An abdominoplasty (commonly called a ‘tummy tuck’) involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the lower part of the abdomen (tummy) to give a flatter, more toned appearance.
There may be excess, redundant skin over the abdominal area following natural life events such as, pregnancy and childbirth, ageing and natural weight gain and weight loss. Following major weight loss, there may be a significant overhang of excess tissue.
Diet and exercise can help to some extent, but it can difficult to get rid of residual tissue and achieve the body shape that you desire. As a result, you may feel self-conscious about your body and have lost your self- confidence and may be reluctant to do certain activities or wear tight clothing. You may also feel self-conscious and uncomfortable when being intimate with your partner.
There are 4 main types of abdominoplasty and the technique used depends on the amount and position of the excess skin and fat. Liposuction can be performed in combination with these abdominoplasty techniques to improve the contour of the tummy, hips and thighs.
A mini tummy tuck is useful in patients where there is only a slight excess of skin and fat in the lower part of the tummy. It leads to a low horizontal scar below the bikini line but avoids scars around the belly button.
This is the most commonly performed type of tummy tuck. It is used when there is excess skin and fat both above and below the belly button. There is a low horizontal scar below the bikini line as well a small scar around the belly button.
This procedure removes excess tissue in the central and lower portions of the abdomen leaving an anchor shaped scar over the abdomen. This technique is used in major weight loss patients.
This procedure removes any significant overhanging ‘apron’ of tissue containing skin and fat from over the pubic area. The umbilicus is kept intact and it leaves just a long horizontal scar across the lower part of the tummy. As it is less extensive than a full abdominoplasty, it is suitable for those with significant medical conditions and are not able to tolerate a long anaesthetic.
The main requirements to have tummy tuck surgery are:
Smoking: if you are a smoker, then it is important that you stop 6 to 8 weeks ahead of surgery to minimise wound healing problems and promote good healing.
Weight: it is important that your weight is stable and you are happy with your weight before proceeding with surgery. Further weight gain or loss can alter the results of your surgery. Your height weight ratio (body mass index) must be less than 40 to have major surgery.
Medical fitness: as an abdominoplasty is major surgery, it is important to be medically fit for a general anaesthetic procedure so that your procedure goes well without any major complications.
The vast majority of patients having abdominoplasty surgery heal well without any complications. However, every procedure has a risk of complications and these must be carefully considered before proceeding.
There will be permanent scarring as a result of the surgery and the pattern of scarring varies depending on the technique used. Other risks include, bleeding, delayed wound healing, wound infection or deep tissue infection(abscess), bruising and swelling, skin or umbilical loss, wound dehiscence, dog ears, residual excess tissue, seroma (fluid collection requiring drainage in clinic), reaction to the stitches, poor scarring, altered or reduced abdominal skin sensation, asymmetry, allergic reactions, risks of general anaesthetic and bloodclot formation in the legs or the lungs.
For more information on the associated risks, view our abdominoplasty information leaflet.
The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and you will be able to go home the next day.
You will go home with two drains coming out through the skin in your groin area. The drains are plastic bottles connected to your wound via plastic tubes and they aim to remove any excess fluid from the wound. The drains are removed 3 to 7 days after surgery in the clinic once the daily drainage amount is minimal.
It is important to keep mobilising after surgery to prevent complications such as blood clot formation in your legs and lungs. Some patients are given blood thinning injections to take at home for a few days after surgery.
Following the surgery, you will be seen in the dressing clinic at 10 to 12 days to check on your wounds. The sutures are all dissolvable and so there are no stitches to take out.
An abdominal garment / binder will need to be worn for 6 weeks after surgery. In the first 2 to 3 weeks, the wound will feel tight and you will have to remain slightly bend to take the tension off the wound.
Find more information about the post-op care in our abdominoplasty information leaflet.
During the first 2 weeks after surgery, you will be mostly at home. From then, you should be able to go for short outdoor walks. After 4 weeks, you will be able to do longer walks.
After 3 weeks, if your wounds heal as expected and you feel comfortable enough to do an emergency stop, you should be able to drive.
By 6 weeks, you will be able to return to full, normal activity and you will no longer need to wear the garment / binder.
Your return to work depends on your occupation. It should be possible to work from home a few days after surgery. If you are unable to work from home, then we recommend you take 2 to 3 weeks off work.
Find out more about the recovery in our abdominoplasty information leaflet.
Miss Tadiparthi delivers a personalised service to her patients and she will see you every step of the way from the date you have surgery through to 1 year after surgery. Our prices include the cost of surgery as well as the follow up after the operation.
The cost of a standard full tummy tuck without liposuction starts from £7000.00 and the cost of a standard tummy tuck with liposuction starts from £9000.00 under general anaesthetic.
The cost of a mini tummy tuck without liposuction starts from £5500.00 and the cost of a mini tummy tuck with liposuction starts from £7500.00 under general anaesthetic.
View our before and after photos of our previous abdominoplasty patients in our gallery.