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Tummy Tuck Or Liposuction – Which Do I Need?

Following pregnancy or weight loss, it’s not uncommon for people to consider liposuction to optimise the appearance of their tummies. They should also consider if they would benefit more from a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty surgery which addresses excess skin, tighten muscles which have stretched apart and removes fat rather than focus on the fat tissue alone with liposuction.

Tummy tuck surgery aims to remove loose skin resulting from significant weight loss after diet and exercise, bariatric or weight loss surgery or pregnancy. In this article, we explain what the surgery involves and what it can address.

What Can Abdominoplasty Achieve?

The surgery aims to achieve a firm, flat abdomen with narrowing of the waist by plicating (tightening) the rectus abdominis (six-pack) muscles. Tightening these muscles can improve core muscle strength and reduce back strain. Abdominoplasty surgery often incorporates liposuction of the flanks to improve the shape of the hips. The umbilicus (tummy button) is usually repositioned and the area of skin above flattened and smoothed out.

The Surgery Explained

The procedure is performed through an incision which passes from hip to hip in the bikini line under general anaesthetic administered by Specialist Anaesthetists in an accredited hospital. During your initial consultation, your Surgeon will discuss with you the extent and length of the scars and the wedge of skin and fatty tissue which will be removed.

The internal wounds are repaired with internal dissolving stitches. Drainage tubes are used to drain tissue fluid and blood. At the completion of surgery a waterproof dressing is applied which is suited to showering and a compression garment applied to minimise soft tissue swelling.

Following Surgery and Recovery

Following a typical 2-3 day inpatient period of recovery, patients are discharged to the care of a responsible adult with a compressive garment. The procedure may be performed as a day surgery in which case you will be discharged from hospital with the drainage tubes which are removed in the Consulting rooms. At the time of discharge, appropriate pain medication and antibiotics will be dispensed. It is important that these be taken to minimise discomfort and potential wound complications. It is important to closely follow your post-operative instructions.

In general, swelling and bruising increase over the first three to five days and improve between five to ten days. In some instances, it may take several months for the soft tissue swelling to subside completely. During this period the sensation of the abdominal skin may be affected but it typically returns to normal over a few months.

Wound healing will generally take approximately 3 weeks to achieve. During this period, movement should be undertaken with care to optimise wound healing. Driving a motor vehicle can typically commence when patients have ceased pain medication and can walk comfortably; strenuous exercise can be resumed at around six to eight weeks. Return to work can be anticipated after approximately three weeks.

The aesthetic result of abdominoplasty surgery may not appreciated for many months. While the procedure is aimed at removing the excess skin below the umbilicus and associated stretch marks, there can also be an improvement in the appearance of stretch marks above the belly button, which may not have been removed in their entirety.

Next Step

If you are considering abdominoplasty surgery and have questions you would like to ask or if you would like to book a confidential consultation at a cost of $140, click below or call (03) 9088 5000 for the Melbourne practice or (07) 3180 3400 for the Brisbane practice. The Cosmetic Surgery Co-ordinators of NorthEast Plastic Surgery will organise a consultation with Mr Tansley or Dr Seneviratne who are highly qualified and experienced surgeons. They will assess your individual requirements and discuss your preferences in regard to the surgery.



NorthEast Plastic Surgery has been designed to offer a bespoke and unrivalled cosmetic plastic surgical service of superlative standard and quality. Dr Seneviratne and Mr Tansley share their Australian and British plastic and cosmetic surgery experience in these educational articles.

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