What is an abdominoplasty?
The abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” procedure is designed to correct excess skin, fat and muscle laxity of the abdominal region. This surgery requires a general anaesthetic and overnight hospital care for 2 to 5 nights in a private hospital. The procedure is tailored to the individual needs of the patient. Some patients may have major skin to be removed, they may have muscle laxity with little or no skin excess or may just have some minor skin for removal. Each case is treated separately and can result in varied scar length, surgical access and recovery times. Dr Layt will evaluate your current physical conditions and discuss the options which are available to you. ‘Safe surgery’ requires experienced surgeons, hospitals and anaesthetists to be involved with your surgical journey. The patient is also part of this partnership and requires to understand their role within the journey.
These before and after photos are of patients that have had surgery performed by Dr Layt. These patients have consented to the photos being shown. These are actual photos and have not been altered or digitally enhanced. Every patient is an individual and therefore final surgical results will vary from patient to patient.
Who is a candidate?
Abdominoplasty surgery candidates at our Gold Coast practice in Queensland will discuss with Dr Craig Layt the appropriateness of this surgery for the individual. It is important for patients to be at a healthy BMI and weight prior surgery and in some cases the patient may be required to loose more weight prior to proceeding. The procedure can help rectify widening of the abdominal muscles, excess skin and fat in the abdominal region.
What can you expect after the operation?
Abdominoplasty can not be achieved without a scar line above the pubic region. This scar can vary in length depending on the extent of required surgery. In some cases there may also be a need for a scar around the belly button and a possible shorter vertical midline scar. Dr Layt will discuss incision lines and the possible scar result for each individual assessment. Scars heal differently for patients and can result in redness, widening or raised scarring. Scaring can be minimised by taping wounds, using silicon tapes and gels and various other treatments if required.
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.
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 six 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 six 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 two 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 anaesthetic 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. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.
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 centre you are attending.
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 three 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 seven days.
BINDER: After your procedure you will be fitted with a binder which you are required to wear for three 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 surgery 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 six 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 two 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 one week after your surgery. You will be given a sample pack of Siltape that will last approximately six 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 antibiotic 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 augmentation, and much more. To learn more about tummy tuck surgery, mini-abdominoplasty, or other available body contouring treatments, please contact our Gold Coast practice in Queensland. We can answer questions or schedule a consultation for you with Dr Craig Layt.