About the tummy tuck or abdominoplasty procedure:
Tummy Tuck, Abdominoplasty or Apronectomy is an operation to remove loose overhanging skin and fat in your tummy area and tighten up the muscles. The aim of the operation is to give you a tighter flatter stomach. It is not designed to be a way of loosing weight itself. A tummy tuck requires a general anaesthetic.
Why having a tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck is a procedure that is becoming more and more popular in women as well as men. There are many reasons for a tummy tuck. After loosing a lot of weight people are often left with loose folds of skin in their abdomen. Similarly pregnancy can also weaken the skin and the muscles. Another reason is tightening a “tummy bulge” that is resistant to exercise. In general a tummy tuck gives you the ability to wear more fitted clothing, or clothes that you may have previously avoided, increasing overall self confidence.
What should I expect during my consultation?
The initial consultation is the most effective way for you to know if a tummy tuck is right for you. It is helpful for you to bring in a list of questions that you have thought about, including concerns that can be specifically answered.
You and your Surgeon will discuss what you hope to achieve from your surgery. Your goals and expectations and how realistic they are. Abdominoplasty is a commonly performed and generally safe procedure. However all surgery carries some element of risk. Your Consultant will explain common side effects and frequently occurring risks. We want you to be informed about your choices to help you be fully involved in making any decisions.
During your consultation you will be asked details of your medical history, medication you take (prescribed by a doctor or bought over the counter) including vitamin supplements and any previous surgery you may have had.
Your Plastic Surgeon will examine your abdomen to evaluate the skin condition, and muscle tone.
Please ask about anything you do not fully understand or wish to have explained in more detail.
How will I prepare for surgery?
If you are a smoker, please stop smoking. This is because smoking can delay healing.
Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen
Maintain physical activity
Eat healthily and avoid excess alcohol
Arrange to be collected from hospital and have someone take you home and stay with you for 24 hours.
What happens on the day of surgery?
Before your operation your Anaesthetist will visit you in the ward to talk to you about your anaesthesia.
You and your surgeon will both sign the consent form to document your agreement to treatment.
This is also a good time to ask any outstanding questions you have.
Photographs of your abdomen will be taken before the operation as part of your clinical record.
Your abdomen will be marked with a pen to show the positioning of scars as agreed with your Surgeon.
What happens after surgery?
Once you are asleep you will have an incision between the hipbones in the bikini line. The operation includes the transfer of the navel (belly button) to a new position, reinforcement of the abdominal wall by suturing loose muscles, and excess skin and subcutaneous tissue removal if required. The incisions are then closed using dissolvable stitches. The operation takes around 3 hours under general anaesthesia.
Will I have a scar?
Yes, the scar is usually across the lower abdomen and stretches from one side of the hip to the other, depending on the size of the stomach. As it is low in the bikini line it should be easily covered by underwear. There is also a less conspicuous scar around the umbilicus (navel). A scar will result from all surgery and takes time to fade and soften and this will take up to a year.
When can I go back to work?
We usually advise two weeks off work, taking into account the physical requirements and activity levels of your job.
Recovering from a tummy tuck:
Every patient is individual and different in both how their body heals and what their surgery will entail. The best thing you can do to minimise your recovery time is to closely follow the instructions of your Plastic Surgeon.
Your abdomen will feel tight and sore for a few days. You will be given some painkillers to make you more comfortable. Sometimes dressings are needed for a few weeks. You should wear the abdominal binder for 6 weeks. Most people can return to work after two to four weeks. You should avoid driving for two weeks and strenuous exercise, running or heavy lifting for six weeks. Although you will have permanent scarring, it will usually fade with time. Many people feel happier and less self conscious about the way they look after their operation.
How long will my results last?
The results can be permanent as long as you maintain a healthy weight after your surgery. Future pregnancies can have an effect on the appearance of the abdomen.
What should I expect to pay for a tummy tuck?
The general price range for abdominoplasty is from £6,000.
The fees generally cover the facility your procedure will take place in, the anaesthesia, the procedure and any other miscellaneous costs.