Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
Introduction to Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery to make the abdomen thinner and firmer.
What is an Abdominoplasty?
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery to make the abdomen thinner and firmer. It involves removing excess skin and fat to tighten the muscle of the abdominal wall. This procedure is commonly sought by patients with loose tissues after pregnancy or major weight loss. Abdominoplasty is not an operation for people who want to lose weight. Tummy tuck is divided into a few categories – complete, partial and extended.
How is an Abdominoplasty performed?
A Tummy tuck can take up to five hours and you will get general anaesthesia. Complete abdominoplasty involves cutting your abdomen from hipbone to hipbone and then slowly contour the skin, muscle and tissue. Your belly button will be moved so you may need drainage tubes under your skin for a few days. Partial abdominoplasty involves a smaller incision where the skin is stretched down and excess skin is removed. Extended abdominoplasty is a complete abdominoplasty plus a lateral thigh lift to further improve the flank (waist), besides smoothing contour of the upper lateral thigh.
How to prepare for an Abdominoplasty?
This procedure is suitable for both men and women who are in good health, close to your ideal weight. You should avoid tummy tuck if you are a woman who plans to get pregnant as pregnancy separates the tightened muscles.
Appearance of scars after a tummy tuck should be taken into consideration and discussed with your doctor regarding the position and length, before the surgery.
Smokers have to quit smoking at least two weeks before the surgery until two weeks after, as smoking causes complications and slows healing. A healthy, well-balanced diet can aid in recovery after surgery.
What happens after an Abdominoplasty?
After the surgery, you will experience pain and swelling so your doctor will prescribe you pain medicine. Numbness and tiredness can last up to several weeks or months.
Your surgeon should also recommend certain ointments or creams to help heal the scars. Do follow your surgeon’s instructions on how to care for the bandage in the days following surgery. You should limit strenuous activity for at least one month post-surgery, and seek advice from your surgeon on what you can or cannot do. Full recovery can take up to six months.
As with any other surgery, tummy tuck has risks. It is therefore important to compare the benefits with the potential risks before making a decision. Although rare, there may be infection or blood clots in the legs and lungs. Chances of developing complications are greater if you have poor circulatory system or diabetes. Other surgical risks are nerve damage and keloid (heavy scarring).