Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Abdominoplasty, or “tummy tuck”, involves the removal of loose skin and excessive fat from the abdomen and tightening of the abdominal muscles, improving contour, tone and strength.

How can this procedure help me?

The procedure is particularly useful to restore firmness after pregnancy and to re-contour the body after significant weight loss.

Post-pregnancy many women suffer loss of muscle tone and skin elasticity, a problem exacerbated after multiple pregnancies.   A tummy tuck can improve strength and return your body to its pre-pregnancy contours. The procedure is often combined with breast surgery in a “Mummy Makeover”, which is designed to target the areas most affected by pregnancy and breast feeding.

People who have lost a significant amount of weight are often faced with sagging skin and loss of tone due to overstretched abdominal muscles. A tummy tuck will correct these issues, to optimise your new body shape.

The procedure can also be recommended to remove loose sagging abdominal skin that may hang over scars from a caesarian or an appendectomy.

Is Liposuction the answer?

A tummy tuck is usually combined with liposuction to assist in removing particularly stubborn fat. However, liposuction alone is not well suited to addressing loose skin or abdominal muscle strength. 

When is the right time?

For women it is best to wait until after you have finished having children before having a tummy tuck. Otherwise, future pregnancy will stretch the abdominal muscles again and your results will be lost.

The procedure is advised when you are close to your ideal weight and your health and nutrition is normal. While it is not a procedure designed to correct weight problems, sometimes it is done early to assist in weight loss and regaining fitness.

What can I expect in the consultation process?

The first step when you are considering a tummy tuck is a consultation with Dr. Arianayagam. You should frankly discuss your goals and expectations at this meeting, and be prepared to answer a variety of questions about your current health, medications, allergies and any past medical treatments.

Abdominoplasty requires a thorough examination of the muscles, fat and skin of your abdomen and how it relates to your overall size and body shape. After examination, Dr. Arianayagam will discuss the options available and his recommendations to provide the best and most natural looking outcomes.

You are encouraged to ask questions. It is important that you understand the procedure, potential complications and the results you can expect to achieve.

Ideally, a second consultation is had a week or two later to give you the opportunity to come back with more questions and to confirm your decision.

What does the procedure involve?

A tummy tuck is always performed under general anaesthesia at Baringa Private Hospital, where you will be admitted as an inpatient.   The procedure usually takes 3-4 hours, and you will be in hospital for several days.

Incisions are made as discussed in your consultation. After the primary incision, the skin and fat are lifted off the abdominal muscles, and these muscles are tightened. The loose skin is then pulled down so it is taut and any excess loose skin is removed. The umbilicus (belly button) is then repositioned.

What is recovery like?

You are likely to experience some pain and swelling after a tummy tuck. The pain can be controlled with pain relievers. Initially drains will be placed in the abdominal cavity to removed excess body fluid and reduce swelling.

Wounds are closed with dissolving stitches under the skin, so there is no need to have stitches removed.

Immediately following surgery you will have surgical dressings on the wound. Once the drain is removed you will need to wear compression garments for 3 months.

The key healing period is the first 3 weeks. Over this period you will be asked to significantly restrict your activities. Dr Arianayagam recommends time off work during this critical recovery period and you will need help from your family.

Will I have scars?

With a full abdominoplasty the cut and final scar will go from hip to hip, most commonly just over the pubic area. Usually there is also a scar around or within the belly button. These scars will be visible, although less so after several months.

Patients who do not require correction of the lower abdominal muscles often have a smaller scar, similar to an extended caesarian scar.

Make sure you discuss the positioning of the scar during initial consultations with Dr. Arianayagam.

What complications can arise from this procedure?

As with all surgical procedures, there will always be risks such as post-operative bleeding, allergic reactions, infection, deep vein thrombosis and haemotoma.

There are also some risks and complications that are specific to a tummy tuck.

Asymmetry of abdominal region

After a tummy tuck it is possible to have unevenness in the abdominal region or an unaligned belly button. It is important to make sure you have fully healed, 6 to 8 months after surgery, before making this judgment. Usually abdominal asymmetry and umbilicus (belly button) malposition can be corrected with revision surgery.

Altered abdominal sensation

Most people having a tummy tuck will regain abdominal sensation. However, a small percentage of patients experience permanent reduction of sensation, numbness or pain in the abdominal area.

“Dog Ears”

A dog-ear refers to skin protuberance that can form at the end of an incision, including those along the hips after a tummy tuck. Small dog-ears may be managed with massage and steroid injections. A persistent dog-ear may warrant minor scar revision.

Elevation of pubic hair

With the tightening of the abdominal region it is possible that the pubic hairline will be elevated.

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