“I am still amazed at my own reflection – I always knew there was a ‘normal’ shape under there somewhere!”
Types of Abdominoplasty
The Beauty gurus surgeons offer three different types of tummy tucks: full abdominoplasty, mini- abdominoplasty, and sliding abdominoplasty. A general anaesthetic is normally used for each of these procedures.
In a full abdominoplasty, skin and fat from the lower abdomen, between the pubic area and the navel (belly button), is removed. Following a tummy tuck surgery, a scar will remain slightly above the pubic area, but can easily be covered by underwear or a bikini. An additional scar will be visible around the navel, which will be in its original position on the new abdominal wall.
A mini-abdominoplasty may be performed in cases where the abdominal muscles are separated. This condition is normally the result of a large pregnancy and is referred to as either a ventral or paraumbilical hernia. During the mini-abdominoplasty procedure, a small excess of lower abdominal skin is removed. The belly button is normally left unchanged; however, it may move down an inch or two.
A sliding abdominoplasty is similar to a mini-abdominoplasty, but is used where the excess of skin is in the upper half of the abdomen and does not involve repositioning the naval.
Following Abdominoplasty Surgery
It is common for patients to remain in the hospital for a day or two after tummy tuck surgery. This will give you some time to recover with the hospital staff available in case any abdominoplasty complications arise. When you are ready to go home, you should have someone to drive and stay with you for a couple of days. This is because, initially, mobilization may be slow and painful. In cases where a lot of skin has been removed, it may take at least a week before you can stand up fully. It is important, however, to walk as soon as you can after surgery. Painkillers, and occasionally antibiotics, will be supplied to you, as well as an abdominal corset, which you must wear during your recovery period. You should be fully mobile again within two weeks, but should wait six weeks after your abdominoplasty before returning to strenuous activity.
Abdominoplasty is designed to tighten the muscles and remove excess skin, fat, and stretch marks. However, there are risks involved in obtaining these results. Serious tummy tuck complications, though rare, include a reaction to the general anaesthetic, deep vein thrombosis, chest infections, and serous fluid collections, which may require draining. Other effects of abdominoplasty include numbness between the lower scar and the belly button. While this is usually only temporary, feeling may never be completely restored. In obese patients, some of the fat or skin near the incision may die, which may necessitate further treatment.
What is an Abdominoplasty?
An abdominoplasty is an operation to remove loose skin and fat on your abdomen and tighten up the muscles. This excess tissue is often a result of pregnancy or weight loss. The aim of the operation is to produce a tighter, flatter tummy.
What does the surgery involve?
A full abdominoplasty involves an incision from hip to hip, near the pubic hairline. A separate incision is then made around the navel (belly button). If your muscles have stretched apart, they will be pulled together and stitched in place to tighten your abdomen. Once the underlying tissues have been tightened, the skin is pulled down thus allowing the excess skin to be removed. A small hole is made so that your navel can be stitched in its new position.
The mini-abdominoplasty is similar to a full abdominoplasty, but it requires a much smaller incision and leaves the navel intact. It is suitable for those who only have excess skin and fat below the navel.
Liposuction alone involves removing the excess fat without skin. This is usually performed via two small punctures in the skin crease. The procedure relies on good quality skin, which will retract on its own.
Both the full and mini abdominoplasty procedures are usually carried out under general anaesthetic.
What are the risks and side effects of surgery?
Having cosmetic surgery should be a very positive experience. Complications are infrequent and usually minor. However, no surgery is without risk and it is important that you are aware of these potential problems. They will be fully discussed with you at the time of your consultation and can be found in our abdominoplasty booklet.
What is the estimated time for recovery, absence from work and return to usual activities?
Recovery times vary from one person to another. You normally stay in hospital for 1 to 2 nights and are then discharged home. At week 2 to 3 you can return to work if your job is not too physical. The final cosmetic result will not be apparent until 6-12 months post procedure, when the scars have flattened and faded.
Abdominoplasty post surgery timeline
Day 1 to 3
Support corset in place. May feel tightness on standing up straight and uncomfortable if you sneeze or cough. Keep moving around to help prevent clots forming in the veins of the legs.
Day 4 to 7
Keep taking your pain killing tablets. It is important that you begin to increase your level of activity.
Keep a pillow to hand to hold against your tummy if coughing.
Day 7 to 10
Standing more upright now and there should be much less discomfort.
May be able to return to work if job not too physical. Can drive if you can perform an emergency stop.
Expect to still feel loss of sensation in the tummy area.
Easy to stand up straight now. May be able to remove your corset. Return to work.
Heavy lifting and more strenuous exercise can be resumed.
Scars softening and fading.
The loss of sensation in the tummy area continues to improve.
Scars should have flattened out now and be lighter in colour.
Final result can be judged.
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