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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures. For a variety of reasons, as we get older, after childbirth or following changes in size, we may wish to address areas of concern on our tummy.

The abdominal wall can be thought of as three layers: the outer skin layer, the middle fat layer and the inner muscle and fascia layer, all of which can develop areas of concern.

Different patients will wish to address different facets of their abdomen: some have redundant skin secondary to weight loss, bariatric surgery or childbirth; some may have concerns about the excess fat accumulation in areas of their abdominal wall; others may be concerned that their abdominal wall has lost its tight and taut appearance with passage of time. These can all be addressed with a combination of surgical approaches that aim to recreate a taut and sculpted abdominal wall.

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At its simplest level, abdominoplasties can be thought of as taking away the excess lower abdominal wall tissue, including fat and repositioning the umbilicus with a tight wound closure. Developments in surgical techniques and our improved understanding of aesthetics, anatomy and outcome measures have allowed more nuanced and intricate procedures in recent years.

Your consultation will begin with a thorough medical history, including previous abdominal surgery, smoking habits, regular medications (e.g. blood thinners), previous history of deep venous thrombosis, diabetes, stability of weight over time and all other relevant details. During your consultation, we will discuss any areas of concern with you. Examination includes assessing the quality and amount of redundancy of your skin, fat and the integrity of the underlying layers.

We will discuss all the options with you, such as mini-abdominoplasties, full abdominoplasties and associated techniques including liposculpture. The surgical incisions will be tailored to your preference of undergarments and swimwear style to conceal them as much as possible.

It is important to be realistic about your expectations. For example, many patients coming to our clinics believe that surgery will get rid of all their stretch marks. Although it is true that surgery will help to camouflage stretch marks, it cannot rectify the rupture of the collagen bundles, which is the underlying cause of stretch marks. We will discuss what is and is not possible and what might be best suited to your case. Photographs will be taken as part of your confidential medical records prior to surgery. Smokers will be requested to cease smoking for 3–6 weeks prior to surgery and to abstain for at least 3–6 weeks after surgery.

On the day of surgery you will be admitted to hospital, where Dr Farhadieh will see you along with the anaesthetist so that any remaining questions can be addressed. Surgical markings will be made just prior to surgery. It is a good idea to wear your preferred underwear so that the optimal incision site can be confirmed.

After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room, where you will be monitored before returning to the ward. You will be placed in a compression garment, which will help to reduce any swelling and make you more comfortable. Your drains will be removed sequentially and you will be encouraged to start walking as soon as possible. This usually happens within the first few days. You will be discharged home, with a follow-up appointment scheduled in 10–14 days.

You should be able to resume most activities, except for strenuous activities that would place pressure on your abdominal wall, within a couple of weeks from your surgery and will be able to resume all activities within 8 weeks postoperatively.

As with all surgery there are inherent risks of complications. Fortunately these do not happen often, but it is important to be aware of them and to sound early warning should they occur. We will discuss these with you during consultation.

We would like to see you again after the initial postoperative follow-up at regular intervals. If at any point you have any concerns we would be happy to discuss them with you. The relationship and trust between surgeon and patient is the most important element in the process. Our practice is based on compassion, honesty, transparency, and above all, patient welfare. We pride ourselves on making sure that our patients feel supported through each stage of the journey.

‘Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.’

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days will I need to be in hospital for?

Usually you will stay in hospital for 2-3days. You will be often discharged with at least one remaining drain, which will come out usually by day 5-7 postoperatively.

Is the surgery painful?

There is some discomfort associated with surgery. Although most patients report a tightness rather than pain due to excellent pain control regime we utilise which includes local anaesthetic for the immediate postoperative period as well as powerful analgesics.

Will I have liposculpture and liposuction as part of the procedure as well?

Often this may be required to achieve the optimal aesthetic outcome. The abdominal wall will require varying degrees of treatment and this includes liposculpture and liposuction of areas not included in the tummy tuck.

When will I be able to resume normal activity?

Within 2 weeks you will be back at work and be able to resume most normal activities. Exercises which put strain on your core abdominal muscles should not be resumed for at least 8 and preferably for 12 weeks postoperatively.

Where will the scars be placed?

As part of the preoperative assessment Dr Farhadieh will tailor the incision sites in consultation with you depending on your type of preferred underwear, swimwear or previous surgery. The scars are not only camouflaged, but fade considerably within the first 12 months from surgery

What will my follow up include?

Dr Farhadieh believes that the doctor-patient rapport is amongst the most sacred and privileged relationships. Our practice is based on compassion, honesty, transparency and above all, patient welfare.

We pride ourselves on making sure that you feel supported through each stage of the journey. We will be available during all stages of your journey and will schedule short, medium and long term follow ups as part of our overall practice.

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