What is a tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty, is a procedure to remove excess skin, fat, stretch marks, and scars from the abdomen. It can also tighten the muscles in the area.
Patients who get a tummy tuck are usually already at a healthy weight. It is not a surgery to treat obesity, nor is it for people trying to lose weight. It is best for issues with excess skin and fat around the tummy due to pregnancy, weight loss, or even just the natural aging process.
A tummy tuck can help with:
- Achieving a flatter tummy
- Reducing the gap between your abdominal muscles (abs) that can occur due to pregnancy
- Reducing scars and stretch marks
- Relieving back pain and improving posture
- Improving body confidence
- Relieving some medical issues, such as ventral hernias or some types of incontinence
How does a tummy tuck work?
There are different types of abdominoplasty and related procedures, which work in different ways.
A full abdominoplasty is for patients with a significant amount of extra skin (skin laxity), excess fat and muscle separation.
During surgery, the surgeon will make a cut from hip to hip and to the navel (belly button) to remove the excess skin and fat. They will also tighten the muscles below the navel.
This procedure can leave large scars, but also provides the most improvement in the abdomen’s shape.
Best for people with less excess skin and fat, a mini tummy tuck works in the same way as the procedure above, except the surgeon will not cut around the navel. Instead they will remove a long wedge of skin and fat from the excision between the hips.
Sometimes, the doctor will recommend stomach liposuction in addition to a tummy tuck, as they can be done at the same time. Liposuction can also be an alternative to having a tummy tuck, particularly if you are younger and have good skin elasticity.
How long does a tummy tuck take?
The surgery itself will take anywhere between 2 and 5 hours. You will likely stay overnight, or even for a few days, for monitoring and to ensure your comfort.
You will be up and moving from the day of your operation, although it is important to make sure you have someone to support you to take care of yourself at home during the first 24 hours. You should be back to your regular level of fitness in about 6 weeks.
Your clinical team will recommend taking between 4 and 6 weeks off work to ensure that you heal and recuperate properly.