Tummy Tucks | What is a Tummy Tuck?

What is a Tummy Tuck?

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The phrase tummy tuck has been coined to describe abdominoplasty, a cosmetic surgery procedure aiming to slim and tone the lower abdomen. The procedure removes excess fatty tissues and skin and repairs damaged abdominal muscles.

Why do people choose a tummy tuck?

Quite simply, the idea is to create more tone and a flatter tummy.Many patients choosing abdominoplasty have had pregnancies which resulted in abdominal akin and muscle weakness. This creates unwanted tummy contours, little pouches of loose skin and/or belly fat which may not respond to exercise and/or dieting. Patients who have previously lost large amounts of excess weight may also choose a tummy tuck.  Another reason may be to lose stretch marks, scars from previous surgeries or as a weight reducing measure to achieve a flatter tummy. Patients typically hope to feel more confident, wear more revealing clothing without embarrassment and feel younger. There may also a multitude of other, personal motivations for choosing abdominoplasty, specific to each patient.

How is a tummy tuck done?

Patients may be advised to try to lose weight and exercise before the operation to optimise the results.  Risks from surgery and recovery should also be fully discussed with proper plans in place.

The operation itself generally takes around 2 hours. The patient undergoes full anaesthesia, followed by an incision to enable the surgeon to lift out the unwanted tissues. The incision is generally made from hip to hip, through the ‘bikini area’, although this can vary from patient to patient. Loose excess skin and fatty tissue are removed, and muscles which have become damaged (for example, herniated after multiple childbirths) are repaired. This is usually done with permanent sutures embedded into the abdominal wall. Medical tubing is inserted to allow the wound to drain hygienically and the incision is resealed with sutures. The patient recovers from anaesthesia and is given pain relief medication.

How long does it take to recover?

Many patients stay in hospital for 12-48 hrs following the operation. During the recovery phase, the wound is typically monitored at appointments with the surgeon to asses whether correct



healing is occurring. The patient usually wears a type of medical corset, which promotes wound healing, day and night. This is generally worn for 2 to 3 weeks, after which time it may be advised to be worn during the day. During the first week, patients are generally advised to completely rest. After around 2 weeks (although again this will vary for each patient), the patient is advised to undertake light exercise to tone muscles and promote skin healing. Many patients return to work 14 days after the operation. Strenuous exercise is not generally advised for at least 6 weeks after the operation and patients also avoid placing strain on the lower abdominal area.

Weight loss without dieting?

Some sections of the media like to tag the surgery as a form of rapid weight loss without any ‘hard work’. However, in reality, plastic surgeons are commonly known to have advised patients to undertake dieting and excercise before surgery anyway, to maximise results and improve general health.


Whilst every effort is made to give an accurate representation here, these pages CANNOT  be a substitute for professional medical advice and/or treatment under any circumstances.

Posted by: RS Brown

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1. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/beesnail

2. http://www.sxc.hu/photo/958169

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