What is a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure that involves the surgical removal of excess skin and fat below the tummy button, and sometimes to tighten the abdominal muscles.

Why do some people have a tummy tuck?

There are many reasons why men and women opt to have a tummy tuck, such as; loose skin after major weight loss, slack abdominal skin and muscles after pregnancy, and abdominal scarring after any other surgery.

What are the different types?
  • Fleur-de-Lys Abdominoplasty (anchor type abdominoplasty) This procedure entails a scar from hip to hip and another one in the midline of the abdomen (excising skin and fat below the tummy button and any excess skin in the midline of the tummy). ·
  • Full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) In this procedure, a cut is made across the body from one hip to the other and around the belly button. The extra skin and fat are removed from just above the pubic area up to the belly button. The muscles above and below the belly button are tightened. The skin is then sewn together and the tummy button is repositioned to a better position. ·
  • Mini tummy tuck This involves making a smaller incision across the lower part of your tummy, just above the pubic area. In a mini tummy tuck, a smaller amount of skin and fat is removed from the lower tummy and sometimes the muscle will also be tightened. No scar is left around the tummy button, which may be stretched to become a different shape.

How much weight can I lose?

Tummy tuck surgery is not a weight-loss method. The aim of the surgery is to improve the shape of the body, not to remove excess pounds. It will not stop you from gaining weight in the future.

Will it get rid of my stretch marks?

The results of a tummy tuck vary from person to person. In some cases, we will be able to remove stretch marks but we cannot guarantee this. It depends on the location and severity of the stretch marks. However, the surgery can reduce the appearance of stretch marks due to the skin being pulled taut.

Can I have a baby after?

Although it is possible to have a baby after a tummy tuck, if you are planning a pregnancy in the future then it is not advisable to have this procedure. The reason for this is that our bodies change dramatically during pregnancy which may reverse the effects of the surgery.

How long will my recovery take?

It takes about 6 weeks to recover, however, this can vary between people. You will need to take 4 to 6 weeks off work and avoid exercise during this time. Light exercise may be started after 6 weeks but more strenuous abdominal exercises should be avoided for 12 weeks. You will be advised to wear a special type of corset or tummy control pants during your recovery which encourages your skin to heal and will help to reduce any swelling. You will not be able to drive for a few weeks following the surgery, Anna and your insurance company will be able to advise you on this.

How long will the operation take and how long will I be in the hospital?

The surgery can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours, it is dependent on the type of tummy tuck and if liposuction is required. Most people will need to stay in the hospital for a few nights.

Are there any side effects?

Once the incision sites have healed you will be left with a scar running across your lower tummy. If you have a full tummy tuck you will also have a small scar around your belly button. Other common side effects include finding it difficult to stand up straight, which will improve over time. You may experience pain, bruising and numbness. While the pain and bruising will go as you heal, the numbness may last for months or years. Finally, there may be a temporary fluid-filled swelling above the scar.

When will I see the results?

It takes about 6 weeks to fully recover and see the full results. At first, your tummy skin may seem too tight but this usually settles down after 6 weeks.

Are the results permanent?

The results of tummy tuck surgery can last for many years if you maintain a healthy weight. However, it is important to be aware that our bodies change as we get older, so you may find that your skin loses some of its elasticity. This can be exacerbated by weight gain.

What is the alternative treatment?

Losing weight and exercising to tighten up the tummy muscles may help to give the results you desire. For some patients, liposuction can also help, this can be done on its own or with a tummy tuck.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.