An abdominoplasty - most commonly referred to as a tummy tuck - is a cosmetic procedure that people undergo to remove scars, excess skin, fat and stretch marks. The treatment also involves tightening the abdominal muscles for improved definition.
Below the average prices for an abdominoplasty in different countries. Prices depend on what type of abdominoplasty you undergo, where you choose to have the procedure done and if you need additional treatments. Prices below refer to a a standard abdominoplasty procedure.
A classic abdominoplasty begins with an incision from hip to hip - just above the pubic area. In the case of a full tummy tuck, a second incision is made around the belly button in order to move it later.
Skin is gradually separated from the abdominal wall, and the abdominal muscles are carefully realigned - stretching them for increased definition. The excess fat and skin and completely removed, and a new hole is cut for the belly button before being stitched permanently into place. The remaining skin is then pulled together tightly and stitched.
In most cases, the patient is left with a circular scar around the umbilicus. There is also a longer scar left on the lower abdomen.
A full abdominoplasty is recommended to patients with excessive skin or fat around the lower abdomen. As this is complex surgery, a general anaesthetic is usually administered to keep the patient still and as comfortable as possible.
The procedure requires a horizontal incision in the area between the tummy button and the pubic hairline. The length and shape of this incision very much depends on the nature of the problem. The abdominal skin is lifted, and work begins on strengthening the weakened abdominal muscles.
A second incision is then made - if the surgeon deems it necessary - to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen, and to re-site the navel. In crude terms, the surgeon pulls the skin on the upper abdomen down like a roller blind. This brings together the two halves of the abdomen.
Excess skin is taken away before both areas are stitched together, leaving the new abdominal surface flatter and tighter. At this stage, a new opening is fashioned for the belly button before being sutured into place.
Sutures, special adhesives, clips and tapes are used to close the large incisions created during the procedure.
Where a patient requires only a small amount of fat and skin to be removed, the surgeon is likely to recommend a miniature tummy tuck. This is a shorter procedure that doesn’t leave as much scarring. However, in most cases patients are still given a general anaesthetic.
A miniature abdominoplasty involves the excision of a section of skin and fat from the lower abdomen. This version of the procedure leaves no scar around the umbilicus, but it does sometimes involve tightening of the abdominal muscles.
An extended tummy tuck involves a more comprehensive removal of fat and skin. Rather than limiting the procedure to the abdomen, the surgeon removes skin and fat from the sides of the patient. The procedure often involves tightening of the muscles and skin just above the hips — usually to remove “love handles”.
The excision required for an extended abdominoplasty runs the entire length of the abdomen and reaches as far as the back of the hips. In some cases, liposuction will be used to improve the contours of the abdomen and hips.
A belt lipectomy — sometimes referred to as a truncal body lift — involves the removal of excess fat and skin around the entire “belt line” of the patient. As well as tightening the area and adding definition, this procedure removes loose skin around the buttocks too. Depending on the wishes of the patient, the fat taken from this area is used to augment the buttocks — lifting them and adding shape.
This surgery requires the patient to be lying belly down in the prone position at first. Once surgery on the lower back and buttocks is complete, the patient is turned around so the tummy tuck can begin.
The patient must rest and remain as still as possible for 48 hours after surgery. A special type of medical corset is fitted to the patient’s abdomen to protect the stitches and encourage the skin to heal. There is usually significant swelling at first, but this subsides relatively quickly.
Most patients are allowed to return home after 48 hours in hospital with no complications. However, remaining reasonably still and relaxed is still important. Doctors usually advise patients to keep their knees bent when lying down — at least until the stitches have been removed after around two weeks. At this stage, most patients will attend an outpatient appointment to have their wound checked.
People considering a tummy tuck need to be prepared to take a significant amount of time off work. The average recovery time is six weeks, but it can be longer than that if complications occur.
Abdominoplasty is surgery, so it carries a degree of risk. However, as long as you choose a reputable, fully-licensed surgical team, the chances of a successful tummy tuck are very high.