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What is Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Surgery?

Abdominoplasty, sometimes referred to colloquially as a “tummy tuck”, is a surgical procedure that aims to achieve a firm, flat abdomen with narrowing of the waist.

Effective abdominoplasty surgery can help address abdominal skin following significant weight loss, bariatric surgery, or pregnancy. Abdominoplasty surgery can also improve functional issues such as skin infection and irritation.

Abdominoplasty surgery can also address abdominal muscle separation which can occur following pregnancy or weight loss. The muscle separation can be a contributing factor in lower back discomfort and impact appearance of the abdominal contours.

Abdominoplasty surgery involves repairing the rectus abdominis muscle,separation, which are also known as the ‘six pack’ muscles. Liposuction is also often incorporated into the procedure to address fatty deposits.

Abdominoplasty surgery is a major procedure. It is very important that all patients have a thorough understanding of the risks involved in the surgery, as well as the post-operative care process and the physical and emotional changes they will experience.

Abdominoplasty Surgery Consultation

When you meet with your surgeon, they will discuss with you your expectations of the procedure and the potential limitations to achieving your expectations. Every patient is different, which means that factors impacting surgery – such as skin quality and quantity, fat deposits, previous scarring and muscle separation – will differ from person to person, and will need to be discussed in depth during your consultation.

Abdominoplasty is most suitable when your weight has been stable for at least three months. Where patients have had previous abdominal surgery or have other clinical issues, your surgeon will need to determine if you would benefit most from the full abdominoplasty procedure or if a mini abdominoplasty with or without liposuction would be more appropriate.

During your consultation, you will need to inform the surgeon of your full medical and surgical history including medications, allergies, mental health and smoking history. Each of these issues have the potential to impact your surgery, anaesthesic and post-operative care.

 

Costs

Mr Patrick Tansley or Dr Sugitha Seneviratne will undertake a thorough consultation which will enable provision of tailored costing of your procedure following your consultation. The Australian Medical Board’s guidelines for advertising regulated health services discourages plastic surgeons from advertising set prices for procedures. Due to these guidelines, we do not provide patients with cost-per-procedure information.

Please contact our office on 03 9088 5000, or submit an online enquiry if you require further information regarding surgery fees.

There is a cost for an initial consultation at our Melbourne clinic, with the potential to receive a portion of this back via Medicare where eligible for rebate, provided you have a referral from your GP.

 

Pre-Operative Management

If you are eligible for surgery, your surgeon may ask you to adjust or cease some of your medication in the lead-up to the procedure or to undergo a series of diagnostic tests to assess your fitness for anaesthesia.

It is essential that smoking ceases six weeks prior to and after the surgery to minimise the risk of surgical wound complications and anaesthesia. The pre-operative consultation is also a good time for you to ask the surgeon about any concerns you may have.

Surgical Procedure

Abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia in an accredited hospital by NorthEast Plastic Surgery’s experienced surgeons. The extent of the scars and the amount of skin and tissue removed will be discussed with you before the surgery.

The incision is made in the lower abdomen extending from hip to hip. The surgeon then repairs separation of the rectus abdominis muscles through a series of sutures followed by removal of skin and fat tissue.

Dissolving internal skin stiches are used to close the skin so there is no need for suture removal after surgery. Once the stiches are in place suction drains are used to drain excess tissue fluid and blood.

Following surgery a waterproof dressing is applied to enable showering and a compression garment is applied to minimise soft tissue swelling.

Recovery Period

It is important that access to medical attention is available by telephone once you have been discharged. Issues about which your surgeon needs to be made aware urgently include pain uncontrolled by medication, bleeding to the extent that the dressings soak through with blood, temperatures exceeding 38 degrees Celsius, redness and swelling of the skin or any concerns related to the surgery.

Depending on your clinical requirements you may be required to stay in hospital for two to three days following your surgery or can be performed as a overnight procedure.

The drainage tubes are removed in the days after surgery and the compression garment must be worn for four weeks after surgery.

It is very important that you take the prescribed pain medication and antibiotics as they will assist in minimising discomfort and potential wound complications.

Swelling and bruising is normal after an abdominoplasty. Generally, these tend to increase in the first three to five days after surgery, and improve between five and 10 days later. It may take several months for all swelling to subside completely. Sensation of the abdominal skin may also be affected but typically returns to normal after a few months.

You can expect your wounds to heal within approximately three weeks. During this time, you should move with care to optimise wound healing.

Driving can be resumed three weeks after surgery and are able to walk comfortably, while strenuous exercise should not be resumed until six to eight weeks post-surgery. Many patients find they can return to work after approximately three weeks.

While the surgeons will make every effort to minimise the degree of scarring, scars will form around the umbilicus and bikini line. Scar formation varies from patient to patient. The surgeons will inform you of scar management strategies to assist in reducing the thickness of scarring and soft tissue swelling. You may not appreciate the full outcome of the abdominoplasty for many months while there is still substantial soft tissue swelling of the area.

Risks

All surgeries carry some level of risk. While infrequent, it’s important that patients have a thorough understanding of the potential risks they may face, including:

  • Problem scarring, such as keloid or hypertrophic scars
  • Wound complications, such as infection, wound breakdown, skin necrosis, bleeding or tissue fluid collection
  • Further surgery to address the above complications, asymmetry or skin excess laterally known as “dogears”.

Risks specific to abdominoplasty include swelling, redness and numbness of the skin. In many patients, these improve within 18 months to two years. Scar irregularities requiring revisional surgery are necessary for approximately 5 per cent of abdominoplasty patients.

Second Opinion

Mr Patrick Tansley MD FRCS (Plast) and Dr Sugitha Seneviratne FRACS (Plast) provide second opinion to patients seeking to address problems following plastic surgery performed elsewhere and revisional or corrective surgery. If you would like a second opinion on previously undertaken surgery, book a consultation to discuss this with one or both of our surgeons.

Before & After Photos

As the privacy of our patients is of the utmost importance to us, we do not provide before and after photos on our website. You will be shown a number of before and after images during your private consultation to illustrate the potential outcomes of surgery. These images have been provided by previous patients who have consented to their private use.

contact us

E: melbourne@northeastplasticsurgery.com.au
T: (03) 9088 5000
F (03) 9088 5001
P 0411865055
(paging service for after hours emergencies only)

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