A “tummy tuck” or abdominoplasty is an operation to remove excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen as well as tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall.
A tummy tuck is not a weight reduction operation, rather it creates an abdominal contour which is smoother and firmer, especially in those cases resistant to dieting or exercise.
Women who have given birth, or any patient who has lost considerable weight are ideal candidates for a tummy tuck.
Tummy tuck technique
In a standard lipoabdominoplasty, the incision and therefore final scar goes from hip to hip just above the pubic region. The abdominal skin is lifted up to gain access to the abdominal musculature. The abdominal muscles, which are very often separated as a result of pregnancies, are then reapproximated with sutures. The excess skin and fat of the lower abdomen is excised and the belly button is recreated in a more youthful and aesthetically pleasing position.
Some patients, particularly thin women following multiple child births, are more suited to a mini abdominoplasty. Mini refers not only to the size of the incision but also the extent of dissection. The excess skin and fat of the lower abdomen is excised much like a standard abdominoplasty, however, the bellybutton does not need repositioning. The final scar is much like a well healed caesarian scar which does not extend to the hip bones.
With both abdominoplasty techniques I use liposuction to achieve a sleek abdominal contour and refine the shape of the hips and flanks.
How long does it take to recover from a tummy tuck?
Abdominoplasty is performed under a general anaesthetic . You will generally require a one to three night hospital stay afterwards, which will be followed by two to four weeks recovery time, during which you won’t be able to work. My preference is not to use drains, which dramatically reduces the hospital stay and recovery.
What are the potential risks and complications of a tummy tuck?
- Infection of the wound which may require treatment with antibiotics
- Incision site may be uncomfortable and painful
- Blood clot may occur under the skin flaps and around the incision sites
- A skin graft may be required for areas of skin that do not heal
- Excessive accumulation of fluid (seroma) may occur under the incision site and may require a procedure for draining
- Incision sites may become temporarily numb, but will improve over time
- A blood transfusion may be required if there is a large loss of blood during surgery
- Short term nausea and vomiting may occur following surgery as a result of the anaesthetics used
- The tummy skin will have been tightened from above down, and the muscles from the outside in. This results in a tight feeling and cause difficulties in bending and other movements.
- Prominent and visible scars, known as hypertrophic and keloid scars may form over a healed incision. These scars are red, thickened and raised and may be annoying, itchy and unsightly, but they do not pose a health threat.
- Life threatening risks such as a blood clot are rare; however, should a blood clot occur it can move to the lungs, chest or deep veins of the legs.
How much does a tummy tuck cost?
A tummy tuck may be covered by some private health insurers. Review your policy carefully to determine what is covered.
Costs associated with a tummy tuck varies between: $12,000-$20,000 depending on a number of factors such as:
- Anaesthetist’s fee
- Private hospital or day surgical facility fees
- Need for post-operative garments
- Length of hospital stay
- The cover from your insurance company
- Whether you need other body contouring procedures such as labiaplasty, liposuction, thigh lift or arm lift.
- Surgical assistant’s fee
After our consultation my staff will give you an itemised account of the total cost.