Abdominoplasty – Tummy Tuck
Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Dr Ben Norris FRACS
Care for the rest of your life
Not performed in-clinic
- Non cosmetic and cosmetic procedure
- Minimum 3 night stay in private hospital
A tummy tuck is performed to create a flatter, more contoured abdominal area. The contour of the abdomen is affected by the quality and elasticity of the skin, the amount of fat deposits beneath the skin, and the laxity of the abdominal muscles – all these issues can impact both men and women.
It’s possible that excess skin and fat that forms in the abdominal area might not improve, despite diet and additional exercise. The effects of ageing, pregnancy and childbirth, weight loss, and past abdominal surgeries can all contribute to excess sagging skin and fat and weaken the abdominal muscles. Since the abdomen forms such an integral part of a person’s silhouette, living with sagging skin and excess abdominal fat can cause self-esteem issues too.
There are several different types of tummy tucks, each of which is better suited to specific types of issues. Each of these procedures involves the removal of excess skin and fat and tightening the abdominal muscles. Liposuction might be needed at the same time to further improve the appearance of the abdomen.
It’s important to note that abdominoplasty is not a weight-loss procedure. Patients will need to be in good physical health and be close to or have achieved their ideal weight. Gaining weight again after the surgery can affect the results, so it’s essential to lead a healthy lifestyle following surgery. It’s also recommended that female patients only consider a tummy tuck once they’ve completed their families. While abdominoplasty would never impact your ability to have more children, it will reverse the effects of surgery.
What happens at my abdominoplasty consultation?
Dr Norris will ask you what concerns you have regarding the appearance of your tummy and what you hope to achieve by having the operation. He will then assess the amount of excess skin and fat, the elasticity of the skin, and the laxity of your underlying abdominal muscles. He will also assess the nature of any old surgical scars and feel for hernia.
You may require a full abdominoplasty, lower abdominoplasty, or mini-abdominoplasty depending on the appearance of your tummy. Dr Norris will discuss in detail how the operation is performed and where the scar can be placed.
You will be given a surgical quotation and your options for surgery. In some cases, some of the surgical fee may be covered by Medicare and your Health Fund.
If you decide to proceed with surgery, Dr Norris will see you again at a second consultation.
Actual patient of Dr Benjamin Norris
How is the Tummy Tuck operation done?
Dr Norris performs abdominoplasty in a fully accredited hospital. The anaesthetist that Dr Norris works with will give you a general anaesthetic. You can expect the operation to take 3-4 hours. These are the steps in an abdominoplasty procedure:
The lower abdominal incision is made
The skin is lifted (except
for the belly button)
The abdominal muscles
The skin is pulled down
and excess removed
The incision is sutured
1. The Lower Abdominal Incision is Made
If you are having a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), the incision (and the scar that subsequently forms) will be made across the lower abdomen at the level of your pubic hair and extend upwards and outwards on either side to your hip bones. Dr Norris will ask you to bring the type of underwear or swimsuit bottom you intend to wear after your operation to ensure the scar is hidden from public view.
2. The Skin is Lifted
The skin is lifted up from the abdominal muscles to the level of the rib cage. The belly-button (umbilicus) is released from the lifted skin and remains attached to the abdominal muscles.
3. The Abdominal Muscles are Tightened
The abdominal muscles are tightened to give you a flatter tummy and a smaller waist.
4. The Skin is Pulled Down and Excess Removed
The lifted skin is then pulled down firmly so that the excess skin and fat can be removed and the umbilicus is stitched into its new position.
5. The Incision is Sutured
If you are having a lower abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) only, the incision might still need to be as long as the incision for a full abdominoplasty, but the skin is lifted off the abdominal muscles only to the level of the umbilicus and the umbilicus does not need to be separated from the lifted skin and stitched back into a new position. If you are having a mini-abdominoplasty it might be possible to limit the incision and scar to the width of your pubic area and the umbilicus will not need to be moved.
Tummy Tuck FAQs
During your first consultation, Dr Norris will want to find out more about the specific concerns you have regarding the appearance of your stomach and what you hope to achieve by undergoing abdominoplasty.
He will then assess the amount of excess skin and fat, the elasticity of the skin, and the laxity of your underlying abdominal muscles. Any old surgical scars will be evaluated and hernia will need to be ruled out before proceeding with a recommendation. Depending on what Dr Norris uncovers, you may require a full abdominoplasty, lower abdominoplasty, or mini-abdominoplasty. Dr Norris will discuss in detail how the operation is performed and where the incisions can be placed. You will be given a detailed surgical quotation, which will outline your surgery options. If you decide to proceed with surgery, Dr Norris will see you again at a second consultation. Patients are encouraged to first take the time to think about their options before deciding to go ahead with surgery.
During your second consultation, your surgery will be scheduled and Dr Norris will provide you with specific instructions on how best to prepare for your tummy tuck. This will help minimise potential complications and ensure a smoother recovery process.
Dr Norris only ever performs abdominoplasty in fully accredited hospitals to ensure that each patient is safe and well taken care of. On the day of your procedure, Dr Norris will see you to discuss the final details and introduce you to the anaesthetist who will be administering the general anaesthetic.
You can expect the operation to take 3-4 hours to complete. If you are having a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), the incision (and the scar that subsequently forms) will be made across the lower abdomen at the level of your pubic bone and extend upwards and outwards on either side to your hip bones. Dr Norris will ask you to bring the type of underwear or swimsuit bottom you intend to wear after your operation to ensure the scar is hidden from public view.
Once the incision has been made, the skin is lifted away from the abdominal muscles up towards the rib cage. The belly-button (umbilicus) is released from the lifted skin and remains attached to the abdominal muscles. The abdominal muscles are tightened to give you a flatter tummy and a smaller waist. The lifted skin is then pulled down firmly so that the excess skin and fat can be removed and the umbilicus is stitched into its new position.
If you are having a lower abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) only, the incision might still need to be as long as the incision for a full abdominoplasty but the skin is lifted off the abdominal muscles only to the level of the umbilicus. The umbilicus also won’t need to be separated from the lifted skin and stitched back into a new position. If you are having a mini-abdominoplasty it might be possible to limit the incision and scar to the width of your pubic area and the umbilicus will not need to be moved at all.
Regardless of the type of tummy tuck you receive, you might also benefit from liposuction at the same time to give you the result that you desire. Abdominoplasty also often forms part of a lower body lift, which also targets areas such as the thighs and buttocks to create a shapelier silhouette.
At the end of the operation, two drains are placed beneath the skin and the incisions are closed with absorbable sutures to save you the inconvenience of having to schedule removal later on. A dressing is applied over the incisions and you will leave the operating theatre wearing a comfortable and supportive compression garment.
- Most patients will be instructed to stay in hospital for a minimum of 3-5 days after abdominoplasty surgery
- You might have your drains removed in hospital. If not, these will be removed in Dr Norris’s rooms at your next appointment
- You will require a friend, family member or partner to drive you home from hospital as your range of movement will be restricted. You may also feel drowsy after taking the necessary pain medication
- Dr Norris will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions before you leave the hospital. You will also receive a prescription for pain medication
- You will not be able to drive for up to 2 weeks, so patients are encouraged to make the necessary arrangement prior to surgery
- Daily short showers are permitted, provided your waterproof dressings are dried adequately
- For the first 6 weeks after surgery, patients are encouraged to sleep on their backs, propped up by pillows. Not only will this make your evenings more comfortable but it will help reduce swelling too
- You will experience the most discomfort in the first 3 or 4 days after your tummy tuck
- You can return to work after about 2 weeks, but if your job is physically demanding, it’s best to take on lighter duties for the first 3 weeks
- Swelling may take up to 6 weeks to settle but wearing the compression garment will help
- You can start light exercise about 2 weeks after your procedure and can return to your normal exercise routine after 6 weeks, provided Dr Norris has cleared you to do so
- You will have an appointment in the clinic after you have been discharged from hospital to check and change the dressings and have your drains removed
- Keloid Scarring – Sometimes, tummy tuck scars can begin to look raised, lumpy and darker in colour. If this starts happening after your surgery, speak to Dr Norris about treating the scars with steroid injections. Wearing your supplied silicone gel strips after surgery 24/7 will help prevent this from occurring.
- Haematoma – This refers to a collection of excess blood in the treated area. The blood is either absorbed naturally or will require surgical drainage. Symptoms include swelling, pain, bruising, skin that is hot to the touch and itchy skin.
- Infection – While infections are unpredictable, they usually occur within the first 3 weeks after a tummy tuck. Any infections should be treated as soon as possible with an antibiotic.
- Seroma – It is possible for seroma fluid (leaking tissue fluid) to collect beneath the wound after the drains have been removed. If this happens, this fluid can be removed painlessly in the consulting rooms using an aspiration needle.
Abdominoplasty is a personalised procedure and every patient has different requirements, all of which will affect the final cost of the procedure. The type of tummy tuck that you choose and whether or not you decide to add on additional procedures will all make a difference to the final cost. Your final quote will also include the specific hospital and anaesthetist fees. The only way to get an accurate quotation is to schedule a consultation with Dr Norris who can take all of the necessary factors into account. The only time that Medicare or your private health insurance provider will cover some of the costs of your surgery is if it’s being performed for reconstructive reasons. Dr Norris can explain more about rebates during your first consultation.
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