What is a Tummy Tuck?
A Tummy Tuck also known as Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that is particularly popular with new mums and with those women who have lost a significant amount of weight and have been left with excess, loose skin. The surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic and is used to remove any excess skin and fatty tissue, reshape the area and create a slimmer, smoother and tighter abdominal area. A Tummy Tuck can be combined with liposuction for those women who are looking to achieve a slimmer waistline
Do I need to prepare for the Surgery?
Mr Khan will explain how to prepare for your operation. For example, if you smoke you will be asked to stop, as smoking increases your risk of getting a chest and wound infection, which can slow your recovery. Smoking also reduces the amount of blood that reaches your skin, which means your wounds may heal more slowly.
Mr Khan may also advise you to:
Lose excess weight – you should be as close to the ideal weight for your height as possible before your operation.
Stop taking the Contraceptive Pill four weeks before your operation, to reduce the chances of a blood clot (Thrombosis) – make sure you use an alternative method of contraception.
Tummy Tuck Surgery is done under general anaesthesia. This means you will be asleep during the operation.
You will be asked to follow fasting instructions. This means not eating or drinking, typically for about six hours beforehand. However, it’s important to follow Mr Khan and anaesthetist’s advice.
Mr Khan will discuss with you what will happen before, during and after your procedure, and any pain you might have. This is your opportunity to understand what will happen, and you can help yourself by preparing questions to ask about the risks, benefits and any alternatives to the procedure. This will help you to be informed, so you can give your consent for the procedure to go ahead. You will be asked to sign a consent form.
You may be asked to wear compression stockings to help prevent blood clots forming in the veins in your legs. You may need to have an injection of an anticlotting medicine called heparin as well as wearing compression stockings.
Side Effects and what to expect
You would be left with a scar running across your lower tummy and, if you had a full Abdominoplasty, a scar around your belly button.
It’s also common after a Tummy Tuck to:
find it difficult to stand up straight – it will feel like your tummy is being pulled (this will improve over time).
have pain and bruises
feel numbness in your tummy for a few months to years
have a temporary fluid-filled swelling above the scar
have red, raised scars in the first six weeks – which eventually fade to white
How is a Tummy Tuck Surgery performed?
During the operation you will be put under a general anaesthetic. There are several types of Tummy Tuck and Mr Khan will help you choose the one that's right for you:
Mini Abdominoplasty: Suitable if you only have a little excess skin. Mr khan will only need to make a small cut just above the pubic area to remove the excess skin and your belly button won't be disturbed. This usually takes about an hour.
Endoscopic Abdominoplasty: This may be the best option if you only need to have the muscles of your abdominal wall tightened. Mr Khan will make small cuts and use special surgical instruments to tighten the muscles. This procedure usually takes around an hour.
Full Abdominoplasty: This is the best option if you have a lot of excess skin. A cut will be made between the hips, fat may be removed using liposuction, your belly button will be freed and loose muscles pulled and stitched together. Sometimes Mr Khan will need to reconstruct your belly button and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. This usually takes around two hours.
The amount of scarring you are left with will depend on your skin type, overall health and the type of procedure you have but abdominal scars can normally be hidden.
You will usually stay in hospital from one to four nights, though many people only need to stay in for a night.
A tummy tuck may be quite painful, although pain relief would be provided.
You would leave hospital with dressings and a pressure garment (corset) on your tummy, or tummy control pants. Someone would need to drive you home and stay with you for the following 24 hours.
Recovery after Tummy Tuck Surgery
You would need to take about four to six weeks off work and exercise. You wouldn't be able to drive for a few weeks after the operation (Mr Khan and insurance company would advise about this).
It takes about six weeks to fully recover, and it may be several weeks before you see the full effects of the Tummy Tuck.
You’d need to wear a special type of corset or tummy control pants to encourage your skin to heal properly and reduce any swelling.
Generally, you'd need to take it easy for a few weeks and keep your knees bent while in bed, to avoid putting strain on your stitches.
After a week or two: A wound check would be carried out
At six weeks: Your corset should be able to come off and you'd usually be able to return to most of your normal activities.
There will be visible scars and you may feel that your tummy looks unnatural at first, but this is almost always temporary. Everyone is different but you should start to look and feel better within a few months. Mr Khan will talk to you about the results that are likely to be realistic for you and what you should expect after surgery.