abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck is cosmetic surgery to improve the shape of the tummy area (abdomen). It can involve removing excess loose skin, fat and stretch marks and tightening the abdominal muscles. The aim is to remove excess skin on the tummy that cannot be removed through exercise – for example, excess skin caused by pregnancy or losing a lot of weight. It’s not a quick fix for losing weight as the procedure is usually only recommended for people with a healthy body mass index (BMI).

What does it involve?

There are 2 types of abdominoplasties, and both are usually done under a general anesthetic. A partial abdominoplasty involves:

A full abdominoplasty involves:

The operation can take between 2 and 5 hours. Most people need to stay in hospital for a few nights. You will probably be in some pain after you wake up from the general anesthetic. Painkilling medicine can be provided if needed. You will leave hospital with dressings and a pressure garment (corset) on your tummy. Someone will need to drive you home and stay with you for the following 24 hours.

Recovery

You will need to take about 4 to 6 weeks off work and exercise. You will not be able to drive for a few weeks after the operation. It takes about 6 weeks to fully recover and to see the full effect of a tummy tuck. You’ll usually need to wear a special type of corset for 6 weeks, to encourage your skin to heal properly and to reduce any swelling. Generally, you’ll need to take it easy during this time and keep your knees bent while in bed, to avoid putting strain on your stitches. After a few weeks you will probably be asked to attend a follow-up appointment to make sure the wound is healing properly. After 6 weeks you will usually be able to stop wearing a corset and may return to doing most of your usually activities.

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