A flatter, contoured stomach and narrower waist can for some people, be a source of brand new positivity. Even if you don’t intend to sweat in just a sports bra at the gym or wear a bikini at the beach, Abdominoplasty can give you greater confidence to wear figure-hugging clothes you never thought you could.
If you have tried to achieve a slimmer stomach through strict lifestyle changes such as dieting and exercise, but still haven’t achieved the results you want, a full or partial abdominoplasty could be the solution to feeling great again.
The Abdominoplasty surgical procedure, also known as a ‘Tummy Tuck’ is also a popular choice for individuals who have recently lost a significant amount of weight or have been pregnant.
The treatment involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdominal area and a tightening of the abdomen wall. Abdominoplasty treatment results in a flatter stomach and a narrower waistline. It should be remembered that Abdominoplasty, whether full or partial, is a major surgical procedure which will leave a permanent scar. This treatment shouldn’t be undertaken without full, informed consideration. We’re here to help you decide if this procedure is right for you.
When considering Abdominoplasty, the first step is to attend an initial consultation. During this appointment, we will assess the treatment area and discuss with you the results you would like to achieve. This process will help us to determine the best surgical approach, and whether or not Abdominoplasty surgery is right for you.
It’s best to postpone surgery if you intend to lose a significant amount of weight. Women who are planning future pregnancies should also wait before considering the procedure, as this can lead to the need for a secondary, corrective procedure. The abdominal muscles that are tightened as part of abdominoplasty surgery are often separated again during a women’s pregnancy.
When it comes to improving the contour of the abdominal area, there may be alternative treatments to consider first. If your fat deposits are limited to the area below your navel, it may be that a partial Abdominoplasty procedure is appropriate. On the other hand, you may need to have full Abdominoplasty surgery in conjunction with Liposuction to achieve the results you have in mind. Alternatively, Liposuction alone may provide the best result. The best surgical approach for you will depend on certain circumstances as well as your goals.
If you do decide to go ahead with Abdominoplasty surgery, you need to ensure that you exercise regularly in the months before your surgery and are in general good health as this will aid your post-op recovery. Even those people who aren’t used to exercising regularly, will need to begin an exercise programme even if just means regular short bursts. Exercise is highly beneficial as it will lessens the chance of blood clots and tone abdominal muscles before surgery.
So far as smoking, we will require you to stop smoking during the weeks before and after surgery. Research has shown that smokers are more likely to suffer from serious complications during surgicals procedure such as heart attacks and stroke, so we take this very seriously. Smoking also decreases blood flow therefore making surgical wounds less likely to close, heal well and more likely to become infected. Smoking also naturally weakens your immune system, which increases the chance of infection after surgery. Stopping smoking even just weeks before the procedure can have a significant impact on your recovery.
Both Full and Partial Abdominoplasty procedures require a general anaesthetic and at least one night in hospital. The full Abdominoplasty procedure usually takes 2-3 hours while the partial abdominoplasty takes 1-2 hours.
Two incisions are made during the procedure, one just above the pubic area between the hip bones and the second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue.
Following this, the skin is separated from the abdominal wall all the way up to the ribs and a large skin flap is lifted to reveal the vertical muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are tightened by pulling them close together and stitching them into their new position. This entails a firmer abdominal wall and a narrower waistline.
The layer of skin is then stretched down and the excess skin is removed. A new hole is cut for the navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the incision is stitched, dressings will be applied, and a temporary tube inserted to drain excess fluid from beneath the skin.
With partial abdominoplasty, the incision between your hips is significantly shorter and the skin is separated only between the incision line and the navel. The navel itself may not necessarily be moved. Once the lower abdominal muscles have been tightened, the layer of skin is stretched downwards, the excess tissue removed and the skin is stitched back into place.
There are risks associated with all plastic surgery procedures, including abdominoplasty surgery. Complications are rare, but they can occur so it’s important to be aware of the possible risks.
Post-operative complications associated with Abdominoplasty procedures include bacterial infections and blood clots. Such infections can be treated with combination of drainage and antibiotics, however you’ll most likely have to stay in hospital until you are completely well. It’s possible to minimise the risk of blood clots by being active as soon after surgery as possible.
Complications can also arise from anaesthesia, these will be discussed with you during the initial consultation. If you are already aware that you react badly to anaesthetic, please inform us at the earliest opportunity.
Complete recovery time following the procedure can take a couple of weeks for most patients, but others may need up to a month to rest and recuperate fully.
For a few days after surgery, your abdomen will appear swollen and you’re likely to feel some pain and discomfort, though we will prescribe pain relief which will help to treat this pain. Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may be released the following day but it’s normal to have to stay for at least two nights. You may not be able to stand straight initially, however we stress that you should start walking as soon as possible, as it partly reduces the risk of blood clots.
You’ll be required to wear a support garment for 2 – 3 weeks following the procedure. We’ll give you the necessary knowledge to take care of yourself independently and maximise healing, providing you with instructions regarding showering, changing your dressings hygienically and how to check for any infection in your incision wounds. Stitches are usually absorbable although some may need to be removed for you.
Most patients are able to return to work after a couple of weeks but this does vary, some patients can need up to a month to feel ready. You’ll notice pain most when coughing or taking deep breaths as these actions naturally tighten the abdominal muscles making you feel sore. A healthy lifestyle involving a balanced diet and regular exercise will ultimately help you achieve long-lasting results from full or partial abdominoplasty.
Please note that you won’t be able to drive for several weeks after the surgery.
Patients often notice that their abdominoplasty scarring may appear to worsen during the first 3 months as they heal, this is very normal. It can take up to a year for your scars to flatten out completely and lighten in colour. Whilst the scars will never disappear completely, it should be possible to hide the scars with your clothing and to use certain oil treatments.
A panniculectomy is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and tissue from the lower abdomen. Unlike Abdominoplasty, the panniculectomy does not tighten the abdominal muscles for a more cosmetic appearance.
These two procedures are often confused, despite being distinctive from each other and will give you very different results. The recovery time is longer for Abdominoplasty than liposuction due to the surgical tightening of the abdominal muscles.
Liposuction focuses entirely on removing fat? from the chosen area of the body. Liposuction works particularly well when focused on targeted areas of the body where the skin is already quite tight and elastic, such as the hips. However Liposuction can be undertaken also on other areas of the body such as the abdomen, thighs, upper arm and buttocks. It’s important to note that with age and pregnancies, the stomach skin begins to naturally lose its elasticity and once the fat is removed, this results in surplus skin as it can not spring back into place.
It’s common for patients to opt for a liposuction procedure and then abdominoplasty in order to remove this excess skin you would then need a tummy tuck. The less intense nature of the liposuction procedure compared to abdominoplasty, means that surgery time is shorter and you are unlikely to need stay in the clinic overnight.
Many men also opt for the abdominoplasty procedure as just like women, they develop an abundance of loose excess skin after they lose weight and would like to have it removed. If you’re looking for a firmer and flatter stomach and a more trimmed waistline, abdominoplasty could be the answer. Having a more contoured stomach, can greatly boost your self-confidence and physically deliver the physique that you’ve been looking for when losing weight.
Yes, however we would strongly recommend that you delay the abdominoplasty procedure after giving birth. The skin on your stomach will have stretched extensively, meaning it will be problematic for a cosmetic surgeon to determine how much to tighten the abdominal muscles and skin to achieve your desired results. Furthermore, you must give time for the elasticity of your skin to move your skin back into place as far as naturally possible, then decide if you wish to undergo this surgery depending on how you feel about your postpartum figure.
Following the abdominoplasty procedure, you will need at least a few weeks to recover and your physical movements will be very restricted, so caring for a newborn would be extremely difficult. Furthermore, it’s important to note that anaesthesia can sometimes cause complications when breastfeeding.
We realise that life can sometimes be unexpected and not go to plan. It is completely safe to have further pregnancies after abdominoplasty, but ultimately it will undo at least some of the results of your surgery as your skin is stretched and abdominal muscles are separated meaning you may wish to have a secondary procedure.
Manchester Plastic Surgery is the only practice in the UK to offer Vectra-XT 3D modelling of the face and body from within the clinic, this services uses cutting technology to provide you with realistic images of what your post-surgery body will look like and allow you to feel confident that we have a shared vision of the results you would like to achieve. This unique technology allows you to view the images of your actual face and body and compare these to a preview the effects of different procedures, helping you to decide what is right for you. We will give you a good idea of the results you can expect to achieve during your initial consultation, however if you would like more of a visual representation of this, our 3D modelling service can help.
Stretch marks appear as a result of skin stretching or shrinking in short period of time and can be the cause of self-consciousness for some people. Stretch marks don’t just affect women, they also affect men, as they can be as a result of significant weight gain as well as pregnancy. Abdominoplasty surgery can help to remove stretch marks, depending on way their they’re located. If positioned below the belly button, they can typically be removed as part of the surgery. Any marks above the belly button will remain in place but may become less noticeable as the skin is tightened as part of the abdominoplasty procedure.
Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person