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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Pregnancy, significant weight loss, genetics, and the effects of time can all lead to a loose, sagging, or protruding abdomen. When exercise is ineffective in correcting this problem, our cosmetic plastic surgeon, Dr Craig Layt, offers a procedure known as an abdominoplasty, commonly called a tummy tuck, at our Gold Coast practice in Queensland. A tummy tuck is not a weight loss solution but a procedure to assist removing skin and fat after significant weight loss or other changes in this region.

What is an abdominoplasty?

The operation is often called a “tummy tuck” and aims to give a taut, trim abdomen.  It is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually as an inpatient in hospital.  The exact procedure is modified to suit your exact requirements.  Some people only have an excess of skin and fat in the lower abdomen and therefore don’t require the muscle tightening needed in those with abdominal muscle laxity.  Other patients have muscle laxity with little or no skin excess and can be treated with a shorter scar and no scar around the umbilicus. Dr. Craig Layt will discuss with you the procedure that will give you the best results.

Tummy Tuck Photos

*Disclaimer:
These before and after photos are of patients that have had surgery performed by Dr Layt. These patients have consented to the photos to be shown. These are the actual photos and the photos have not been altered or digitally enhanced. Every patient is an individual and therefore final surgical results will vary from patient to patient.

Before*After*

*Disclaimer:
These before and after photos are of patients that have had surgery performed by Dr Layt. These patients have consented to the photos to be shown. These are the actual photos and the photos have not been altered or digitally enhanced. Every patient is an individual and therefore final surgical results will vary from patient to patient.

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Who is a candidate?

Patients who are considering tummy tuck surgery or mini- abdominoplasty at our Gold Coast practice in Queensland will meet with Dr. Craig Layt prior to the operation to determine whether the procedure is right for them. The ideal candidate for a tummy tuck is someone close to their ideal weight who has loose or sagging abdominal wall skin. This is frequently associated with abnormal relaxation of the abdominal wall muscles (divarication). A widening of the abdominal muscles can be corrected with minimal skin excision if lax skin is not a problem (frequently secondary to multiple pregnancies or prior to surgery).

What can you expect after the operation?

After a full abdominoplasty, you will have a long scar above the pubic hairline extending toward the flanks or beyond, as well as a scar around the umbilicus (belly button) and possibly a shorter vertical scar in the midline just above the pubic hairline. Dr Layt will discuss your incision lines with you and plan the incision to accommodate, within limits, different clothing and bathing suit styles.

After a mini abdominoplasty you will have neither a scar around the umbilicus nor any possibility of a vertical scar.  The horizontal scar above the pubic hairline will be shorter than the scar after a full abdominoplasty.  Redness, thickness, and some widening of these scars to a variable extent will occur once you return to normal activities.  Incisions placed in high-tension areas (i.e. abdomen, shoulders, knees) tend to create slightly wider scars. This can be minimised by taping the wound for three months.

What are the potential risks?

Tummy tuck is a frequently performed, safe procedure. However, no surgery is completely without risks. The possibility of infection, reaction to anaesthesia, or bleeding exists during any surgery. The important thing is to know how to minimise the likelihood of complications. A comprehensive list of instructions for surgery preparation and post-operative care will be provided to each patient. These instructions should be followed carefully for the best possible outcome.

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Specific Pre-operative Instructions

WASHING: Wash the evening prior to surgery and the day of surgery paying particular attention to the area to be operated on. This decreases the bacterial count and should decrease the risks of infection.

PRODUCTS: Do not apply moisturisers, make-up, perfume/deodorant, nail polish or hair products after washing.  Remove all jewellery.

CLOTHING: Wear loose, comfortable clothing and footwear.

FASTING: You should have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours before your operation. If you are required to take medication during this time please speak with your physician to check if this can be taken before the 6 hour fasting period or after your procedure.

MEDICATION: If you are having the operation as a day case, you will be given a script for antibiotics and pain relief tablets that you will need to purchase from the chemist and bring with you on the day of your procedure. Do not take these prior to surgery. The nursing staff will advise you and your carer after your procedure on how to administer them.

Certain over the counter products and prescription medicines can cause complications before and after surgery.  They can reduce the ability of your blood to clot and could increase your tendency to bleed during and after surgery.  Do not take any medication containing or related to aspirin 2 weeks prior to your procedure. This includes NSAID’S, anti-Inflammatory medications, blood thinning medications. Please see your doctor regarding if and when to cease the medication. *This is not an all inclusive list*.

Also avoid Vitamin E supplements and red wine.  Stop all herbal medications before surgery. The most common herbs used are Echinacea, Ephedra, Garlic, Ginseng, Ginkogo, Kava, St. John’s Wort, and Valerian. They may adversely effect anesthetic drugs, prolong bleeding and impair healing after surgery.  Please consult your physician before ceasing any medication.

SMOKING: Smoking increases the risks of complications significantly and should be ceased 6-8 weeks prior to surgery.

ADMINISTRATION: Unfortunately, paperwork is a necessary evil. Each theatre complex has its own procedures. We have attempted to make it all easy by providing a simple series of steps to follow titled “THINGS TO DO FOR YOUR PROCEDURE” specific to the surgery center you are attending.

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Specific Post-operative Instructions

POSITION: When you wake up you will be in bed with pillows under your knees and you will be sitting up slightly.  This takes the tension off the closure of the tummy wound.  Over the next few days you will gradually straighten out.

DRESSINGS: There will be several drains coming out of the wound and you will have dressings on your abdomen.  The drains evacuate the fluid that accumulates after surgery and enables you to heal faster.  You will have either tight dressings or a binder around the abdominal area which will remain in place until the drains are removed (approximately 3 days post operatively) and then you will need to wear the binder for approximately 4-6 weeks.  This minimises swelling and improves the final result.

SUTURES: Most of the sutures are under the skin and don’t need to be removed.  There may be some sutures around the belly button which will be snipped at 7 days.

BINDER: After your procedure you will be fitted with a binder which you are required to wear for 3 months. The binder will aid in skin elasticity to help keep the abdomen area taught. You can remove this to shower or for a special event when the binder may be seen under clothing.

PAIN RELIEF: Abdominoplasty can be one of the more uncomfortable plastic surgical procedures and therefore pain control is important.  The two best options are either the use of an epidural which takes away the pain but still allows mobility and a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) device which allows you to control the amount of pain relief given via a drip.  This will be discussed with you by the anaesthetist before the operation.  You may also have a pain pump, further information regarding this is on the following page.

MOBILITY: You will be encouraged to get out of bed on the first post-operative day and your mobility will progressively increase over the first few days.  This is important as it speeds your recovery and decreases the chances of complications.  Most patients stay in hospital for approximately 3-5 days after the operation.  Light activity is comfortable at 2 – 3 weeks. Sporting activities will not be comfortable for about 6 weeks.

SENSATION: Usually, the skin of the abdomen remains partially or completely numb for several months or longer and your abdomen will feel tight for a month or longer.  Tingling, burning, or shooting pains indicate regeneration of the small sensory nerves.  This feeling will disappear with time and is not cause for alarm.  It may take as long as 2 years for sensation in your abdomen to be restored completely.

TAPE: Dr Layt advises taping the wounds with Fixomull initially then Siltape for 8-12 weeks after your operation for optimal scar healing.  Our nurse will change these dressings 1 week after your operation. You will be given a sample pack of Siltape that will last approximately 6 weeks, after this you will need to purchase the Siltape yourself.

TED STOCKINGS: You may be required to wear TED stockings for compression to prevent DVT (blood clotting) post-operatively.  If required these will be fitted at the hospital on your admission day.  The nursing staff will advise you on how long you need to wear these for.

MEDICATION: Take your pain relief and anti-biotic medication as directed.  Any medication you ceased prior to surgery must not be taken after your surgery until you are completely healed or as directed by your physician.

In addition to tummy tuck surgery, The Layt Clinic offers a range of cosmetic enhancement treatments that can help you achieve a more comprehensive makeover. Options include liposuction, facial rejuvenation, breast surgery, and much more. To learn more about tummy tuck surgery, mini-abdominoplasty, or other available treatments, please contact our Gold Coast practice in Queensland. We can answer questions or schedule a consultation for you with Dr. Craig Layt.

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