What are the benefits of abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery?
Abdominoplasty (Tummy tuck) surgery can be advantageous for both women and men who are experiencing a collection of inelastic skin and/or loose musculature in the abdominal region. Benefits of this procedure include:
- Firmer skin and tighter muscles in the abdomen
- A slimmer-looking abdomen and enhanced contours in this area
- An improved abdominal appearance after pregnancy or significant weight loss
- An improved fit for certain types of clothing and swimwear
Surgery often includes some liposuction to further enhance contours in the abdominal area, however some areas may be considered separate from this procedure. Dr Layt will talk with you about your ultimate goals and help you determine whether tummy tuck surgery alone or with other aesthetic procedures is the most ideal way to meet your expectations.
The following before-and-after photos are of patients who have had abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery performed by Dr Layt. These patients have consented to the photos being shown. The images are actual photos and have not been altered or digitally enhanced. Please keep in mind that every patient is an individual and therefore final surgical results will vary from patient to patient.
Who is a candidate for abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery?
Abdominoplasty surgery candidates 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 (body mass index) and weight prior surgery. In some cases, the patient may be required to lose more weight prior to proceeding. The procedure can help rectify widening of the abdominal muscles, excess skin, and fat in the abdominal region. It is also important to remember that an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is not a weight loss solution but a procedure designed to assist removing skin and fat after significant weight loss or other changes in this region. During your initial consultation, Dr Layt will examine your areas of concern and talk with you about whether a customised abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedure is the right option for your needs.
What does the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedure involve?
Abdominoplasty (Tummy tuck) surgery requires a general anaesthetic and overnight hospital care for two to five nights in a private hospital. The procedure is tailored to the individual needs of the patient. Some patients may have large amounts of skin to be removed, they may have muscle laxity with little or no skin excess, or they may only have a minor degree of skin that requires 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. For a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery, an incision is typically created from one hip to the other just above the pubic region. Another incision may be necessary in the navel area to reposition the belly button. Excess skin will be removed and the underlying muscles will be tightened, while the remaining skin is redraped and pulled taut to create a flatter, more fit look in the abdomen.
“Safe surgery” requires experienced surgeons, hospitals, and anaesthetists to be involved with your surgical journey. The patient is also part of this partnership and is required to understand their role within the journey. Our team will explain all aspects of abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery well before the operation to ensure you have a full understanding of what to expect.
What can I expect during abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) recovery?
Most patients can expect to resume light activity after about two to three weeks of recovery following the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedure. These types of activity may include work, depending on the type of work that will be undertaken. Swelling and bruising in the abdomen is to be expected during the recovery process, and discomfort can be alleviated with medication. Exercises and activities that may place strain or pressure on the abdomen will need to be avoided for a minimum of six weeks after abdominoplasty. Dr Layt will explain all aspects of the recovery process during the initial consultation, and you can find more information on pre- and post-operative expectations in the sections below. Our practice will provide you with thorough details on the recovery and healing process so that you can have the smoothest and safest experience possible.
What are the potential risks and complications of abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery?
Surgery is not an exact science. Incisions and scars are part of any surgery and the location and extent of the incisions will be discussed with you. Every effort is made by the surgeon to minimise scarring. Scars will fade over time, but they are permanent. They can also become hypertrophic or keloid. Scars vary from person to person and are related to each individual’s skin type, genetics and the ability of their skin to heal.
Every surgical procedure involves certain risks and complications (as per the ASPS brochure) including, but not limited to:
Asymmetry is evident physically in every person. No two sides of the body are ever exactly symmetrical in shape, position or size and the surgeon will make every effort to achieve as close to symmetry as possible but some asymmetry is normal.
Delayed Healing, Infection and Suture Reactions can all be possible healing issues and may require antibiotics or in some cases surgical exploration.
Bleeding, Haematoma or Seroma Collections may resolve themselves but, in some cases may require further surgery.
Loss of Sensation and Numbness may also be experienced. In most cases this will improve over time on its own. In some cases this can be permanent.
Bruising and Swelling may also be a short term effect from surgery and will usually settle in one to two weeks.
Allergies to dressings, medical lotions, sutures or other materials can occur with some patients. You will be advised to cease the use of the dressing, lotion or material that is causing the reaction. In some cases anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed.
Breathing Difficulties may be due to a general anaesthetic or breathing tube during the operation which has caused some swelling, noisy breathing or discomfort.
Blood Clots can also occur in some surgeries and may require urgent treatment and hospitalisation.
Pain thresholds vary from patient to patient. This may lead to different pain management and/or different recovery times to resume normal activities.
Achieving excellent results with minimal risk is a joint effort. It is important to disclosed to the surgeon and clinic and understand the following:
Full disclosure of your medical history including: allergies, personal, physical and mental history, previous surgeries, current medications and co-morbidities (including but not limited to, smoking, vaping, diabetes, prescription and illegal drug addictions, blood or heart disease, obesity or anorexia).
Co-morbidities may impact on outcome and healing post surgery.
Smoking, vaping, or taking recreational drugs must be ceased in the 6 weeks prior to some operations and during the healing phase. Failure to do so may increase the risk of complications, decrease your healing ability and affect your surgical outcome.
You should not take aspirin based prescription drugs 14 days prior to surgery and during the healing phase of the operation unless advised otherwise by the surgeon.
As per the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), all non-rebatable (cosmetic) procedures require a validated screening of Body Dysmorphia to be undertaken.
If Dr Layt is concerned about your mental state or physical state prior to the procedure, he may request evaluation by a psychologist, psychiatrist, general practitioner or other specialist. This referral is to assess your suitability, increased risks during surgery or any underlying physical or psychological problems which may affect your recovery or mental health.
In some cases this may require surgery to be postponed or cancelled by the doctor in his primary role to consider your care and personal well-being.
All surgery carries risks and it is important to understand these.
Every patient is an individual and therefore final surgical results will vary from patient to patient. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.
Abdominoplasty surgery is a frequently performed 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.
How noticeable are tummy tuck scars?
Abdominoplasty cannot 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. Scarring can be minimised by taping wounds, using silicon tapes and gels and various other treatments if required. While there will be noticeable scars, it is important to note that residual scarring should fade to some degree with time, and can often be well-concealed under clothing or swimming attire.
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) vs. Liposuction
Both abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery and liposuction can be advantageous for patients who would like to enhance abdominal contours; however, there are some important distinctions between what these two advanced procedures are designed to do. A abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) can eliminate excess skin that has collected in abdominal areas and tighten the remaining skin. Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) surgery can also tighten and repair lax abdominal muscles. By contrast, liposuction is focused on eliminating excess fat, rather than excess skin. To be sure, both of these treatments can provide excellent enhancement of the midsection, and they are often combined to address concerns caused by excess skin and pockets of excess fat.
Our team will be able to determine whether liposuction, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery, or a combination of both will be best for your ultimate goals once you are evaluated during the initial consultation.
Can I Get Pregnant After Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Surgery?
Yes, it is possible for many patients to still get pregnant and successfully give birth after they have received tummy tuck surgery. With that in mind, our plastic surgeon typically advises patients who are considering abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery to wait until they have decided not to have more children in the future before undergoing the procedure. Pregnancy will likely stretch and possibly tear abdominal muscles, create loose skin, and ultimately reverse some of the abdominal enhancement benefits produced by abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery. Therefore, it is often better for patients to have the procedure after they have completed their families.
Can a Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
While not specifically designed to accomplish this goal, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery can effectively remove stretch marks present on skin that is being removed during the procedure. This is typically located in the lower abdominal area under the belly button. While other areas exhibiting stretch marks may not be addressed during a abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), our plastic surgeon can talk with you about alternative options that may be ideal if you have concerns in those areas.
Is a Non-Surgical Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Possible?
Generally speaking, there are no non-surgical procedures that can replicate or reproduce the results from a abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery. Exercises or devices (such as the Tummy Tuck Belt®) purporting to offer results that are similar to a surgical abdominoplasty simply cannot achieve what a abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is designed to do, which is eliminate excess skin, redrape the remaining skin, and surgically tighten and repair abdominal musculature.
Is a Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Permanent?
The results of a abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) can last for many years as long as patients maintain healthy eating and lifestyle habits, minimise weight fluctuations, and take good care of their bodies. Balanced diets, regular exercise, and proper skin care can significantly increase the chance that abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) results last long into the future.
How much does abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery cost?
The cost of abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery here at The Layt Clinic varies among patients based on the individual treatment plan. The total cost includes fees for anaesthesia, the surgeon, and use of the surgical theatre. Since abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery is customised for each patient, the cost of the procedure varies greatly depending on the required procedure. Additional factors that will be taken into account include the extent and complexity of the operation, whether liposuction or other treatments are performed in combination with the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery, and other associated costs. You will be provided with a full cost estimate of the procedure once your customised treatment plan is created during the initial consultation. A member of our team will be happy to go over the estimate with you and answer any questions you may have about payment methods. Our practice accepts a variety of convenient payment options for plastic surgery and aesthetic enhancement procedures and we can discuss these options with you at any time.
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 jewelry.
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 NSAIDS, anti-inflammatory medications, and 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 affect 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 to 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 taut. 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.
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 to 5 days after the operation. Light activity is comfortable at 2 to 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 and 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 abdominoplasty (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 abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery, mini-abdominoplasty, or other available body contouring treatments, please contact our practice in Queensland. We can answer questions or schedule a consultation for you with Dr Craig Layt.