Tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Purpose:

To alter the shape of the abdomen by removing fat and excess loose skin.

The procedure:

This procedure should be carried out by a surgeon with relevant skills and experience in an establishment registered with the Healthcare Commission.

There are two types of tummy tuck: partial and full. The operation will usually take place under a general anaesthetic. The length of the operation will depend on the extent of the surgery, but it could take up to three hours.

In a partial tummy tuck, the surgeon makes a large incision across the lower abdomen. He or she then separates the skin from the abdominal wall, removes excess fat and cuts away the excess skin. The remaining skin is then pulled down and stitched together at the line of the first incision.

For a full tummy tuck, the surgeon makes and incision across the lower abdomen, just above the pubic area, from hip bone to hip bone. He or she makes a second incision to free the belly button from the tissue that surrounds it and separates the skin from the abdominal wall. He or she then pulls down the muscles and stitches them into their new position, removes fat deposits and cuts away the excess skin. A new hole is then cut for the belly button, and it is stitched back into place. Finally, the surgeon pulls the remaining skin down and stitches it together at the line of the first incision.

Your surgeon will require you to stay in hospital overnight and you will need 2 weeks off work to rest. You will need to avoid heavy lifting and exercise for one month. The sutures will be removed after 1 -2 weeks and you will need to wear a supporting garment for 1-4 weeks to ensure a smooth result.

The results:

Your stomach should appear flatter and your abdominal muscles should feel and look firmer as they may have been repaired.

The risks:

General risks associated with surgery - see Considering cosmetic surgery?

After the operation, you may find it hard to stand up straight and it will feel as if your stomach is tugging - this will disappear over time. You may also experience numbness in your abdominal area. Scars will be permanent, but will fade in time (usually after a year), although there is a risk that puckering on the outside edge of the scar will remain.

Considering cosmetic surgery?

Before you start:

It may be possible to achieve a flat stomach through healthy dieting and effective exercise. Indeed many surgeons recommend that a tummy tuck operation should be used to remove excess skin after dieting and exercise have achieved the right body shape underneath.

A tummy tuck will not stop you gaining weight in the future.

Also see:

Liposuction
Belly button surgery

Procedure information is copyright Department of Health (http://www.dh.gov.uk. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence.