Tummy Tuck – Abdominoplasty

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Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure aimed at improving the appearance of the abdomen. It involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and tightening the abdominal muscles. This procedure is popular among individuals who seek a flatter and firmer abdominal profile.

The Tummy Tuck Procedure


Before the surgery, the patient undergoes a thorough medical evaluation to ensure they are fit for the procedure. This may include blood tests and other diagnostic measures. The patient is also advised to stop smoking and avoid certain medications that can increase bleeding.

Anesthesia options

General Anesthesia: Most commonly used for tummy tucks, the patient is put to sleep during the procedure.

Local Anesthesia with Sedation: In some cases, the patient might be awake but will not feel any pain. This is less common for full abdominoplasties but might be used for mini tummy tucks.

Incision techniques and locations

Full Abdominoplasty: A horizontal incision is made between the pubic hairline and the belly button, often in a shape that allows the scar to be hidden by underwear or a bikini. Another incision is made around the navel to free it from the surrounding skin.

Mini Abdominoplasty: A smaller incision is made, and it does not involve moving the navel.

Muscle repair and skin tightening

Once the skin is lifted, weakened abdominal muscles are repaired and tightened using sutures. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline.

Excess skin removal

After tightening the muscles, the skin is stretched back down, and any excess is trimmed away.

Creation of a new belly button (if necessary)

If the navel has been detached, it’s then brought out through a new hole and sutured in place.


Sometimes, small tubes might be placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that might collect. This helps reduce swelling and speeds up the healing process.

Closing the incisions

The incisions are sutured closed. Sometimes, the surgeon might use skin adhesives or tapes. The skin around the sutured areas is usually stapled or sutured in a way that tightens the skin, giving a lifted appearance.

Dressing and bandaging

The treated area is then bandaged, and a compression garment is often applied to support the repaired area and reduce swelling.

Recovery and Aftercare

Immediate Postoperative Period

After the surgery, patients are typically moved to a recovery room where they are closely monitored for a few hours. Depending on the extent of the surgery and the patient’s overall health, they might be allowed to go home the same day or may need a short hospital stay.

Compression Garment

Patients are usually required to wear a compression garment or abdominal binder. This helps reduce swelling, supports the newly tightened muscles, and improves blood circulation. It’s typically worn continuously for several weeks, only being removed for showering.

Drainage Tubes

If drains were placed during the surgery, they might remain in place for several days to a week. These tubes prevent fluid build-up and reduce swelling. The medical team will provide instructions on how to care for and empty these drains.


Pain relievers and antibiotics may be prescribed to manage pain and prevent infection. Take these medications as directed and to complete the full course of antibiotics.


Patients are encouraged to start walking as soon as possible, even if it’s just short distances around the room or house. This promotes blood circulation, reduces the risk of blood clots, and aids in the healing process.

Activity Restrictions

Strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and vigorous exercise should be avoided for at least six weeks or until the surgeon gives the go-ahead. This ensures the surgical site heals properly without undue stress or strain.


A balanced diet can aid in the healing process. Some patients might experience constipation due to the pain medications, so incorporating high-fibre foods and staying hydrated is beneficial.

Scar Care

The surgical scar will initially appear red and raised but will fade over time. Protect the scar from direct sunlight, as this can cause it to darken. Silicone gel sheets or scar creams might be recommended to improve the scar’s appearance.

Follow-Up Appointments

Regular check-ups with the surgeon are important during the recovery period. These appointments allow the surgeon to monitor the healing process, remove stitches or drains, and address any concerns.

Potential Complications

While swelling, bruising, and discomfort are normal, patients should be vigilant for signs of complications. These include excessive pain, unusual discharge from the incision site, prolonged swelling, or fever. If any of these symptoms occur, seeking medical attention is imperative.

Long-Term Care

Maintaining a stable weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise ensures the longevity of the tummy tuck results. Significant weight fluctuations can affect the outcome and might necessitate additional procedures.

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Expected Results

Longevity of results

The results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent. However, significant weight fluctuations can diminish the outcome.

Benefits of a flatter and firmer abdominal profile

A tummy tuck offers a more toned abdominal appearance, enhancing the body contour and boosting self-confidence.

Can I Use Insurance for
Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty Surgery?

Yes, costs incurred from a tummy tuck
surgery may be eligible for insurance claims.

The insurance criteria for approval for tummy tuck surgery
will vary from insurance company to insurance company.

Risks and Complications

Common and rare risks associated with the procedure
As with any surgery, risks include bleeding, infection, and complications from anaesthesia. There’s also the potential for scarring, persistent pain, or unsatisfactory results.

Importance of choosing a qualified surgeon
Selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon ensures the highest standard of care, skill, and expertise, minimising potential risks.

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    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Are there non-surgical alternatives to a tummy tuck?

    Yes, there are non-surgical treatments like cryolipolysis (fat freezing) and radiofrequency treatments that can reduce fat and tighten skin. However, the results are typically less dramatic than a surgical tummy tuck.

    How long should I wait after significant weight loss before considering a tummy tuck?

    It’s recommended to wait until your weight has stabilised for at least six months to a year after significant weight loss before undergoing a tummy tuck.

    Can a tummy tuck be combined with other cosmetic procedures?

    Yes, a tummy tuck is often combined with other procedures like liposuction, breast augmentation, or a lower body lift, depending on the patient’s goals.

    Will a tummy tuck remove stretch marks?

    A tummy tuck can remove stretch marks located on the excess skin that is trimmed away. However, stretch marks outside of this area will remain.

    How long does the swelling last after the procedure?

    While some swelling subsides within a few weeks, it can take several months for all swelling to resolve completely.

    What happens if I gain weight after my tummy tuck?

    Significant weight gain after a tummy tuck can stretch the skin and muscles, potentially diminishing the results of the surgery. It’s recommended to maintain a stable weight to preserve the procedure’s outcomes.

    How can I ensure the best possible scar healing post-surgery?

    Following your surgeon’s post-operative care instructions, avoiding sun exposure on the scar, and possibly using scar creams or gels can aid in scar healing and appearance.

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