Abdominoplasty or a ‘tummy tuck’ is a popular cosmetic procedure to remove excess fat deposits, tighten loose tissue and sagging skin, and improve muscle and skin tone around the middle and lower abdominal region. Many patients seek this form of surgery following pregnancy or significant weight loss to target the problems diet and exercise failed to rectify.
There are a number of abdominoplasty procedures available. A complete abdominoplasty is the commonest type performed. Other options are a partial or mini abdominoplasty, which is performed when less tissue is required to be removed, and an extended abdominoplasty, which is performed when tissues from areas other than the abdomen have to be removed. Your surgeon will advise you what type of abdominoplasty you need.
The surgeon will take a thorough medical history, reviewing any medications you are taking, whether you have any allergies, and if you have had any prior surgeries or pregnancies.
The surgeon will also perform a physical examination to measure the extent of excess fat and the degree of loose skin in your abdominal region.
It is likely your surgeon will ask you to stop taking certain medications including aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and blood thinners, all of which can increase bleeding risk.
Abdominoplasty is most commonly performed under general anaesthetic. The surgery usually begins with an incision just above the pubic area, along the bikini line across the abdomen, from hipbone to hipbone. A second incision will be made around the belly button to free it from the abdominal tissue.
The skin will be separated from the abdominal wall exposing the abdominal muscles (rectus muscles). These muscles may have been pushed apart by previous pregnancies. The rectus muscles will be stitched back into position, tightening the muscles and reducing the waistline. After the muscles have been repositioned and tightened, excess skin will be removed.
The remaining skin will be re-draped over the abdominal area and stitched into place. The belly button will then be brought out through the skin in its new location.