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.
This page’s information will give you a basic understanding of Abdominoplasty. It cannot answer all of your questions as a lot depends on individual needs and the Doctor’s preferences. Please ask your Surgeon about anything that you are unsure of.
The initial consultation with your Surgeon will enable him to 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. Be frank in discussing your expectations with Doctor and remember to mention whether or not you smoke and if you are taking any medications.
Our Surgeons recommend a second or subsequent consultation prior to proceeding with any surgery. The second or subsequent consults will give you the chance to discuss or confirm any queries that may have arisen since the initial consultation. Any subsequent consultations are at no additional cost to you. It may be helpful to write any further questions down as you think of them and take that list with you for your second or subsequent consultations. This will help to ensure that you’ve gathered all the information required before making your decision.
Auckland Plastic Surgical Centre has fully qualified staff, including a Cosmetic Consultant who can assist you in your inquiries at any time, either by phone or appointment. This service is available at no cost to you.
Abdominoplasty is an extensive procedure and requires the use of a General Anaesthetic of approximately 2-3 hours in duration. It is usually required that you spend at least 1-2 nights as an Inpatient in a Hospital facility following this procedure. This enables your Doctor and staff to monitor your progress following the surgery and to provide adequate pain relief in the first 24 to 48 hours.
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 closer together and suturing them with strong permanent or dissolving sutures. Liposuction is used to contour the waist and the pubic area. The skin is then stretched down and tightened and the excess skin removed. A new hole is cut for your navel and this is then stitched in place. Drains may be inserted to drain away excess fluid from the area postoperatively (depending on the technique used by your Surgeon). The lower abdomen is sutured and a dressing applied.
Endoscopic Abdominoplasty can be performed in the situation where there is minimal or no skin excess. This involves muscle tightening to flatten the stomach and Liposuction. These procedures are carried out through small incisions, which is different from the standard Abdominoplasty.
There is some discomfort from pain and swelling especially in the first 24 to 48 hours. This can be controlled by medication. The nursing staff will assist you in getting in and out of bed and with showering and other activities whilst you are in Hospital. If you intend going home soon after surgery, it is advisable that you have someone there to help you as recovery is a little slower after abdominoplasty due to the suturing of the abdominal musculature. You will be visited by our qualified and experienced staff in the immediate postoperative period and you may be supplied with compression garment or an adjustable abdominal binder for the lower abdomen which should be worn in the first three to five weeks following surgery, especially if you have had any liposuction in combination with your Abdominoplasty.
After discharge, you will be required to attend our rooms on an outpatient basis for close follow-up, so that we can help ensure a smooth and uncomplicated recovery. Sutures will be removed at seven to ten days from the umbilicus. Most sutures are placed beneath the skin to minimise scarring. These are dissolving sutures.
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.
A gentle walking programme may be commenced after week 2 (the nurse or surgeon will inform you when you can start). This activity may be gradually increased over time. Vigorous exercise should be avoided for at least four to six weeks. Heavy lifting should be avoided for four to six weeks similarly. Your abdominal scar will take time to shrink and fade, even up to a period of one year. Scarring is an individual characteristic and can vary from patient to patient. The scar will never disappear completely, however, can remain hidden under clothing with ease.
The result of Abdominoplasty is usually permanent, however excessive weight changes may undo some of the benefits obtained through surgery. It is important to remember that there is fat on the inside of the abdomen as well as that on the outside. This internal fat is not removed during the Abdominoplasty and may limit the amount of abdominal wall tightening and flattening.
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.
You are reminded that this page contains general information regarding Abdominoplasty. It is not intended to take the place of a consultation with your Surgeon, but merely add to the discussions that you have had or will have, with him.