A flatter stomach can not only improve the way your clothes fit but also make you feel brilliant about yourself. Even if you don’t plan to strip down to a bikini on the beach, a tummy tuck can give you greater confidence when wearing more fitted clothing, such as a pencil skirt or skinny jeans.
If you have tried to achieve a flatter stomach through diet and exercise, but haven’t had the results you would like, you may find a full or partial abdominoplasty could be the answer. It is also a popular choice for women who have recently been pregnant. The treatment, also known as a tummy tuck, involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdominal area and a tightening of the abdomen wall. A tummy tuck results in a flatter stomach, a narrower waistline and a more contoured body.
It should be remembered that a tummy tuck, whether full or partial, is major surgery which will leave a permanent scar, and shouldn’t be undertaken without full consideration of the pros and cons. We’re here to help you decide if this procedure is right for you.
There are two types of tummy tuck you can opt for – partial or full. Both procedures require a general anaesthetic and at least one night in hospital. The full tummy tuck usually takes two to three hours whilst the partial abdominoplasty takes one to two.
An incision is made just above the pubic area between the hip bones and a second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue.
After this, the skin is separated from the abdominal wall all the way up to your ribs and a large layer of skin 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. The tightening of the abdominal muscles creates a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline.
The layer of skin is then stretched down and the excess skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place, ensuring that it still looks natural. 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 much shorter and the skin is separated only between the incision line and the navel. The navel itself may not need to be moved. Once the lower abdominal muscles have been tightened, the skin flap is stretched down, the excess skin removed and the flap stitched back into place.
There are risks associated with all plastic surgery procedures, including tummy tuck surgery. Complications are rare, but they can occur.
Post-operative complications associated with full or mini tummy tucks include infections and blood clots. Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but you’ll probably have to stay in hospital until you are completely well. You can minimise the risk of blood clots by moving around as soon after surgery as possible.
Complications can also arise from anaesthesia – these will be discussed with you when you attend your initial consultation. If you know you react badly to anaesthetic, do please let us know.
After surgery, there is a small risk of poor healing, which can result in conspicuous scars. This is normally addressed through a second operation.
When considering a tummy tuck, the first step is to attend an initial consultation. At this appointment, we will assess the area to be treated and seek to understand the results you would like to achieve. This will help us to determine the best surgical approach, and help to determine if surgery is, indeed, right for you.
If you intend to lose a lot of weight, it’s a good idea to postpone surgery. Also, women who are planning future pregnancies should also wait as the vertical muscles in the abdomen that are tightened during surgery can separate again during pregnancy. If you have scarring from previous abdominal surgery, your operation may need to be modified.
When it comes to improving the contour of the abdominal area, there may be alternative treatments to consider. If, for example, your fat deposits are limited to the area below your navel, it may be that a mini tummy tuck is appropriate. On the other hand, you may need to have a complete tummy tuck in conjunction with liposuction to achieve the look you have in mind. Alternatively, it may be that liposuction alone will provide the best result. During your initial consultation, we will discuss the options available to you.
If you do decide to go ahead with surgery, you need to be in general good health as this will aid your recovery. In addition, being generally fit, healthy and having a strong body through exercise will help your body recover and heal much quicker. Even people who have never exercised before should begin a programme to lessen the chance of blood clots and to tone muscles.
If you are a smoker you will need to cease at least six weeks before your operation and refrain from smoking for six weeks afterwards. Also, expect your surgery to be postponed if you develop a cold or other type of infection. We want you to be in general good health before your treatment as this leads to a faster recovery and better results.
It’s important to rest after surgery. For a few days after surgery, your abdomen will be swollen and you’re likely to feel some pain and discomfort, though we will prescribe pain relief. Depending on the extent of the surgery, you may be released the next day but it’s normal to have to stay for at least two nights.
Although you may not be able to stand straight at first, you should start walking as soon as possible. This will help to reduce the risk of blood clots developing.
You’ll need to wear a support garment for 2 – 3 weeks. This will apply an even layer of compression around the affected area, helping to prevent fluid build-up, improve circulation and keep the damaged tissue in place.
We’ll give you instructions for showering and changing your dressings so that you leave the clinic feeling confident and comfortable in your recovery. Stitches are usually absorbable although some may need to be removed.
Most people can return to work after a couple of weeks but others need up to a month to rest and recuperate. You’ll notice pain most when coughing or taking a deep breath as these actions tighten the abdominal muscles. A healthy lifestyle where you eat well and exercise regularly will help you achieve long-lasting results from a full or mini tummy tuck.
Your scars may appear to worsen during the first 3 months as they heal, but this is normal. It can take up to a year for the scars to flatten out and lighten in colour. And whilst they will never disappear completely, it should be possible to hide the scars with your clothing.
Following the surgery, we will inform you of how to check for any infection in your scars. To reduce the chances of this happening, we will tell you how to care for the incision wound while it is still healing.
Easily confused, tummy tuck and liposuction are actually quite distinctive from each other and will give you very different results. As mentioned above, a tummy tuck removes excess skin and some fat, as well as tightening the muscles, in order to leave you with a flatter, firmer stomach. The recovery time is longer for a tummy tuck than liposuction due to the tightening of the abdominal muscles.
Liposuction instead focuses on removing fat. It works particularly well in areas of the body where the skin is already quite tight and elastic, like the hips. With age or pregnancies, the stomach skin begins to lose its elasticity and once you remove the fat, the skin doesn’t spring back into place but rather just hangs. To remove that excess skin you would then need a tummy tuck. The less intense nature of liposuction means that the surgery time is shorter and you are unlikely to need stay in the clinic overnight.
Remember, a tummy tuck will only flatten and firm up the front of your stomach. If you have further concerns about fat on your hips or back, it could be worth looking at both at a tummy tuck and liposuction combined treatment.
Yes, men can have a tummy tuck. Just like women, men can develop an abundance of loose excess skin when 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, a tummy tuck could be the answer. It can massively help boost your self-confidence and physically deliver the body that you’d been looking for when losing weight.
Whilst it is generally a good idea to be as fit as possible before you undergo any surgical procedure, weak abdominal muscles will not affect your recovery from this type of surgery.
Yes, but we would recommend that you wait for a period of time after the birth before undergoing surgery. During the pregnancy the skin of your stomach will have been stretched extensively. This makes it more difficult for the surgeon to determine how much to tighten the muscles and skin by to achieve the desired results. We recommend that you wait for your skin to spring back as far as it can naturally before undergoing surgery.
Once you’ve had tummy tuck surgery, you do need time to recover and your physical movements will be limited for a few weeks and days. Looking after a newborn can be physically demanding and there is potential for complication when using anaesthesia when breastfeeding.
No, but if you are considering a tummy tuck, you should wait until you have finished having children. Life does not always go according to plan and it is safe to have further pregnancies after a tummy tuck, but it will undo some of the benefits of the surgery and may require a further procedure to correct it.
We will give you a good idea of the results you can expect to achieve when you attend your initial consultation. You may wish to make use of our cutting edge Vectra-XT 3D modelling of the face and body which will give you images of what your body will look like post-surgery. Manchester Plastic Surgery is the only practice in the UK to offer this high-tech service.
We will give you advice and guidance on keeping your stomach muscles in good shape after surgery. A healthy balanced diet and regular exercise will help.
Stretch marks are fairly narrow stripes or streaks of scarring which appear when skin stretches or shrinks quickly, such as during pregnancy or significant weight gain. They can affect both men and women. When they first appear, they tend to be red or purple in colour but will fade to a paler white after time.
Depending on their location, tummy tuck surgery can help to remove stretch marks. If they are positioned below the belly button they can typically be removed as part of the surgery. Any above that will remain in place but may become less noticeable as the skin is tightened.
Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person