Abdominoplasty / Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a ‘Tummy Tuck’, is a surgical procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen.

You may choose to undergo Abdominoplasty for a number of reasons:

  • To remove a large fat deposit.
  • To remove loose abdominal skin.
  • To improve skin elasticity if you are an older patient.
  • To improve your muscle and skin tone after multiple pregnancies.

Most commonly, the surgeon will make a long incision from hipbone to hipbone, slightly above the pubic area. A second incision is made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. With partial Abdominoplasty, the incision is much shorter and the navel may not be moved, although it may be pulled into an unnatural shape as the skin is tightened and stitched.

Next, Dr. med. Strouthou separates the skin from the abdominal wall all the way up to your ribs and lifts a large skin flap to reveal the vertical (rectus) muscles in your abdomen. These muscles are tightened by being pulled closer together and stitched into their new position. This provides a firmer, flatter abdominal wall and reduces the waistline.

The skin flap is then stretched down and the extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. Finally, the incisions will be stitched, dressings will be applied, and a temporary drainage tube may be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.

In partial Abdominoplasty, the skin is removed below the navel. This skin is stretched down, the excess is removed, and the skin is stitched back into place. The incision is usually shorter and the navel itself is not freed as in a full Abdominoplasty thereby avoiding the need for stitches around it.

Abdominoplasty is a very common procedure carried out successfully on many people each year. Nevertheless, there are always risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure include:

Infection is uncommon, and most infections are minor, being treated with drainage and antibiotics. Serious infections are rare and occur in high-risk individuals such as smokers, people who are very overweight, and those with certain conditions such as diabetes.

Bleeding is unusual and normally drainage tubes are used to drain away any excess blood and fluid in the immediate post-operative period. Drains are usually removed the morning after surgery before discharge.

Blood clots are also uncommon and the risk of getting one can be reduced by mobilising as soon after the operation as possible.

There is a chance of poor healing resulting in conspicuous scars and this may necessitate a second operation. If you are a smoker you are strongly advised to stop, as smoking may increase the risk of serious complications (including devastating infections) and delay healing.

You can reduce the risk of complications by following Dr. med. Strouthou’s pre and post-operative instructions, particularly with regard to resuming physical activity.

During the recovery, you can expect to feel sore and may have trouble standing fully upright at first. Recovering from a Tummy Tuck requires a great deal of rest and downtime, as your stomach muscles become engaged with almost every movement or activity. Dr. med. Strouthou will ask you to refrain from strenuous activity for up to 4-6 weeks and may ask you to wear a compression garment for several weeks after surgery in order to reduce swelling, bruising and fluid retention.

At what age is Abdominoplasty usually performed?

There is no “normal” age or time in one’s life to have an Abdominoplasty, but it is most often done after a woman has given birth and does not plan to have more children, or after someone has lost all the weight he or she intends to lose.

Is there much pain associated with Abdominoplasty?

The amount of pain with an Abdominoplasty is quite variable. Some people report a moderate amount of discomfort and some say it is more intense. But there will be some pain. Your surgeon can give you a prescription for pain relievers.

How long do the results of a Tummy Tuck last?

The results can last for many, many years. If you have no large weight gain or pregnancies after your Tummy Tuck, then the changes will be relatively permanent. There will be some relaxation of the tissues with age, but not to the extent prior to surgery.