Abdominoplasty, better known as a tummy tuck, is one of the most popular types of plastic surgery for men and women. Over time, things like weight changes, ageing, and childbirth can all impact how your stomach looks. This can really affect your self-confidence and how happy you are with what you see in the mirror.
Many people turn to abdominoplasty surgery to restore a smooth stomach and sculpted waistline to achieve their dream results.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery flattens the tummy by removing excess fat and skin and tightening the abdominal walls. It can also help remove stretch marks in the lower part of the stomach. Abdominoplasty surgery is a popular treatment, especially following pregnancy and massive weight loss.
The surgery is performed under general anaesthetic. Your surgeon will make a small incision on the pubic mound. During the surgery, the abdominal walls are tightened, and any excess or sagging skin is removed. This leaves you with a flatter, more toned stomach.
There are different types of tummy tuck surgeries. Your surgeon will talk you through your options to help you make the best decision. Types of abdominoplasty surgery include:
- Mini tummy tuck
- Full tummy tuck
- Skin tightening
What are the Different Types of Tummy Tuck Surgery?
There are several types of tummy tuck surgeries. Depending on how much skin and fat you would like removed, one option may be more suitable than another. The procedure time for a tummy tuck ranges from 2 to 4 hours. Although the procedures are similar, your surgeon will use different techniques. This can result in varying scar placements, surgery time, and recovery length.
Full Tummy Tuck
A full tummy tuck is also known as a standard tummy tuck or standard abdominoplasty. It’s the most common type of tummy tuck. This procedure is best suited to patients who have a large amount of fat and skin removed.
During a full tummy tuck, a long incision is made within the bikini line, in the area just above the pubic area from hip to hip. Next, your surgeon will reshape your abdomen from the pubic area to your ribcage. Then, they will remove excess skin and fatty tissue, tighten, reinforce, and repair the underlying abdominal muscles.
Your surgeon will make every effort to keep your scar hidden on the bikini line so that you can’t see it in underwear or swimwear. If your surgeon needs to reposition or reconstruct your naval, they will need to make an incision around your belly button. This would leave you with a small scar around the rim of your belly button.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck is suitable for patients who want to remove a small amount of fat and skin. If you have loose skin, mainly in your lower abdomen, you may be suitable for a mini tummy tuck.
Your surgeon will make a shorter incision, similar to a caesarean scar. The incision will be made across the lower abdomen. Unlike a full tummy tuck, you will not need a second incision around the belly button. Next, they will tighten the abdominal muscles and trim away fat and skin from the lower abdomen. Your belly button will be left in place. Usually, a mini tummy tuck uses liposuction at the same time to shape the abdomen. Your belly button may be a slightly different shape. You will be left with a small curved scar above the pubic area.
Drainless Tummy Tuck
The standard tummy tuck removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen. A drainless tummy tuck achieves the same results, but the big difference is that it eliminates the need for post-surgical drains.
The actual surgical technique is the same in the two procedures. It’s the wound closure that’s different, and it can have a massive impact on your post-surgery recovery. Your surgeon will use an advanced progression suturing technique to close the incision after the procedure. The treatment takes about three hours to perform.
A drainless tummy tuck requires no drains after surgery. Drains can sometimes be fiddly, and removing the need for drains, results in a less complicated and quicker recovery time. Your healing should be more comfortable, and you will require less downtime than a standard tummy tuck. With no post-surgery drains, it decreases the risk of complications.
What Results Can You Achieve From Abdominoplasty Surgery?
Tummy tuck surgery will restore your flat stomach, giving you a more youthful-looking body. It can create a smoother tummy and a smaller waistline. You will have a small scare in the bikini area.
The benefits of a tummy tuck include:
- Restore firmness to the abdominal area
- Provide greater motivation to lose weight
- Improve the appearance of your body
- Strengthen your core
- Better posture and abdominal tone
- Remove stretch marks
- Clothes fit better
Who is the Best Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
If you have excess fat and flab that doesn’t go away with a healthy diet and exercise, a tummy tuck may be right for you. Perhaps you feel your stomach is affecting your confidence and you just want to fit into your clothes comfortably without having to worry about your tummy.
A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or quick fix. We recommend that you are as close to your ideal weight as possible to achieve the best results. The ideal candidate is a non-smoker with a stable weight in relatively good physical health.
Can You Be Overweight When You Get a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is not a type of weight loss surgery. If you are slightly overweight (within 10% of your goal weight), then surgery may be performed. But if you are significantly overweight, the procedure will deliver an unsatisfactory outcome.
Why is Your Weight Important When Getting a Tummy Tuck?
When an individual is overweight, there is usually a portion of fat that is deep behind the underlying muscles. Your surgeon will be unable to access this fat. The best way to lose this type of fat is through diet and exercise. A tummy tuck improves the appearance of the stomach after significant weight loss, ageing, or pregnancy. Performing surgery on an overweight individual doesn’t achieve a flat stomach. If you are over 10% of your ideal weight, you will be asked to lose weight before getting tummy tuck surgery.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Tummy Tuck?
You will feel sore and tender immediately following your surgery. The recovery time really can differ from one person to another. Your doctor will discuss your individual recovery plan with you before surgery.
There is no one answer for how long recovery takes. It can take a few weeks to feel like yourself again fully. You need to prepare for your initial recovery period, especially during the first couple of weeks. After a month or two, you will start to see the results as the swelling goes down. In general, the recovery process takes about six weeks. Be kind to yourself and take the time to rest and follow your recovery plan.
The more time you take to research and prepare for your surgery, the stronger you will be afterwards. Having a firm and toned stomach can make such a big difference to the way you feel and look.
Here is a breakdown of the recovery from a tummy tuck:
- First 24 hours – you will need to be driven home and will need to wear a compression garment for several weeks.
- 1 day – you will feel more up and able to be a little more mobile
- 1 week – you can wash.
- 4 weeks – you can start driving and travelling.
- 6 weeks – you can resume sexual activity, exercise and are on track for full recovery
- 6 months – you should be able to see the final result.
What is a Tummy Tuck Scar Like?
A full tummy tuck leaves a substantial scar just above the pubic area and the belly button. A mini tummy tuck leaves a smaller curved scar above the pubic area. In both cases, your scar will be red, raised and lumpy in the first few months. It may take up to 24 months for the scar to improve, eventually turning pink then white.
How to Prepare for Your Tummy Tuck Surgery
If you’re seriously considering a tummy tuck, there are various things you can do to prepare for your surgery. Ideally, you will have several months to prepare for a tummy tuck.
It’s essential that you are at your ideal weight before tummy tuck surgery, or at least within 10% of your goal weight. Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss. To maximise results, you need to be at your ideal weight.
If you are a smoker, your surgeon will advise you to stop smoking several weeks before your surgery. Smoking increases the chances of several serious complications and can cause poor healing. You will also have to avoid certain medications before your procedure, such as anti-inflammatory drugs.
In the run-up to your surgery, you need to start preparing for your recovery. This means booking time off work, getting help where needed with childcare and around the house. It’s a good idea to prepare some quick and healthy meals and put essential items in reachable locations. Set out some comfortable clothes to wear for the first several days.
What is the Difference Between Liposuction and a Tummy Tuck?
Liposuction and tummy tuck surgeries often appeal to people with similar aesthetic goals, but they are very different. When a person is looking for a smoother, flatter stomach, the two primary cosmetic surgeries that can help you achieve this is liposuction or a tummy tuck.
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is often used to remove excess skin from the stomach. This could be after pregnancy or weight loss, where no amount of exercise or healthy eating can fix the problem. During a tummy tuck, your surgeon removes sagging skin and excess fat and tightens the abdominal walls.
Liposuction also aims to flatten and improve the appearance of the stomach. During liposuction, your surgeon will remove excess fat from the abdomen. However, it does not remove excess skin, any stretch marks, or tighten the abdominal wall.
So, which one is the best for you?
Well, it really depends on your situation.
For example, if you have excess fat or stubborn areas of fat that you just can’t shift, but you have a tight abdominal wall, then liposuction is a great option. On the other hand, if you have excess skin or a stretched abdominal wall, then liposuction may not be enough for you. This is when you would consider a tummy tuck.
Can You Get Liposuction Done at the Same Time as Your Tummy Tuck?
It’s common to perform different plastic surgeries at the same time. Often, when a patient is already in the surgery room, they want to take care of multiple areas simultaneously.
You might be thinking if you can get liposuction and a tummy tuck at the same time together? The short answer is yes; they are frequently done together. It is entirely possible to have abdominal liposuction and a tummy tuck, but don’t expect aggressive liposuction. Liposuction to non-abdominal areas and a tummy tuck often takes place at the same time with excellent results.
To get the best results, your doctor will create an individual treatment and recovery plan. The right procedure or combination of procedures is based entirely on your body and the results you’re looking to achieve. Although both a tummy tuck and liposuction can produce similar results, they are very different, so it’s important that you make the right decision.