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Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)

A tummy tuck removes excess skin and fat, and tightens your abdominal muscles

An abdominoplasty (or ‘tummy tuck’) is an operation to improve the appearance of your abdomen.

It can involve removing excess loose skin, fat and stretch marks and tightening the abdominal muscles.

It can sometimes be combined with liposuction to help shape and sculpt your abdomen.

The aim is to remove excess loose skin on the tummy that cannot be removed through exercise – for example, excess skin caused by pregnancy or losing a lot of weight.

Types of tummy tuck

There are several different types of tummy tuck, but standard abominoplasty the most popular type of tummy tuck, offering successful tummy tuck results.

People can undergo a full tummy tuck, a mini tummy tuck or an extended tummy tuck, as well as other variations of the procedure.

The type you opt for depends on your wants and needs, which you can discuss in detail with your Consultant.

One body contouring altnerative to a tummy tuck is liposuction, but this is not necessarily a fixed alternative. Body countouring is an umbrella term to describe surgeries that reshape your body.

Liposuction only removes fat, whereas abdominoplasty removes fat and skin. It may be performed after your tummy tuck.

Male tummy tucks and female tummy tucks are very similar. Subtle differences depend on the shape of your tummy and the technique used by your Consultant. 

Your abdomen should be firmer and have a better shape.

Tummy tuck before and after

Before a tummy tuck, you might have excess skin or a gap between your abdominal muscles, causing you to feel uncomfortable. Removing this excess skin and fat will help you feel much better. 

A tummy tuck also helps with:

  • Strengthening your abdominal wall;
  • An improvement in self-confidence;
  • Removing stretch marks;
  • Removing excess skin and fat, and
  • Giving your abdomen a more toned and slimmer appearance.

There are many reasons why you might want a tummy tuck.

Why are you considering surgery?

If you're considering surgery because you are unhappy with your appearance, or you're feeling physically uncomfortable due to your tummy, then a tummy tuck might be a good option for you.

It is common to feel unhappy with the shape of your abdomen due to: pregnancy, experiencing significant changes in weight, abdominal surgery, ageing our your natural body type.

You are most likely to benefit from an abdominoplasty if your abdomen makes you feel uncomfortable, or you are self-conscious about what your abdomen looks like.

Your Consultant will carry out a detailed assessment before deciding if surgery is suitable for you.

If you're thinking of going ahead, make sure you're aware of the cost and the fact that it's major surgery, with risks to consider.

Do lots of research and take time to reflect on your decision, you should not base your decision on price alone.

How long will results last?

Tummy tuck results are generally considered permanent, but there are some exceptions, such as if you fall pregnant. You can discuss this in detail with your doctor.

Will I be left with scars?

You will be left with a slight horizontal scar across your lower tummy, but this will likely heal and fade over time.

If you'd like to have a consultation with one of our expert consultants, why not book an appointment online today.

They'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

There are several alternatives to having a tummy tuck, these include:

Diet and exercise

Changing your diet and exercising to lose weight could eliminate the need for a tummy tuck.

Liposuction without a tummy tuck

Liposuction removes unwanted body fat, but not skin. A tummy tuck removes both excess fat and skin. You can have both liposuction and a tummy tuck, or you could have liposuction without a tummy tuck.

Weight loss

Weight loss and fat loss could eliminate the need for a tummy tuck.

A non-surgical tummy tuck

This involves skin tightening and body contouring through certain technologies using non-invasive, non-surgical techniques. 

To find out more about tummy tuck alternatives, speak with your Consultant. They can help you make the best decision for you.

Apronectomy

Apronectomy is an alternative to tummy tuck surgery or abdominoplasty. It removes the extra or unwanted skin near the lower abdomen, also called the abdominal apron.

The cosmetic surgery experts remove the excess skin and then the wound is closed with stitches. People who are considered overweight, have ageing issues, pregnant, or experienced rapid weight loss can go for apronectomy surgery.

Tummy tuck surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes 2 to 5 hours.

The following are the main techniques that your surgeon may use. They will discuss with you which technique is most appropriate for you.

Before the procedure, your doctor will answer any questions and ease any concerns you might have.

Full tummy tuck

This technique is suitable if you have a lot of excess skin. Your surgeon will make a curved cut from one hip to the other, going down to just above your pubic area. They will remove any excess skin and fat between your pubic area and your umbilicus (belly button).

Your surgeon will cut under the skin above your umbilicus, pulling it downwards and tightening it. Sometimes they will need to reconstruct your umbilicus. In addition, your surgeon may need to tighten the muscles of your abdominal wall.

Fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty

This tummy tuck procedure is suitable if you have a lot of excess skin hanging downwards and around your abdomen. The procedure is similar to a standard abdominoplasty. Your surgeon will also tighten your waist.

Mini tummy tuck

This technique is suitable if you have only a little excess skin. Your surgeon will need to make only a small cut just above the pubic area to remove the excess skin.

Lower bodylift or belt lipectomy

These techniques are suitable after significant weight loss, usually as a result of bariatric surgery. Your surgeon will remove excess skin and fat from your sides, abdomen and lower back.

Endoscopic tummy tuck

This technique is suitable if you only need to have the muscles of your abdominal wall tightened. Your surgeon will make small cuts and use a flexible telescope (endoscope) with surgical instruments to tighten the muscles of your abdominal wall.

Are there any side effects to consider?

After the procedure, you will be left with a scar running across your lower tummy and, if you had a full abdominoplasty, a scar around your belly button.

It's also common after an abdominoplasty to:

  • find it difficult to stand up straight – it may feel like your tummy is being pulled (this will improve over time)
  • have pain and bruising
  • feel numbness in your tummy for a few months to years
  • have a temporary fluid-filled swelling above the scar
  • have red, raised tummy tuck scars in the first 6 weeks which eventually fade

Preparing for surgery

Your clinical team will provide you with pre-operative instruction and help you prepare for surgery in the safest and most efficient way possible. You're in safe hands.

Like any surgery, tummy tuck surgery comes with potential risks.

What are the risks?

Please bear in mind the general and specific complications regarding this type of operation.

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Blood clot in your leg
  • Blood clot in your lung
  • Unsightly scarring of your skin

Specific complications of this operation

  • Developing a collection of blood (haematoma) or fluid (seroma) under the skin;
  • Numbness or continued pain on your abdomen;
  • Wound-healing problems;
  • Cosmetic problems;
  • Infection;
  • Changes in sensation;
  • Fluid accumulation, and
  • Tissue necrosis (dying skin tissue).

Speak to your Consultant about these risks. They will be able to answer any questions you might have about them.

It's important to know the details of tummy tuck recovery, and what to expect from recovering from surgery at home.

How long will it take me to fully recover?

You should be able to go home after 2 to 3 days and will be able to return to work after 2 weeks, depending on your type of work. It’s important for you to not have sex for 3 weeks, and then be gentle.

The healthcare team will advise you on exercise at home to help keep you at a healthy weight and improve the tone of your abdominal muscles. They will also tell you the best way to manage pain from surgery, treat any tummy tuck scarsand maintain your health in general.

The results of an abdominoplasty improve gradually over the first 6 months.

The best results will happen if you maintain a healthy weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Can I have a baby after a tummy tuck?

Yes, you can have a baby after a tummy tuck, but it is possible that the results may come undone as a result of this.

If your abdomen looks saggy because the muscles of your abdominal wall are slack, your appearance may improve if you follow an exercise programme.

If the problem is caused mainly by too much fat, it may be better to have only liposuction, where the fat is sucked out using a small tube.

How much does a tummy tuck cost? The cost of your surgery will depend on where you choose to have surgery, although it is generally between £5000-1000.

If you want to find out more about tummy tuck prices and how to pay for a tummy tuck, you can call us for advice on 0808 301 7490 or book your tummy tuck online with one of our esteemed plastic surgeons.

Specialists Offering Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)

Mr Shaheel Chummun

Consultant Cleft and Plastic Surgeon

MBBS MRCS FRCS(Plast) MASurg(Cranio)

BMI Bath Clinic

View profile Book online

Mr Amit Pabari

Consultant Plastic Surgeon

MB,BS, MRCS, FRCS(Plast)

BMI The Princess Margaret Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Anas Naasan

Consultant Plastic Surgeon

MB, ChB, FRCS, FRCS(Plast)

BMI Kings Park Hospital 1 more BMI Ross Hall Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Navid Jallali

Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive Breast and Cosmetic Surgeon

BSc, MB ChB (Hons), MD, FRCS (Plast)

BMI Bishops Wood Hospital 1 more BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Matthew Stodell

Consultant Plastic Surgeon

MBChB, MSc, FRCS (Plast)

BMI The London Independent Hospital

View profile Book online

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