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Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck Procedure (Abdominoplasty)

An abdominoplasty, often known as a tummy tuck, is the operation performed to produce a tighter and flatter tummy. During the procedure, excess skin and fat are removed from the abdomen and the underlying muscles of the tummy (abdominal wall) are tightened.  There are different types of tummy tuck and the technique chosen depends upon the amount of fat and loose skin to be removed. Sometimes, liposuction is carried out at the same time to give the best results.

FAQ's

Is there a good time to have this procedure?

If you are planning a future pregnancy or anticipate a significant loss of weight in the future, it is probably best to postpone your tummy tuck until after these events have occurred to optimize your results.  Recovery from this operation can also take anything up to six weeks so choosing the right time for your surgery is very important.

 

How long does it take to do the procedure?

The procedure takes between two to three hours to do and is performed under a general anaesthetic.  A one to two night stay in hospital is usually recommended.

 

Where are the incisions made?

A full abdominoplasty involves making a cut near the pubic hairline, from hip bone to hip bone and also a cut around the tummy button. Placing the incision low down means it can be hidden by a bikini. For mini or partial abdominoplasty, much smaller incisions (cuts) are made.

 

How will I feel after my surgery?

Abdominoplasty is a major operation and an uncomfortable one. However, you will be offered painkillers to control the pain, first by injection and then in tablet form.

Your tummy will feel very tight and quite sore to start with and standing up straight will be difficult at first. However, once these first few days have passed, you should begin to feel more comfortable.

Your abdomen will feel numb for up to six months following surgery. This side effect is normal and results from swelling and trauma to the small nerve fibres below the skin during surgery. Whilst much of this will improve over six to twelve months, there will always be a permanent triangular area of numbness above the central part of the scar, which may extend up to the tummy button.

 

What are the risks of surgery?

A collection of blood (known as a haematoma) or body fluid (seroma) can build up underneath the skin. Any collection can often be treated using a needle and syringe. Rarely, a return to the operating theatre is needed.

Poor healing leading to wound breakdown and skin loss can occur. Although scars will often become a little red, raised and lumpy over the first three months following surgery, this usually settles to a white line. However, on occasions the changes in the scar may persist and need treatment. Rarely, the position of the tummy button may seem off–centre. Having said that, studies have shown that after bearing children the position of the tummy button can be any point within four centimetres of the central point of the tummy (abdomen).

The scar can sometimes develop small but pointed bulges at either end of the wound. These areas, which plastic surgeons call ‘dog ears’, usually settle down without any intervention. However, out-patient minor surgery under a local anaesthetic is occasionally needed to correct the problem.

Other risks include bleeding, wound infection and chest infection, although these are uncommon. Finally, a rare but serious complication is the development of blood clots in the leg (known as a deep vein thrombosis), which can travel to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism and this can be fatal.

 

When will I be able to get back to my usual schedule?

After the operation a support garment is worn around the tummy, which apart from showering is kept in place for about six weeks. This is to help reduce any swelling and generally make you feel more comfortable.

You should be able to return to work after two to four weeks, depending on the extent of the procedure and the type of job you have but no strenuous activities, aerobic exercises, swimming or contact sports should be planned for the first four weeks; heavy lifting will need to be avoided for at least six weeks.

 

How long do the results last?

You will notice an improvement in your body shape immediately and the numbness in the tummy area will continue to improve over the next few months.  The final result – a flatter and less flabby stomach – can be properly judged after about six months.

The results of tummy tuck can last several years except for those people who gain excessive weight or get pregnant. These patients will not be able to appreciate the changes as much. Age is also an influential factor as the tissues tend to relax with age.

 

 

Recovery

Mr Henley says “Abdominoplasty is a major operation and an uncomfortable one. However, painkillers are given to control the pain, first by injection and then in tablet form. Your tummy will feel very tight and quite sore for the first few days and standing up straight will be difficult at first.”

After the first few days, you will be standing much more upright and generally feeling much less uncomfortable.

You should be able to return to work after two to four weeks, depending on the extent of the procedure and the type of job you have. Any heavy lifting will need to be avoided for at least the first six weeks.

The numbness in the tummy area will continue to improve over the next few months and the final result – a flatter and less flabby stomach – can be properly judged after about six months. Scars will have flattened out and be lighter in colour in about one year.

Tummy Tuck procedure before and after surgery

Patient A

Before Surgery

A combination of pregnancy, aging and weight loss left this lady with a stubborn lower tummy bulge below the belly button (umbilicus).

Seven weeks after surgery

Note how the scar runs from hip to hip.

Six months after surgery

And at six months, the patient was extremely happy with the results.

 

Before Surgery

Six weeks after surgery

6 months after surgery

 

Before Surgery

 

Six weeks after surgery

6 months after surgery

One week after surgery

At one week, you can see that the tummy is much tighter now and the excess skin and fat has been removed. You can also see the bruising and swelling that comes with this type of surgery.

Patient B

Before Surgery

The frontal view also shows the markings put on by the surgeon just before surgery.

 

Ten months after surgery

Before Surgery

Ten months after surgery

You can see how the scar is settling down.

 

Before Surgery

Ten months after surgery

These view show the lady’s umbilicus after surgery. The umbilicus has to be repositioned during the operation.

Mr Henley would like to thank these patients for allowing their photographs to be displayed for the benefit of others who may be considering cosmetic surgery.

The information provided is intended to give a brief outline of the procedure. It is not a substitute for a personal consultation with a surgeon.

Contact 0115 8773711

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