An abdominoplasty is a well-known procedure that removes excess skin and fat from your lower abdomen to produce a narrower waist and a flatter stomach for a tighter and more youthful appearance. More commonly referred to as a ‘tummy tuck’, this operation can help you lose body hang-ups caused by multiple pregnancies, ageing or even loose skin from significant weight loss.
The majority of patients who opt for a tummy tuck will do so after pregnancy, where frequently weakened abdominal muscle tone can easily cause an abdominal bulge and a poor abdominal contour. An abdominoplasty is great for tackling loose tissue and sagging skin, although it can also be used to improve muscle and skin tone around the abdomen area too.
Example of abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) at The Clarence Clinic
Here you can see pre-op and post-op photos of one of our patients who has undergone abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) to remove loose skin and give a smoother silhouette.
Note: Individual results may vary.
What does the procedure involve?
Performed under general anaesthetic, we will remove your excess skin and fat using a transverse incision that will be hidden behind the line of your underwear. This incision will start just above your pubic area and will run horizontally between your hip bones. The second incision is made around your belly button. Once the skin has been separated from the abdominal wall, we use strong sutures to really tighten your rectus abdominis muscle to reduce your waistline. After your muscles have been repositioned, excess skin is removed before the remaining skin is returned and stitched into place. Your belly button will also be put back in a new location. You’ll have a few drains added as these allow fluids to be removed easily. The procedure can take around three hours in total.
For patients with a smaller amount of skin excess in the lower abdomen, a mini-abdominoplasty can be performed. This removes a portion of the skin below the umbilicus through a shorter incision and doesn’t require a new position for the belly button to be created.
If you have larger amounts of skin and fat excess around your sides and at the back of the abdomen (usually after more significant amounts of weight loss), an extended abdominoplasty or body lift may be offered instead. This procedure includes incisions around the sides and the back to remove more extensive amounts of excess tissue in these areas.
What is involved in the recovery process?
After your abdominoplasty, you will be expected to have a night in hospital. Your umbilicus stitches will be taken out a week after your operation and you will also be given a support corset to wear for the first six weeks after surgery – this will help combat swelling and bruising too. You should be able to return to work and a normal social life after around two weeks, however, you should be careful to avoid any heavy lifting for approximately six weeks. You also might want to strip back your gym routine and take on more beginner focused workouts while your body is recovering.
Often compared to a c-section, you will be expected to rest for the first one to two weeks after your procedure, with your mobility quite restricted for the first few days. It is also important to keep your abdominal area clean and dry, as often this procedure uses dissolvable stitches. We recommend that you wear loose and dark clothing for the first week post-op.
Can I have an extra procedure with my tummy tuck?
An abdominoplasty is often combined with liposuction, a fat removal procedure, to further enhance the appearance of your body. Common areas for this treatment include the thighs, flanks and back.
What will happen during my consultation?
To achieve the best results for you, we will always conduct a detailed consultation to meet your needs. First, we will talk through your medical history, double checking whether you are on any medication and also seeing if you have any allergies we need to be aware of. It’s also useful that we know of any prior surgeries or pregnancies. Following this, we will then take some physical measurements to assess your excess fat levels as well as the degree of loose skin in your abdominal area.
If you are taking aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and blood thinners, you may be asked to stop these medications in the run-up to your operation, as they are known to increase the risk of bleeding.
Are there other, similar procedures I could have?
For a more all-encompassing option that also factors in weight loss around the back, you could opt for a body lift. This treatment combines the abdominoplasty with the removal of tissue circumferentially around the back of the body. It works particularly well if you have lost significant amounts of weight and have an all over excess of skin and subcutaneous fat.
Another choice you could make is the mini-abdominoplasty, which is more suitable for younger patients who may have a smaller amount of skin and soft tissue that they would like removed, mainly around the lower abdomen area below the belly button. Commonly used after childbirth to tackle stretch marks, the excess skin and soft tissue are removed by an incision that is hidden by your underwear. The abdominal muscles are also tightened and the skin will be re-sutured, but your belly button will remain in the same position. Again, this treatment can be paired with liposuction to further improve the body contouring effect and this can be done during the same operation. The mini-abdominoplasty is a shorter procedure than the standard version and also offers a faster recovery time.
Do you have any more questions? Would you like to book a consultation? Get in touch with us today by calling 020 7118 6887.