An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a very common cosmetic surgical procedure and forms one of the cornerstones of so-called ‘mummy makeovers’ (mommy makeover) which is one of Mr Banwell’s specialty operations. It is a contouring procedure which removes excess skin from the lower abdomen and makes the tummy flatter and tighter.
There are variations in this procedure including full tummy tuck, modified tummy tuck, weightloss tummy tuck, pannectomy and fleur de lys tummy tucks. Liposuction can also be performed in combination with this operation as well as breast procedures (augmentation, reduction, uplift or fat transfer) or eyelid (blepharoplasty) procedures.
Interestingly, full tummy tuck surgery can have immense benefits functionally following pregnancy by correcting weaknesses in the underlying abdominal muscles and therefore improve their function.This creates a more normal, flatter and natural appearance of the abdomen. It also allows the repair any abdominal hernia or rectus divarication of the tummy muscles that may be present (very common following childbirth – especially after twins – which causes a gap in the muscles).
In some patients it removes large aprons of fat (also called a pannus) that may cause dermatitis, skin infection, back pain, difficulty in walking and difficulty with hygiene.
The operation involves a long, low incision (from hip to hip) being made to excise the lower half of the abdominal skin and fat. Mr Banwell will mark this incision in your underwear line to try and hide the scar as much as possible. Occasionally if the skin is very tight, a small vertical scar is also required. Some patients will also have their belly button piercing removed so this will need to be re-done if required.
There is also an incision made around the naval (tummy button, umbilicus) as it needs to be relocated to a normal position after the lower abdominal skin and fat has been pulled down and removed. As the underlying stretched abdominal muscles are surgically tightened with stitches, this is the main limitation to post-operative recovery. The skin is sutured together with dissolving sutures under the skin. Drains will then be placed and these remain for a period of usually one to two days. Mr Banwell will explain the risks and complications in some detail at consultation but please also download the information sheet below for your records.
N.B. Please note that tummy tuck surgery should not be considered a weight loss procedure – it aims to contour