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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Abdominoplasty or commonly known as ‘tummy tuck’ is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures for both women and men. It is  a cosmetic, or sometimes reconstructive, surgery to remove fat and/or extra loose skin from the abdomen after weight loss, and may also tighten muscles that become loose or split following pregnancy. In most cases, it will restore weakened or separated muscles, help alleviate pain, improve bladder function, reduce itching and skin infections caused by excess skin, and change the shape and tone of the abdomen to create a firmer and smoother profile. The result is a flatter, firmer and shapelier abdomen.

Abdominoplasty is an option in cases where excess fat, skin and sagging muscles have not been improved by diet and exercise. In many women, pregnancy can cause the muscles and skin to stretch so much that they do not return to normal, especially after a caesarean section. In older people, the loss of skin elasticity (a normal result of ageing), loss of muscle tone and even mild obesity can contribute to an unsightly and protruding abdomen. Reasons have this surgery performed include;

  • Removing excess loose skin from the front of the abdomen
  • Tightening stretched or separated abdominal muscles
  • Sculpting the waistline
  • Flattening and smoothing the abdominal profile
  • Increasing self esteem in and out of clothing

Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program. It may be possible to achieve a flatter stomach without surgery, through healthy dieting and exercise, but not always. Many surgeons recommend that abdominoplasty should be considered only after dieting and exercise have achieved the right body shape underneath.

There are two types of abdominoplasty, including:

  • full abdominoplasty – which removes excess skin and fat, and tightens underlying muscles across the whole abdominal area, and the navel is relocated further up the abdominal wall.
  • partial abdominoplasty – which removes excess skin and fat below the navel only. The navel position is not changed.

Full Abdominoplasty (full tummy tuck)

If possible, the main incision will be made under the “bikini line” so that the scar is as concealed as possible. However, this cannot always be done in every patient and usually depends on the extent of the surgery. From the incision to the lower ribs, the skin and underlying fat are lifted free of the underlying vertical abdominal muscles. The muscles are surgically tightened by stitching them into the normal position. This will strengthen the abdomen and result in a smaller, shapelier waistline.The navel must be moved to a normal position after abdominal skin and fat have been removed. Excess abdominal skin and fat are removed in the lower tummy. In the remaining skin, a new opening is made for the navel, and it is stitched into its new position. The incisions are closed with stitches, and dressings are applied.

The surgery may be performed under twilight or deep sedation and takes about 3 – 4  hours.  Recovery time ranges from 2 to 3 weeks.

Partial Abdominoplasty (or mini-tummy tuck)

If the excess skin and fat are mostly below the navel, a mini-tummy tuck may be more appropriate. The incision is not as long, and the navel does not have to be moved.  This is often an excellent option for people who have a small amount of abdominal skin to be removed and do not have a significantly protruding abdominal muscle wall. If necessary, liposuction may also be performed at the same time to help sculpt the tummy into the desired shape. A mini-tummy tuck usually takes about 1-2 hours and recovery times is 1 week.

Before and After Gallery

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.