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Tummy tuck

Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a procedure that shapes the abdominal wall. This is done by removing excess loose skin and fat, and by tightening the underlying muscles.

Tummy tuck surgery can be done in many different ways. A small procedure might leave a 20cm horizontal scar in the lower abdomen while a complete body lift would leave a scar around the whole trunk.

Preparing for a tummy tuck

In a smaller procedure, the navel is left untouched but in most procedures, it is repositioned to allow more skin and fat to be removed. In this case, there will be a small scar around the navel as well as a much longer scar going across in the bikini line.

Occasionally the rectus muscles, or ‘six-pack’ which lie vertically on either side of the midline, have separated, so during the operation, they would be stitched back together.

This operation removes skin and fat from the anterior abdominal wall but will do little to the muscle wall of the abdomen so if the muscles are not in good shape exercise will be required to achieve the best result.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a tummy tuck?

    A tummy tuck can be used as a weight-loss reduction surgery, but it gives the best results when used to remove excess loose skin, for example after pregnancies or after a person has lost a lot of weight already.

    Is tummy tuck right for me?

    If you are a healthy weight and within the correct BMI range for your age and height, but want a toned stomach and to remove excess skin, a tummy tuck could be the right choice for you. If you are overweight, it is recommended that you lose weight through diet and exercise first - a tummy tuck after this type of weight loss is more effective and will give better results.

    How does the tummy tuck procedure work?

    The most common type of tummy tuck involves making an incision across the lower abdomen, usually around 20cm in length. Your navel (belly button) may be repositioned to allow the surgeon better access to the fat and muscle across the abdominal area. The surgeon will remove excess fat and skin, and then close the incision. With the removal of the excess fat and skin the incision is closed to create a smooth finished stomach.

    What can I expect from recovery?

    A tummy tuck is a relatively big cosmetic surgery, but fortunately, recovery is quite straightforward, although you will need to take time off work. We recommend taking 4 weeks off work for optimum recovery time, but we understand depends entirely on your situation.

    After the surgery, you will usually spend a few nights in the hospital after the procedure to help us monitor the closing of the incision and any swelling. You may need to take antibiotics to prevent infection and you may have an IV drip for fluids or drainage tubes - these will be removed before you are sent home.

    At home, you can take ordinary painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen to deal with any soreness or swelling. You will have to wear a tummy support garment (sometimes called a medical corset) to help encourage healing and to keep your muscles in the right position. We also recommend you sleep or rest with your knees bent, to help take the pressure off your stitches.

    You should be able to start doing light activities within 2 weeks, but as with all surgeries, you must take things slowly. Do not drive until you can comfortably wear a seat belt (usually around 4-6 weeks), and start back exercising gently and carefully.

    Is there any follow-up aftercare I need to do?

    We recommend that once you are fully healed and back to your normal daily activities, it's a good idea to maintain a healthy diet and exercise. Core exercises like crunches or sit-ups are a great way to strengthen your abdominal muscles and will give your tummy tuck the best results.


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