A tummy tuck is a body-contouring rather than a weight loss procedure.
Pregnancy, weight loss and ageing can all have a negative impact on how our tummies look, adversely affecting skin quality and muscle tone. In some patients, stubborn pockets of fat persist, despite an appropriate diet and exercise programme. An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, addresses these issues by removing the excess skin and fat and tightening the underlying abdominal wall muscles.
A tummy tuck is a body-contouring rather than a weight loss procedure. As such, you will get the best results if you have lost any unwanted weight prior to the surgery and have achieved a stable weight, in your ideal, healthy weight range. Maintain your diet and exercise programme. It is absolutely imperative that you have stopped smoking for at least 3 months, if not 6 months prior to your surgery. Smoking has catastrophic effects on wound healing and greatly increases your risk of complications in general.
The extent of the surgery is determined by the amount of skin and fat to be excised and the degree of muscle separation present. This will be determined during your consultation. In a full abdominoplasty, the excess skin and fat is discarded and the central abdominal wall muscles are returned to their original position. The resultant scar extends from hip to hip. An additional scar around your belly button is necessary, so that it can be relocated to an appropriate position on your new, smoother, flatter tummy. A mini abdominoplasty targets the excess skin and fat in your lower tummy only, producing a shorter scar along your panty line. Both types of abdominoplasty are performed under general anaesthetic and involve a 1 to 3 night stay in hospital.
You will need to keep your wounds clean and dry for 48 hours after your surgery. A supportive garment should be worn for six weeks. In order to minimise scarring, you should tape your scars for same period of time. Thereafter, massaging your scars and topical silicone will hasten their transition to thin, flat, pale scars.
Your return to work will be determined by the extent of your surgery and what type of job you do. In general, most patients require 3 weeks off post-operatively, though heavy lifting should be avoided for six weeks.
Ideally, begin walking early in the post-operative period. It is advisable, however, to avoid core strengthening exercises for 12 weeks. Thereafter, resume your normal exercise programme in a gradual manner.
If you have plenty of lax tummy skin, your caesarean scar can be removed at the time of your tummy tuck. If your scar is very low or if you don’t have a large volume of excess skin, then it may not be possible to remove it.
After your consultation, Dr Collins will provide you with an estimate which will include hospital and anaesthetic costs in addition to the surgical fee. The cost will be determined by the complexity of your surgery. A mini abdominoplasty ranges from $9,000 to $12,000 and a full abdominoplasty will cost between $15,000 and $20,000. Additional, simultaneous procedures will incur additional costs.