Known as an abdominoplasty, the tummy tuck is a popular surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen and, if necessary, to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall, particularly in women whose muscles have been stretched by pregnancy.
Tummy Tuck: Am I suitable?
The tummy is one of the most difficult areas to lose weight from but a tummy tuck procedure is not suitable for those looking to lose a massive amount of weight. It is particularly good for people who have lost a lot of weight or been pregnant because excess skin, which can never really be eradicated by exercise, can be removed and an improved body contour achieved.
If the fat deposits are only under the navel then you might be suitable for a mini tummy tuck – a less complex procedure.
Your consultation with your surgeon will determine whether the tummy tuck op will give you the results you are expecting. Also a full medical history will be taken to check whether you’re physically able to undergo the procedure.
Tummy Tuck: What do I have to do to prepare?
Your surgeon will give you instructions to help you prepare for surgery and these may include guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. While making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days, if needed.
Tummy Tuck: What’s the treatment like?
This procedure is often combined with liposuction which removes the excess fat before the surgeon recontours the body. Done under general anaesthetic usually, the tummy tuck procedure takes to two to five hours, and the surgeon will make an incision across the abdomen, usually from hip to hip.
The muscles are tightened and stitched into position, fat removed and then the skin is stretched down, with excess skin being removed. Your belly button will be moved to a new position.
Tummy Tuck: What about after?
Expect pain and discomfort for the first few days following surgery but you will be encouraged to start moving around as soon as possible. Bruising and swelling result from this surgery and can take up to a few months to fully disappear.
You should be able to return to work after two weeks but it can take some people longer to recover from tummy tuck surgery, depending on the complexity of the case and their physical condition prior.
One of the major deciding factors in having a tummy tuck is often the scar and the surgery does produce a large scar which can take up to a year before it flattens and lightens. However, the surgeon is able to site the scar in a place that is most convenient for the patient and the marked improvement in appearance after a tummy tuck procedure is usually seen to outweigh this negative.
Tummy Tuck: Are there any risks or side effects?
Like all surgical procedures, there is always a possibility of complications or side effects and, although rare, these can include infection, a reaction to the anaesthesia, blood or fluid collection underneath the skin, nerve damage and blood clots.
Tummy Tuck: What will it cost me?
The cost of a tummy tuck depends on the surgeon or clinic and range from £3,000 to £6,000.