Tummy tuck procedures are hugely popular in the UK and beyond, but what precisely is this form of cosmetic surgery and who might it be suitable for? In this post, we answer those questions.
A tummy tuck might be said to tuck in excess tummy fat and skin. The excess fat and skin is removed and the muscle tightened. The end result is a tummy region that is slimmer, more aesthetically pleasing and altogether more toned.
Who is it suitable for?
Many of us could benefit from having a bit of excess tummy skin and fat removed, but the surgery is not suitable for all.
The best candidates are those who have a specific problem in the tummy region, rather than being notably overweight weight in general.
The body does not add or lose fat in a uniform way and so pockets can remain however hard we exercise and however carefully we manage a diet. Someone looking to tackle tummy fat might diet, perform sit ups, jog and more and yet find the fat remains, any weight that does come off coming from elsewhere. We don’t get to choose which bit of the body loses fat and the tummy tends to be one of the last areas where any impact is seen.
The treatment tackles fat and appearance in this one area. It can be suitable for us as we age, changes in metabolism increasing the chances of fat pockets appearing.
Tummy Tucks are popular among women post pregnancy. After giving birth, it can be very hard to shift the baby weight and the tummy and abdomen region can remain stubborn to change.
Following a suitable recovery period post birth, a tummy tuck can be used to help restore pre-birth figure – however if further children are planned it would be less advisable to have the surgery, pre pregnancy shape would be restored only to be lost once more.
This body refinement procedure can also be combined with breast implants or other alterations, such as fat transfer from the tummy to firm and reshape the breasts – this combined procedure is known as a mummy makeover.
As with all cosmetic surgery, an abdominoplasty would be less suitable for those with existing health concerns. However, a detailed consultation would address the suitability of the procedure – no respectable surgeon will perform a procedure when it is not in the patient’s best interests.
What are the benefits?
The most obvious benefit is the restoration of the figure in the tummy region, this a cosmetic, aesthetic benefit.
However, many people find this has other benefits too. It can provide a psychological boost, tackling an issue that might have led to low self-confidence, this potentially impacting on relationships, confidence and even work (it can be harder to perform in any job when we are suffering from lowered self-esteem).
An improved figure can also motivate us to exercise more – it is easy to get into a slump, starting to question the point of exercise when the body doesn’t improve how we’d like it to. However, with a firmer, tighter tummy there is something we are committed to maintain, the motivation to retain this new figure enhanced.
Many people find that a procedure that targets just one part of their body has a profound impact on their overall wellbeing.
How is the procedure performed?
A tummy tuck is performed under general anaesthetic. Incisions are made along the bikini line from hip to hip and the skin separated from the abdominal muscles, this allowing for the muscles to be moved closer together and stitched into place. The separated skin is then stretched over the now-tight muscles and excess skin removed, whilst the navel is reshaped and repositioned in a more aesthetically desirable location. Tummy tuck can be combined with liposuction of the upper abdomen and flanks to remove pockets of stubborn fat and reshape the waist.
The incisions are then closed and a dressing applied over the treated area.
The procedure typically takes between two and five hours.
What is the recovery time?
The recovery takes around two to three months for most patients, depending not only on the extent of surgery but also how well you are prepared for your tummy tuck.
As a rule, a smaller patient requiring less sculpting and removal of tissue will recover faster. Also, when the surgery mainly consists of removal of skin, the recovery is easier. However, Anca performs her tummy tucks with a lot of attention to tightening and sculpting using liposuction techniques on top of the expected muscle repair and skin removal. This is why some patients may take a bit longer to fully recover and straighten their back.
The more you follow Anca’s instructions the better and faster you will recover. Things like gentle movement from the day after your surgery, eating healthy foods, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes and keeping your garment on will make a huge difference!
Preparation for recovery is key!
Following surgery the first three weeks or so your movement will be limited as you gradually straighten and regain your range of movement.
Healthy eating, abstaining from alcohol and smoking are essential. Seeing a physiotherapist before and after your surgery. You should also think of a support person to help put your needs first and help you after your surgery. Make sure you have some extra pillows as you will need at least one under your knees and another behind your back. Avoid lying on your stomach and sides for a minimum of six weeks. Resting in a recliner will help ease the strain on the wounds and prevent you from rolling around.
Are the Results Long Term?
One great advantage of tummy tuck procedure is that results can be truly long term. The fat and excess skin have been removed, the new figure created. If the patient maintains this figure through eating well and performing regular exercise then there is no reason the new toned tummy region can’t be maintained.
However, long term results cannot be guaranteed. If a patient was to eat unhealthily and carry out little exercise then the stomach region could develop unwelcome fat pockets once more.
Cosmetic surgery is never entered into lightly and many prospective patients book a consultation but then decide that it is not the right option for them.
If you would like to book an obligation free consultation to discuss this surgery, please contact us by using our Contact Form.
Anca Breahna is a renowned cosmetic surgeon who has held multiple Fellowships and also trains other surgeons, abdominoplasty is one of her specialisms.
Further Reading about Body Procedures with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anca Breahna
- Read more about Best Compression Garments after Tummy Tuck Surgery
- Read more about How to Get Rid of Abdominal Fat