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.
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.
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.
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.