Abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” surgery aims to remove excess skin and fat from the abdominal area and to recontour the abdomen. Lax abdominal muscles (recti muscles) can also be tightened during this procedure. People who have lost a lot of weight but have remaining overhanging skin and some women who are left with an overhang of skin after pregnancies are suitable for abdominoplasty surgery.
The standard procedure involves a general anaesthetic and one to two nights stay in hospital. It leaves a scar at the lower end of the abdomen running across the pubic hair line from hip to hip. Excess skin and fat of the abdomen between the pubic hair line and the umbilicus (belly button) is removed and the abdominal wall muscles are tightened. It is usually necessary to leave surgical drains in for one to two days. You will have to wear a support garment for some weeks after surgery and to avoid heavy lifting for approximately six weeks.
Often to get the best result, abdominoplasty is combined with liposuction. This can help to thin out the fat at the sides of the abdomen (flanks) and upper abdomen where the skin will not be removed. A mini-abdominoplasty is a less extensive procedure where not as much tissue is removed and is suitable for those with mainly loose skin in the lower abdomen. An extended abdominoplasty is a more extensive procedure where tissue from the flanks is also removed and the scar extends around to the back. It is done in people who have lost a large amount of weight and would still have significant amounts of excess skin remaining after the standard procedure.
For women, abdominoplasty is best performed after their family is complete and no further pregnancies are planned. A future pregnancy can stretch out the area again. As with all body contouring procedures if you gain weight again afterwards, you will gain it back on your abdominal area as before.