia. In extensive cases or if there are other health problems, an overnight stay will be arranged.
The surgical method depends on the individual patient. Most commonly, the surgeon will make an incision slightly above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. Next, the surgeon separates the skin from the abdominal wall all the way up to your diaphragm, and lifts a large skin flap to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are tightened by being pulled closer together and stitched into their new position. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and reduces the waistline. The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the incisions will be stitched, dressings will be applied, and a temporary tube may be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.
With Partial Abdominoplasty (mini -tummy tuck), the incision above the pubic area is much shorter and the navel may not be moved, although it may be pulled into a different shape as the skin is tightened and stitched. The skin is separated only between the incision line and the navel. This skin flap is stretched down, the excess is removed, and the flap is stitched back into place. The scar is similar to a caesarean section and recovery is quicker than for full abdominoplasty.
The length of your operation depends on the procedure. A full tummy tuck usually takes two to five hours whilst a mini tummy tuck may take an hour or two.
What is involved in planning your Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck surgery?
In your initial consultation the doctor will evaluate your health and discuss with you the pros and cons of the surgery. The doctor will explain the surgical technique most appropriate for you.
Sometimes the overall result of a tummy tuck can be improved with liposuction used in conjunction with this surgery, either in the incision area or around the hips and “love handles”. Other procedures such as a buttock lift may be performed concurrently to effectively create a combined “body lift”.
The procedure will vary according to each patient’s unique requirements. When this surgery is medically indicated Medicare and/or private health insurance will contribute to the cost.
Who is suitable?
Men and women of 30-55 years of age with good general health and preferably no previous scars on the upper abdomen make the most suitable candidates. Women make up the great majority of ‘tummy tuck’ patients because of the stretching of the abdominal wall with successive pregnancies. The end result of this is laxity of the abdominal wall muscles, multiple stretch marks and loose, redundant lower abdominal skin.
What is the technique?
In a full abdominoplasty, a long incision is made across the lower abdomen under your ‘bikini line’. The skin and underlying fat is then progressively lifted off the abdominal wall muscles right up to the lower ribs, detaching the navel in the process. The stretched abdominal wall muscles are then sutured together to tighten them. Next, the loose abdominal skin is pulled down, the excess removed and the skin edges sutured across the lower abdomen. During this final stage, the navel is also re-implanted in its new and correct position.
One or two drains may be inserted under the lower abdominal incision to drain away any collections of fluid and blood. These are usually removed the next day.
The procedure usually takes anywhere between 2 to and 5 hours depending on the size of the abdomen.
How is it done?
Being a long and extensive procedure, a full abdominoplasty requires general anaesthesia and can require an overnight stay in hospital.
If all you need, however, is a mini-abdominoplasty, this can be done as a ‘day case’ in a day hospital under general anaesthesia. After a few hours in recovery you should then be able to go home and recuperate there.
Sutures and scars
Apart from the deeper internal sutures which are dissolvable, you will also have sutures along the incision across your lower abdomen. There will also be some fine sutures around your re-located navel.
Initially, all scars tend to be pink or brown. You will also notice them to feel slightly indurated (hard) in the initial months. Gradually, they become lighter and softer, eventually for most patients ending up as flat white scars; one right across your lower abdomen under your ‘bikini line’ and a circular one around your navel.
If you have lumpy scars (hypertrophic or keloid) from previous surgery or injury, you may have a tendency to form such scars and your abdominoplasty scars could end up similar. Please advise the doctor before you book your procedure if you have any such lumpy scars.
Please also note that permanently pigmented, brown scars are likely if you have olive, brown or Asian skin.
When you wake from your procedure you will usually find in place a wide elastic garment called an ‘abdominal binder’. This needs to be worn for the next four weeks in order to minimise swelling, prevent the accumulation of blood and fluid under the skin and allow everything to heal in a smooth fashion.
Initially, you will find it difficult to walk without being a little ‘bent over’ due to the tight skin but this will gradually “give” over the next week or so. In spite of this difficulty walking, we encourage our patients to get up and walk around in the first 24 hours in order to avoid serious complications such as leg clots and lung clots.
Pain relievers should be taken as prescribed by your surgeon or anaesthetist.
For the first two weeks after you return home you will need a lot of support from the other members of your family so plan ahead and ensure that you have their assistance before you book the date of your surgery.
What is involved in your Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck surgery post-operative care?
For the first few days, your abdomen will be swollen and you are likely to feel some pain and discomfort. We will ensure that you have adequate pain medication.
Following abdominoplasty you will have dressings covering your wound. You will be required to wear an abdominal binder garment for four weeks following surgery.
It is also important that, although you may not be able to stand straight at first, you start walking as soon as possible help to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and maintain muscle tone. You’re not to lift heavy objects, strain, bend or overdo things during your recovery. It is recommended that patients take two weeks off work after the surgery. If your job involves any form of lifting, bending or exertion, the time will increase. If you take longer to heal provision needs to be made for additional time off. While some people return to work after two weeks, others may need take three or four weeks to rest and recuperate. You should avoid vigorous exercise for about six weeks.
You will be reassessed in our clinic 7 days after surgery when the umbilical sutures are removed. You will subsequently be seen at our clinic 6 weeks and 3 months after surgery.
There are a number of factors to consider with abdominoplasty surgery. This information will be explained to you during your consultation appointment. At Cosmetic Image Clinics within Aquarius Health and Medispa we understand the issues involved in making such an important decision and we are happy to discuss your concerns at any time.
What are the suggested Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck post-operative instructions?
- When you wake-up, your abdomen will feel tight. This is due to the surgery as well as the binder.
- Sometimes there are 2 wound drains, one each side of the abdomen. These will be removed when drainage is minimal or ceased altogether.
- DO NOT take analgesics containing Aspirin.
- You will need to wear the abdominal binder for 4 weeks or as indicated by your Surgeon.
- Drink frequent small amounts of fluid and a soft diet is recommended in the initial post-op period.
- The sutures/staples are removed 1-2 weeks after the operation, and sometimes in 2 stages.
- Keep dressings dry until the padding is removed. If Hypafix is used, it should be left in place. You may shower as this dressing can dry well or may be helped to dry using a hair dryer.
- The abdominal skin will initially feel numb with normal sensation returning over a number of months. Some areas around the wound may remain numb or hypersensitive permanently.
- You will initially have difficulty standing straight or in a completely upright position. This will improve over the next week.
- Report any – fever – bleeding – excessive wound discharge.
- Avoid any heavy lifting and vigorous physical activity.
- Reduce or avoid smoking at least until your wound has healed.
- Should you have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Cosmetic Image Clinics on 07 3003 4000 or the doctor’s or nurse’s mobile you have been given.
Potential risks and complications
Any surgical procedure, whether major or minor, is associated with risks and potential complications. The risks of abdominoplasty include:
DURING THE PROCEDURE
Problems related to the anaesthesia/reactions to medications
The safety of anaesthesia nowadays is well known. Nevertheless, adverse reactions to anaesthesia or medications can occur. These range from simple side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions with skin rash and itching to more serious reactions such as convulsions, coma or death. Respiratory and heart failure are very unusual complications of anaesthesia. They are however, known risks. Heart attack and stroke may occur also after surgery of any kind.
This is a collection of blood under the skin. If large it would mean a return to the operating theatre, the sutures removed, the clot evacuated and the incision re-sutured.
Deep Venous Thrombosis (Leg or Pelvic Vein Clots)
This can arise from the long period of immobility during the procedure and the “tighter” abdomen impeding your venous return. To reduce the chances of this complication we commonly give a small dose of anti-coagulant medication just before the procedure as well as occasionally using ‘calf massagers’ during the entire length of your surgery to prevent your blood pooling and stagnating in your legs to form a clot.
This occurs from the dislodgement of a deep vein thrombosis and its travel to the lungs with serious and potentially fatal consequences.
This is treated in the usual way with swabs and culture to identify the responsible organisms, topical wound care and antibiotics.
This can occur anywhere along the incision but is more likely in the middle where the blood supply to the skin may be poorest. Treatment will depend on its size and nature. The area of wound breakdown will likely affect the final quality of the scar in that area.
Numbness of the skin
This is usually only temporary with sensation returning to normal within six months. Permanent numbness is rare.
Necrosis of the skin
This is the breakdown and loss of skin due to an inadequate blood supply to the skin. It takes many weeks to heal and the area of skin loss is eventually replaced by scar tissue, thus affecting the final aesthetic result. This complication is more common in those with poor blood circulation in the skin such as occurs in diabetics and smokers.
Necrosis (sloughing) of the navel
Loss of the navel due to interruption of its blood supply at the time of surgery is possible but rare.
This is a collection of serum fluid under the skin. Treatment involves serial drainages until it resolves.
Widening of the scars due to stretch
Lumpy scars or keloid scars
Reappearance of some loose skin
This can happen if a significant amount of weight is lost after the procedure.
Precautions after abdominoplasty
You must avoid lifting heavy objects during the first six weeks after surgery. All kinds of strenuous activities should be avoided in the early post-operative period. Do not stretch your body backwards as it may cause undue stretching of the wound. Aim to do some gentle walking every day. Do not spend all your day in bed.
Although most women should be able to go through a pregnancy successfully following this operation, most of the benefits gained will be lost from the increased stretching of the muscles and skin during any subsequent pregnancy.
Do you offer other tummy fat reduction procedures at Cosmetic Image Clinics?
Yes. Liposuction may be a suitable alternative if you have excessive fatty tissue that can be held in one hand without a muscle bulge or skin overhang. It is a less invasive method for fat removal involving minimal scarring. It is usually more suitable for younger patients with good skin elasticity. Where large fat deposits are involved and there is bulging of the abdominal muscles or excessive skin and fat hanging over the pubic region, you most likely need a tummy tuck. If the excessive tissue is mostly below the umbilicus (navel) then a smaller operation called a “mini-tuck” will be performed.
Click here to read more about Liposuction.
At Cosmetic Image Clinics we also offer a non-invasive option called, CoolSculpting® which is the only clinically proven non-surgical body contouring treatment that uses controlled freezing to eliminate fat from your body. There is no surgery and no downtime.
Click here to read more about CoolSculpting®.