Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
Many women and men suffer from an immovable and uncomfortable pouch of excess skin and fat in the abdominal area, in spite of a healthy diet and exercise.
Pregnancy, and substantial weight fluctuations or loss can cause the abdominal muscles to separate and weaken. The ageing process and liposuction can also leave a pouch of stretched skin in the abdomen area.
More commonly known as a “tummy tuck”, an abdominoplasty is the surgical removal of loose excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen. This abdominal correction can have additional benefits such as relieving back pain, improved strength during exercise, and improving bladder incontinence issues.
Dr Avery has more than a decade of experience in plastic surgery and has been performing abdominoplasty in Newcastle since 2013.
During your initial consultation, Dr Avery will assess your relevant medical history and before going any further, ensure that an abdominoplasty procedure is a safe and appropriate choice for you.
Abdominoplasty is not intended as a weight loss procedure and is generally not recommended for people who are obese. It is intended for relatively healthy individuals who have loose excess skin and soft tissue most often due to previous weight loss, ageing, previous scarring or pregnancy.
Dr Avery will listen to your individual concerns, and together you can discuss your relevant options and develop a personalised surgery plan to suit you.
Depending on the positioning of the excess skin and the condition of the abdominal muscles, there are two main options for an abdominoplasty procedure:
Complete Abdominoplasty (full tummy tuck)
A complete abdominoplasty involves creating a large incision from one side of the hips to the other, below the underwear line. Another incision is made surrounding the navel, to keep it in place as the skin is moved.
The upper layers of skin and fat are then lifted up to expose the abdominal wall. These stretched abdominal muscles are then sutured together with stitches to tighten the abdomen.
Once the muscles of the abdominal wall have been repaired, the remaining skin layers are stretched down below the incision on the pubic line. The excess skin is removed and a new hole is made for the navel.
Partial Abdominoplasty (mini tummy tuck)
A mini tummy tuck is usually performed when the excess skin lies below the navel, therefore it remains in its original position and only one incision is made below the underwear line. There may still be some tightening of the abdominal muscles during a mini tummy tuck, but it will not be as extensive as that of a full abdominoplasty.
The length of the surgery will depend on the amount of skin and tissue being removed and any additional procedures being performed, such as liposuction. A partial abdominoplasty usually takes between 1–2 hours, while a complete abdominoplasty can take between 3–4 hours.
Many women find it extremely difficult to return to their original body shape after one or more pregnancies, even with proper diet and exercise. Some choose to combine a tummy tuck with other procedures such as liposuction, a breast lift, or breast augmentation in a “mummy makeover” to achieve their desired outcome.
All of our abdominoplasty procedures take place in an accredited hospital, with appropriately trained support staff and anaesthetist.
All patients undergoing an abdominoplasty stay in hospital overnight from 1-4 nights to aid with recovery. Depending on the complexity of the surgery and any additional procedures, and the nature of your job, from 2-4 weeks off work may also be recommended.
In the case of a full abdominoplasty, drainage tubes are often inserted below the main incision to allow the release of fluid. These tubes, and any residual stitches will usually be removed prior to discharge from hospital.
There will be some bruising and swelling, in addition to a feeling of muscle tightness due to the abdominal sutures, which generally subsides about 2-4 weeks after the surgery. You will be required to wear a compression garment for 4–6 weeks to provide support and reduce post-operative pain or swelling.
It is recommended that you avoid heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for at least 4 weeks after an abdominoplasty. Depending on the physicality of your job, you should be able to return to work and light exercise after 2 weeks.
A customised pain relief program will be created for each patient and issued before leaving the hospital. If circumstances change at any stage during the recovery period, then the pain medication can certainly be adjusted accordingly.
Scars from a tummy tuck can vary depending on whether or not the navel is relocated and how well your skin copes with scarring. The large scar from an abdominoplasty should be hidden when wearing underwear or a swimsuit and will generally fade with time.
What is an Abdominoplasty?
Also called a tummy tuck, an abdominoplasty involves removing excess skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen. It can also correct the separation of the midline abdominal muscles that can occur during pregnancy and through other periods of rapid weight changes.
Will there be scarring?
The scarring can vary between patients depending on skin type. Generally the scar lies in a slight curve along the lower abdomen within the line of underwear or swimmers. It will be red at first, and over time fade, for most finishing either a little lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.
Can I get pregnant after having abdominoplasty surgery?
Abdominoplasty does not affect your ability to get pregnant. The skin of the abdomen stretches during pregnancy and this may be uncomfortable following an abdominoplasty. The abdominal muscles will also possibly stretch again during pregnancy and any improvements/repairs performed during an abdominoplasty may be lost. For this reason, it is a good idea to wait until after having children before having an abdominoplasty.
What are the risks?
All surgeries involve some potential risks, these can be general in nature related to surgery and the anaesthetics and also specific for the type of surgery being performed. Blood clots can develop in the legs when undergoing surgery such as an abdominoplasty and this risk extends into the recovery period. It is possible to have an infection at the site of the surgery and wound healing problems. A more extensive discussion regarding potential complications, how to reduce the risk of these, and what to do about them are all discussed during the consultation process.
Avery Plastic Surgery
Suite1, Ground Floor
31-33 Watt Street, Newcastle 2300
Dr Gary Avery
FRACS (Plast Surg) Plastic, Cosmetic, and Reconstructive Surgeon
Call 02 4002 4150
Fax 02 4002 4160
Suite1, Ground Floor
31-33 Watt Street, Newcastle 2300
PO Box 625 Newcastle 2300