A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) flattens your stomach by tightening your abdominal muscles and the aim is to give you a slimmer, shapelier figure – and a big confidence boost.
If you’ve been left with excess folds of skin after having a baby, losing a lot of weight quickly or simply due to the ageing process, you might be considering this operation.
Many women choose a tummy tuck because they feel self-conscious about the loose, excess skin which sometimes develops with age and after pregnancy. For most people, this operation is about regaining shape and feeling confident about your body again. In fact, it’s best if you have achieved your target weight before having a tummy tuck as it is not a weight-loss procedure.
You’ll meet your consultant surgeon in one of our private consultation rooms, during this time you will be able to discuss your medical history and your cosmetic surgeon will help you choose the right tummy tuck for you.
If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, we’ll give you at least two weeks between consultation and operation date. This is because we want you to be really happy and confident with your decision.
On the day of your operation, our ward staff will show you to your own private room. Your private room will have an en-suite bathroom and TV and Wi-Fi facilities.
Once you’re ready, our nurses will help you prepare for your procedure, you will also see your consultant surgeon and anaesthetist before having surgery.
You’ll probably need to stay with us for at least a night though sometimes people need to stay a little longer.
When you get home you’ll need to take things easy at first. Arrange at least a week off work and you should gradually be able to return to normal activity within four to six weeks. Light activity should be comfortable after around two weeks but you shouldn’t do anything too active – like go to the gym or take an exercise class – for around six weeks.
You will be asked to keep your knees and hips bent when resting, to take the strain off the stitches. A corset will also help reduce pain and swelling in the first month.
Your consultant will discuss the different types of tummy tucks with you and will help you choose the one that’s right for you:
Suitable if you only have a little excess skin. Your surgeon will only need to make a small cut just above the pubic area to remove the excess skin and your belly button won’t be disturbed. This usually takes about an hour.
This may be the best option if you only need to have the muscles of your abdominal wall tightened. Your surgeon will make small cuts and use special surgical instruments to tighten the muscles. This procedure usually takes around an hour.
This is the best option if you have a lot of excess skin. A cut will be made between the hips, fat may be removed using liposuction, your belly button will be freed and loose muscles pulled and stitched together. Sometimes the doctor will need to reconstruct your belly button and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. This usually takes around two hours.
Sometimes your surgeon may suggest liposuction in addition to the abdominoplasty. Where liposuction is performed in conjunction with any other cosmetic procedure, our policy is that we will remove no more than a maximum of 2000ml of aspirate (fat and fluid) from all areas combined. With the Fleur-de-Lys abdominoplasty (where a vertical as well as a horizontal incision is made), no liposuction can be performed.
The amount of scarring you are left with will depend on your skin type, overall health and the type of procedure you have but abdominal scars can normally be hidden well beneath the bikini line.
You will feel some pain and swelling around your tummy immediately after the operation. This is normal and your symptoms should start to improve within a few weeks.
We will provide you with a supply of any medicines that your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you’ve left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
Suffering from pain could slow down your recovery, so please discuss any discomfort with your doctors or nurses.
There will be visible scars and you may feel that your tummy looks unnatural at first, but this is almost always temporary.
Everyone is different but you should start to look and feel better within a few months.
Your surgeon will talk to you about the results that are likely to be realistic for you and what you should expect after surgery.
Even after your surgery we’re still here when you need us.
If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery you can call and speak to a member of the nursing team at any time, please call 01424 757459.