Abdominoplasty, most commonly referred to as tummy tuck, is a procedure that enhances the appearance of your abdomen or bulging stomach by removing any excess skin or fat. Along with sculpting the abdominal area for a taut look, this surgery also heals separation of the rectus diastasis muscles and reduces stretch marks. 

Indications for tummy tuck

Some of the reasons to choose to do an abdominoplasty include:

  • A desire to aesthetically improve your abdominal area
  • Abdominal wall laxity or presence of loose skin as a result of multiple pregnancies
  • Divergence or extension of the rectus abdominis muscles
  • Presence of scars and stretch marks from previous operations or injuries
  • Excessive skin in bariatric patients following significant weight loss

Are you the right candidate for a tummy tuck?

Tummy tuck is ideal for both men and women who are overall healthy and are at a stable weight. Additional requirements include a healthy heart, lungs and kidneys in order to tolerate the anaesthesia required to conduct the procedure. Being a non-smoker is an added advantage.

What are the different types of tummy tuck procedures?

You can opt for different types of invasive and non-invasive tummy tuck procedures. The type of procedure depends upon how much excess skin needs to be removed and the extent of any underlying muscle damage. Some of the most common surgical tummy tuck procedures are:

  • Conventional abdominoplasty or the ‘traditional tummy tuck’ which is the most popular procedure. During this procedure, an incision is made in the bikini line and around the belly button. The belly button is then repositioned.
  • Mini abdominoplasty or the ‘mini tummy tuck’ is a procedure you can opt for if you have skin laxity towards the lower part of the abdomen. This procedure is a less intensive version of the surgery, where a small incision is made along the bikini line to remove any excess loose skin followed by a muscular repair performed above your belly button.
  • Lipoabdominoplasty or ‘LABP’ is the combination of mini tummy tuck procedure accompanied with liposuction. This procedure is popularly used to sculpt the waist, get rid of love handles and flatten the tummy. Initially, liposuction is performed to get rid of any excess fat, post which the remaining tissue is then pulled down for a smoother contour to tighten the skin.
  • Reverse abdominoplasty is the procedure wherein an incision is made under the breasts in order to remove the excess skin. This is majorly popular among patients who wish to get rid of excess skin located above their navel or their upper abdominal area.
  • Circumferential abdominoplasty is a procedure where an incision is made all-around your waistline to remove any loose skin. It is popular among patients who have lost a lot of weight and are left with significant excess skin all around the waistline.

What to expect during a tummy tuck surgery?

Depending upon which tummy tuck surgery is best suited for you; the surgery will be performed either under general anaesthesia or light sedation (twilight anaesthesia). The plastic surgeon will then remove loose skin and excess fat along with tightening the tummy muscles. A full abdominoplasty will involve leaving scars around the umbilicus (belly button), while a mini tummy tuck does not leave a scar around the umbilicus.

Pre-care 

During your consultation, the surgeon will guide you through the entire surgical process, giving you the specifics involved in a tummy tuck surgery. Your consultations will include:

  • A discussion of your goals and the type of tummy tuck surgery you wish to opt for
  • An overview of your medical history
  • Your present health evaluation
  • An examination of the potential area or areas that will be treated during the surgery, followed by taking measurements and photographs for record purposes
  • A complete walkthrough covering pre and post-surgery risks and complications

Some important points to consider before going in for the procedure:

  • Inform the surgeon of all medication and vitamins that you might be taking. In case, any medication may interfere with your procedure, the surgeon will advise you to stop those a few days before the surgery.
  • If you are a smoker, it is advisable to quit smoking before and after the surgery.
  • To help achieve the best outcome for your surgery, please ensure you follow a healthy and balanced diet prior to your procedure.

Post-care

  • After the surgery, you might feel some level of discomfort and pain. Your surgeon will share a pain management plan which will include a course of antibiotics to minimize the pain and help avoid any infection.
  • To help promote healing, you will be encouraged to walk around within a few hours of your surgery.
  • Post-surgery, dressings will be placed on your stomach accompanied by small drains to expel any fluid. After 24-48 hours, the dressings and drains will be replaced with a compression garment. You will be expected to wear this for the next 6 weeks.
  • You will be able to shower after 48-72 hours post-surgery.
  • You can resume moderate exercises within 3 to 4 weeks. However, any intense exercises or heavy lifting must be avoided for a minimum of 6 weeks.
  • A complete recovery is usual within 4 to 6 weeks, although this may be longer for more intensive procedures.
  • The results of a tummy tuck surgery are generally long-lasting as long as you avoid gaining excess weight. If you do gain a large amount of weight or get pregnant after undergoing the surgery there are chances of the rectus muscles and skin being stretched out again, which can undo the results of a previous tummy tuck procedure.