ABDOMINOPLASTY

TUMMY TUCK

An abdominoplasty, also known as a ‘tummy tuck’, can remove surplus and/or overhanging skin and fat from the abdomen, usually caused as a result of pregnancy or weight loss, to create a flatter and firmer profile.  This is not a procedure for losing weight but a way of removing excess skin which doesn’t respond to exercise or diet.  The procedure can also be carried out in conjunction with contouring liposculpture. 

 

A horizontal incision is made along the bikini line, through which excess fat and skin is removed and any weakened muscles repaired.  The navel will also be re-positioned. 

 

In less extreme cases, a mini abdominoplasty, where excess fat and skin is removed from the lower abdomen only, may be sufficient.

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The Procedure

 

Performed under general anaesthetic, a horizontal incision is made along the bikini line, through which excess fat is removed and any weakened muscles repaired.  An incision will also be made around the navel to free it from the surrounding tissue and allow it to be re-positioned.  The layer of skin and fat will be stretched back down and the excess below the incision will be removed.  A new hole will be created for the navel. 

 

Risks/Complications 

 

Any invasive treatment carries its own risks and complications.  Also, every procedure has limitations and the risks should be compared to the potential benefits before undergoing a surgical procedure. 

 

Possible risks and complications include:-

 

  • anaesthesia risks including depression

  • long scars and keloid/hypertrophic scarring

  • asymmetry in length and position of scars

  • umbilicus placed off centre

  • infection

  • delayed healing

  • skin necrosis and wound breakdown

  • fluid build-up as in a seroma or bleeding as a haematoma

  • swelling and bruising

  • pain and discomfort

  • potential for resultant dog-ears which could lead to secondary correction

  • difficulties in walking and standing

  • long recovery time

  • umbilical necrosis when the perfusion of the belly button is insufficient

  • residual intra-abdominal fat

  • residual bulge – the abdomen will not be flat

  • development of a blood clot as in a deep vein thrombosis, thromboembolism or pulmonary embolism

  • loose skin and skin folds

  • skin irregularities/discolouration

  • permanent lumpiness and/or volume/profile irregularities

  • permanent skin/scar numbness

  • stretch marks will remain 

  • need for further surgery

 

Recovery

 

Recovery time can vary between patients.  Patients will be unable to straighten fully for the first two weeks, although the second week will be progressing towards a full extension.

 

Pain, bruising and swelling may be noticeable for several weeks.  Strenuous work or exercise should be avoided for 4-6 weeks and abdominal muscle exercises avoided for 3 months.  

 

The scars will, in most cases, fade and improve over time but can be red or pink for a year or more.  

 

The results may be affected by significant weight gain/loss or pregnancy and without diet/exercise, the pre-operative condition might return.  

© M W PAYNE 2019

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