Tummy tuck surgery, also called abdominoplasty, is an operation performed on both men and women to remove excess fat and loose skin from the abdominal area. The surgery is not a treatment for weight loss, but rather a procedure used to rectify a specific problem area around the tummy that cannot be shifted through diet or exercise. The operation can be used to remove loose folds of skin left as a result of substantial weight loss and is also an option for women after pregnancy to tighten stretched skin and muscles.
What does the operation involve?
There are several types of tummy tuck depending on the amount of skin or fat to be removed. Determined by the type of procedure, the operation can take between 3 to 4 hours and is usually carried out under general anaesthetic.
During a standard tummy tuck surgical cuts are made in the abdomen and along the lower half of the stomach, just above the pubic line. Muscles that have stretched or torn can be tightened, excess fat can be removed and the skin is pulled together allowing any excess to be trimmed. The belly button is repositioned and the cuts are closed with stitches. Once the operation is complete the wound is covered and the lower abdomen firmly wrapped with bandages.
What to expect post surgery?
Specialist post–op care:
> Pressure garment to go over the dressings and to be worn day and night for 2 weeks and just during the daytime for next 2 months.
> TED stockings to be worn for 2 weeks.
> Moisturise scar after first 3 months.
Please click here for more general post-operation care.
What are the risks?
Common side effects:
> Pain and bruising for the first few days as well as some discomfort when standing or a tight sensation around the abdomen.
> Swelling and areas of numbness can last for a few months.
Uncommon but potential complications:
As with any operation problems may arise with an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic, excessive bleeding, blood clots or infection. Complications can occur during or after the procedure.
Further risks relating specifically to tummy tuck surgery include:
> Permanent numbness around the lower half of the tummy.
> Unusually red or raised scars.
> Haematoma: If bleeding occurs under the skin further surgery may be required.