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Abdominoplasty (Tummy tuck)

Loose abdominal skin and excess fat in the abdomen can be a problem for both men and women. Sometimes the causes leading to this condition can be inherited. In other instances the cause may be obesity, substantial weight loss, weakness stretching of the abdominal wall following pregnancy etc.

The picture is almost always the same: a protruding abdomen, a hanging “apron”, a concentration of fat in the lower abdomen plus the appearance of stretch marks.


Epidural with sedation or General anesthesia

Hospital stay
1-2 nights stay

Return to work
7-10 days

Full recovery
4-6 weeks


What is an abdominoplasty?

A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a procedure designed to restore the normal image of your abdomen, by removing excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and by tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall.

When is an abdominoplasty performed?

Abdominoplasty is usually performed in middle aged men and women who have developed a loose hanging abdomen following multiple pregnancies, substantial weight loss etc. Women who plan to become pregnant should usually postpone the operation until after their family is complete.

How is an abdominoplasty performed?


The procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic and takes approximately 2-3 hours. An incision is usually placed in the so called bikini line, just above the pubic hair, from hipbone to hipbone, where it can be hidden by your underwear.

Abdominoplasty 2

A second incision is the made around the navel to free it from the surrounding tissues. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall all the way up to the ribs, and a large skin flap is lifted to reveal the vertical muscles of the abdomen.

These muscles are then tightened by pulling them close together and stitching them into their new position, thus providing a firmer abdominal wall and improving the waistline.

Abdominoplasty 3
Abdominoplasty 4

The skin flap is then stretched down and the excess skin is removed. The fat on the undersurface of the flap is trimmed and a new hole is made for the navel.

The navel and skin are then stitched with absorbable sutures placed internally. A small suction tube may be placed on either side to prevent the collection of fluids in the surgical site.

Abdominoplasty 5

What can I expect after the operation?

As already mentioned, the procedure takes approximately 2-3 hours and the length of stay in hospital is usually 1-3 days. Gauze dressings and a special compression garment will be placed on your abdomen. Post-operative pain is usually well tolerated with regular painkillers. You will find that there will be a couple of pillows under your knees in order to keep these bent and reduce the tension in your abdomen. On the day of surgery you will be encouraged to get out of bed for very short periods of time and you will need to walk slightly bent forwards to reduce the tension. Over the next couple of days you will gradually straighten up. The drains usually stay in place for 24-48 hours until drainage is minimal. The sutures are all placed internally and will dissolve spontaneously.

Following the procedure you will experience considerable swelling and bruising of the abdomen, and, for the first couple of weeks, you will be advised to wear your support garment as much as you can to reduce these. Your scar will normally extend from hipbone to hipbone and initially it will be red, raised and lumpy, but with time it will flatten and fade. Although it will never disappear completely, it should be easily hidden within your underwear or bathing suit.

When can I resume my normal activities?

It is important to realise that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals. Depending on the extent of your surgery and your general physical condition, you may be able to return to non-strenuous work anywhere from one to three weeks after surgery. Sexual activity should be avoided for two weeks and full recovery to your normal activities, including exercise, is expected after 4-6 weeks.


Pictures (c) ASPS, ASAPS, AAFPRS, ADAM, Allergan

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