A Guide to Abdominoplasty Surgery (FREE Download)
An abdominoplasty (also commonly referred to as tummy tuck surgery) is a cosmetic surgery performed under general anaesthetic that specialist plastic surgeons use to improve the appearance of the abdominal area. During the procedure, the surgeon removes fat and excess skin, contouring the patient's abdomen to appear slimmer and more toned. If a patient has a full abdominoplasty (standard, conventional or traditional tummy tuck), the surgeon also tightens the underlying abdominal muscles.
Whether it is a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck, the type of surgery a patient is recommended will depend on their goals and the specific characteristics of their abdomen as well as the amount of lax skin and tissue the patient has, the severity of the weakness of the muscles, as well as the amount of fat that is present in the area.
The benefits of the procedure include:
- A flatter abdomen
- Greater muscle definition
- Smoother curves
- Tighter skin
- Better fitting clothes
If you want to learn more about Abdominoplasty surgery in Melbourne, call our clinic on (03) 8822 3472 to book a FREE no-obligation consultation today.
Before & After Photos
Why Tummy Tuck Surgery
Throughout an individual's life, their waist and abdomen must contend with more changes than any other body part. Changes occur in men and women due to the following:
- Surgical procedures such as a Cesarean or C-section
- Substantial changes in an individual's weight.
- The natural ageing process.
- An individual's natural body type (genetics)
When these issues occur, every part of the abdominal area is affected and sometimes can resist diet and exercise. In these cases, the only way to fix the issue is with an abdominoplasty involving liposuction to remove fat deposits and excess skin and tighten the midsection's muscles, tissues and fascia.
Complications and Risks Associated with Abdominoplasty
As with all surgical procedures, there are potential risks and complications that an individual needs to consider before choosing to have surgery of any kind. The important issues to consider are:
- It is a major surgery.
- The potential for scarring on the right or left side of the abdomen.
- The possibility of bilateral scarring on the upper abdomen.
- The individual's medical history relates to previous pulmonary embolisms or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
- The risks associated with surgical procedures when medical issues could lead to complications (e.g., diabetes, severe cardiovascular disease).
- Women should wait until they no longer intend to become pregnant again.
- The possibility of hypertrophic or keloid scarring. Men and women who tend to form these highly visible scars should only have an abdominoplasty if they accept this post-surgical scarring.
- History of heart disease, diabetes
- Morbid obesity BMI
- Unrealistic expectations as perfect surgical procedures cannot be guaranteed.
- History of DVT and pulmonary embolism
Some of the common risks include:
- Seroma development.
- Changes in skin sensation.
- Unexpected scarring.
- Poor wound healing.
- Tissue damage.
- A negative reaction to the anaesthesia.
- An allergy to the products used during surgery.
Who Makes a Good Candidate?
People considering an abdominoplasty usually have various issues in the abdomen, such as excess skin and fat in the area around the navel and those with a weak abdominal wall in the lower section of the stomach.
During the initial consultation, the surgeon will determine whether someone is a good candidate for a tummy tuck procedure or if a different procedure would accomplish the results they desire.
- Maintained a stable body weight for at least 12 months - Open to becoming pregnant at some point in the future
- Has an excessive amount of saggy skin in the area
- Have a chronic condition (e.g., diabetes, hypertension)
- Stretch marks present on the lower abdomen
- Plan to lose a substantial amount of weight
- Minimal fat deposits in the abdomen
- Have a BMI above 30 (i.e., morbidly obese)
- Given birth and has weakened abdominal muscles a year later
Not Good Candidates
- Use products that contain nicotine, e.g., cigarettes
- Lost a substantial amount of weight, with or without the help of bariatric surgery.
- Already had abdominal surgery that resulted in the development of a significant amount of scar tissue
- Is in overall relatively good health - Have underlying conditions or not in good health
Find Out If You Are a Good Match Book an Assessment Now.
Types of Abdominoplasty Procedures
1. Full Tummy Tuck (Traditional abdominoplasty)
During a traditional tummy tuck, a horizontal incision is made directly above the pelvic bone but below the typical bikini line area running from one hipbone to the other. By creating this incision along the normal bikini line, the surgeon ensures that the resulting scar remains hidden behind the patient's undergarments and swimwear.
The surgeon uses this hip-to-hip incision because it provides access to the upper and lower sections of the patient's abdominal area, which allows the excess skin above and below the patient's navel to be addressed. During a full abdominoplasty, the surgeon will:
- Remove excess fat deposits via liposuction.
- Use permanent stitches to tighten the connective tissue and the abdomen to keep the muscles in place.
- Remove loose skin and excess tissue.
- Carefully pull the remaining skin downward and then contour it.
- Prevent fluid build-up by inserting drainage tubes before using sutures to close the incision.
- Afterwards, cover the patient's navel and horizontal wounds with a surgical dressing.
- Give the patient a compression garment to wear as they recover (Following the surgeon's directions concerning this garment is vital to the patient's overall results)
Note: If the patient has excessive sagging skin, the surgeon may also create an incision around the navel. This allows the surgeon to remove the excess skin and then move the navel to its appropriate position on the abdomen.
2. A Mini Tummy Tuck
The mini abdominoplasty is ideal for men and women with minimal loose skin and soft tissue on their lower abdomen that they want to remove. It only focuses on the area beneath the navel, which makes it much less invasive than a full abdominoplasty. During the mini tummy tuck, the surgeon does not usually tighten the abdominal muscles or create a new navel; therefore, this incision is relatively short. The procedure involves:
- A horizontal incision is created directly above the pelvic bone and under the bikini line. Since this incision is short, very little scarring remains once it heals.
- Liposuction is used to remove small deposits of fat.
- The incisions are closed with stitches after removing any excess skin and tissue.
Patients may receive an antibiotic during their full or mini abdominoplasty. This is a precautionary step to help prevent the onset of an infection.
In the newer techniques that Dr Attalla at Chelsea Cosmetics performs, the incision length is much smaller than the conventional Abdominoplasty incision above. If required as part of the traditional procedure, he will tighten the abdominal region with special stitches that pull them together and keep them in place.
He will trim excess skin from the lower abdomen to enhance the contoured appearance. The belly button might also be repositioned depending on the quantity of loose skin and laxity of abdominal muscle. If so, another incision would need to be made around the belly button, which will also reposition the belly button to match the old navel position.
If, however, there is only a small, saggy fold of skin to be removed, and the patient has stronger muscles, then the belly button wouldn't need to be removed, which is our version of the 'mini tummy tuck' described above.
Recovery From Abdominoplasty Surgery
Post-operative care is undertaken at the clinic, where the patient is carefully monitored. The recovery time varies for each patient. Before proceeding, consider the period off you may need to recover properly. Most patients need about two weeks off, while some may feel okay returning to their routine sooner. Generally, patients need between three to six weeks to recover, but complete healing can take longer.
Most patients that undergo this procedure must spend several days in bed, even if they do not return home the same day as their surgery. Compression garments and drainage tubes will aid recovery days after surgery.
Do not remove any garments or drains until advised or removed by your surgeon. During your follow-up visits, sutures or stitches will be removed after about one to two weeks. During one of these visits, some pictures might be taken to compare the tummy tuck before and after to determine its effectiveness.
For the first couple of days post-surgery, the patient will likely feel discomfort and pain. The cosmetic surgeon will provide pain medication to ease the pain and help make recovery easier and more comfortable.
7-10 Days After Surgery:
- The swelling and bruising will peak
- Drainage tubes will be removed
- Stitches might be removed
Weeks After Surgery:
- A gradual increase in activity and exercise
- Resuming non-strenuous daily chores
- A subsiding of the bruising and swelling
- The results will begin to show
- The final results will start getting noticeable
- The tightness around the area will go away
- Regular sensations may slowly start to improve
Patients should sleep at least 9 hours daily, lying on their back with their knees bent. Sleeping in this position prevents excess strain from being placed on the incisions. Although the compression garment helps to speed up the recovery process, patients who sleep on their side or stomach should not expect a speedy recovery.
For several weeks, patients must keep from placing significant strain on their incisions and sutures. Neglecting to follow this direction could result in excessive scarring and poor wound healing. So, patients must avoid lifting weights and picking up pets and children until their surgeon releases them to perform these activities. For approximately a month after their abdominal surgery, patients should limit their exercising, slowly easing back into their normal workout routines about four weeks after surgery. Patients can usually begin to perform workouts at the 6-week mark.
For about six weeks, patients must not participate in strenuous physical activities, including:
- Aerobic exercise.
- Riding a bike.
- Fast-paced walking.
- Weight lifting.
Once the healing process is complete, patients should eat healthily and follow a weekly exercise routine to maintain their results.
Tummy Tuck Results - What to Expect
The inflammation and bruising will begin to subside around two weeks, and the tight feeling around the abdominal area will decrease substantially. By this time, normal sensations may slowly return, and a more toned and slimmer physique becomes more visible.
The results can last a lifetime; however, individual results may vary depending on the individual. The fat cells removed via liposuction will not return because the body stops replacing fat cells once an individual reaches adulthood. Nonetheless, the remaining fat cells can expand with weight gain.
The tightening of excess skin usually lasts for a long time; however, it may not last the rest of the patient's life due to the normal ageing process. This skin sagging occurs due to the breakdown in the production of the supportive structures within the skin (e.g., collagen). Patients experiencing this reoccurrence of loose skin may want to consider a follow-up procedure to address the changes.
An individual can take steps to extend the life of their skin-tightening results. For example, remaining hydrated protects the abdominal skin from sustaining damage and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. In addition, refraining from excessive alcohol consumption and avoiding tobacco use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Getting Started - Discover What Is Best For You
People who would like to have a tummy tuck need to understand the potential benefits of having an abdominoplasty and the extent of the surgery, risks and possible complications.
Chelsea Cosmetics has an experienced team in Melbourne who have successfully performed the procedure hundreds of times and will work with you to assess if it is the right procedure for you or not.
Book your FREE consultation with us today if you want to take the next step. We look forward to meeting you and answering any questions you may have.
*All cosmetic surgery is invasive and carries risk
**Individual results vary as the outcomes experienced by one person do not necessarily reflect the outcomes that other people may experience, due to many factors, including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise.