An abdominoplasty ('tummy tuck') involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen. This results in a slimmer waistline and an improved body contour. Tightening of the abdominal wall muscles may be performed in conjunction with this, to enhance the abdominal contour. This procedure is frequently used on its own, but is also used in combination with other procedures, such as liposuction or buttock, thigh, and arm lifts in those who have lost large amounts of weight. The abdominoplasty may also be extended to a circumferential body lift to remove excess tissue from the flank and back.
With increasing age, the skin's elasticity is reduced and its ability to take up its former taught shape is lost. Despite diet and exercise, unwanted fat and excess skin may remain in the lower abdomen. Changes in weight and pregnancy (particularly those who have had multiple pregnancies) can also lead to excess lower abdominal tissue. Pregnancy can stretch the skin beyond its ability to return to the pre-pregnant state. If skin retraction has not taken place by one year then it is unlikely that this will occur. In addition to the skin being stretched, pregnancy can also lead to be separation of the rectus muscles, which may weaken the abdominal wall and in some cases produce bulging.
Abdominoplasty is not in itself a treatment for obesity. It may though be used as an additional part of a long term structured program to reduce weight and achieve a good end result.
Being overweight and smoking can increase the incidence of complications from an abdominoplasty. It may be wise to delay surgery until smoking is stopped or cut down, and a proportion of excess weight lost. It may not be wise to proceed if you have future plans for pregnancy. Previous abdominal surgery may not permit an abdominoplasty.
Aspirin increases the risk of bleeding by preventing blood from clotting. If you are taking aspirin, you will be asked to stop this for at least ten days before the procedure.
Abdominal wall reshaping by removal of excess lower overhanging skin. Risks include bleeding, seroma, infection, scars, asymmetry and lumpiness. At least an overnight stay in hospital with recovery taking 4-6 weeks.