Guide to tummy tucks

What is a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck, known medically as an abdominoplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure where excess skin and fat are removed from the abdomen to achieve a smoother and tighter appearance to the stomach. 

Who is suitable for a tummy tuck?

The best candidate for a tummy tuck is someone who is as close to their ideal weight as possible, in good health and have realistic expectations of what can be achieved with tummy tuck surgery. Tummy tuck procedures can be performed on both male and female patients as long as they are over the age of 18, there is no upper age limit to a tummy tuck although all patients will be required to have a pre-surgery check up to make sure they are fit and well enough to have elective surgery.

Tummy tuck patient examples include:

  • Patients who have lost a significant amount of weight and have been left with excess skin in the abdomen area.
  • Patients following pregnancy have had their abdominal muscles and skin stretched resulting in loose skin sitting on the stomach.
  • Patients who have lost weight with diet and exercise but still feel their stomach is not in proportion to the rest of their body, and usually the skin is lacking elasticity to be suitable for liposuction alone.
  • Patients who have previously had a C-section and have retracted scarring.

Tummy tucks should not be thought of as a substitute for weight loss or an exercise program. The procedure cannot correct stretch marks, although these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are located on the areas of excess skin that will be treated.

How to choose a tummy tuck surgeon

The best results from a tummy tuck often come from choosing an expert surgeon. At The Private Clinic, they advise anyone considering tummy tuck surgery to fully research surgeons to find one that not only will perform tummy tuck surgery safely but also help you achieve the results that you desire. You should be looking for their qualifications, ask how many procedures they have performed, how often they perform the procedure and ask to see their before and after photos and seek out patients that have a similar ‘before’ body to you to see what results to expect.

Tummy tuck procedures should only be carried out by board certified plastic surgeons. At The Private Clinic they are proud to offer you a team of the most experienced Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons in the UK for their tummy tuck treatments in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Buckinghamshire, Northampton, Leeds and Manchester.

Types of tummy tuck

There are a variety of different tummy tuck techniques. The one you have will depend on how much skin and fat you need to have removed. Your surgeon will explain the different types and be able to advice on which type they feel is most suitable for you.

Video: Types of tummy tuck

  • Full Abdominoplasty: This is known as a full tummy tuck or a standard tummy tuck. It is one of the most commonly performed tummy tuck procedures. It is designed to remove fat, repair any torn muscles and remove any excess skin. A full tummy tuck scar sits along the upper pubic region, your surgeon will usually try to plan it so it will sit in your underwear line so when wearing clothing such as a bikini it should remain concealed.

  • Extended Abdominoplasty: An extended tummy tuck will not only remove skin and fat from the tummy area but it will also target the excess skin in the flanks, upper hips and lower back regions too. An extended tummy tuck also comes with an extended scar which often stretches around the back of the patient.

  • Mini Abdominoplasty: A mini tummy tuck is best for patients who only have a small amount of tissue between the areas above your pubic region to the tummy button, your stomach may have a crinkly appearance but doesn’t necessarily over-hang. A mini tummy tuck can also still repair the muscles as well as removing excess skin and tightening up the lower part of the tummy. A mini abdominoplasty scar is usually a lot smaller than a full abdominoplasty but this is not always the case, the biggest different in scar is that no scar will be made around the belly button as this section of the stomach is not touched in a mini abdominoplasty.

  • Fleur de lis Abdominoplasty: A fleur de lis tummy tuck is designed to target excess skin from both the upper and lower abdomen in a vertical direction. The skin is pulled downward and inwards towards the center of your abdomen resulting in a smooth and tummy. The technique gets its name from the incision used which is a long, vertical scar that extends from the bottom of your breastbone to your upper pubic region and then across the upper pubic region like a standard tummy tuck scar.

  • Brazilian Abdominoplasty: A Brazilian tummy tuck is the name for the combination technique of liposuction with a tummy tuck. Liposuction is used to remove fat from the areas being treated to help give a more sculpted appearance once the excess skin is removed and tightened. The Brazilian tummy tuck technique can be applied to all the different tummy tuck types including a full tummy tuck, extended tummy tuck, mini tummy tuck and fleur de lis tummy tuck procedure. Scarring after a Brazilian tummy tuck will depend on which type of tummy tuck is performed.

What does a tummy tuck involve?

A tummy tuck procedure is performed under general anaesthetic in hospital. Patients usually are required to stay overnight after the procedure and will be able to return home the following day once checked over by the surgeon or nursing team.

The procedure will start with an incision being made, the size and position of the incision will depend on what type of tummy tuck procedure is being performed. For a full tummy tuck for example a horizontal incision will be made along the upper pubic region and around the belly button.

Your plastic surgeon will then work to remove most of the skin and fat between your belly button and upper pubic region.

Some patients may be experiencing abdominal separation (Diastasis recti) which is where stomach muscles weaken and separate. It affects most women during and after pregnancy where the stomach and underlying muscles have been stretched but it can also occur in patients who have been doing excessive abdominal exercises or weightlifting the wrong way. Abdominal separation correction is included in an abdominoplasty procedure and involves using stitches to repair the abdominal wall and reduce the gap between the muscles.

The skin around your bellybutton will then be repositioned and brought out via a small incision and sutured back into its normal position. The incision will then be stitched together and bandaged up with tape and a garment is placed over the area treated. A tummy tuck procedure usually takes around 3 hours to complete.

Tummy Tuck aftercare

Every patient will heal differently after a tummy tuck and this is just down to their own personal healing rates and also the type of tummy tuck procedure that was performed. You will be given a course of painkillers and antibiotics to take following surgery and you will need to wear your surgical garment for 6 weeks following your procedure to help aid any fluid retention and support you whilst you heal. Patients may feel tight in their stomach for the initial week following surgery but this should get better as the swelling subsides and we encourage patients to get up and take regular walks throughout the day. Patients should avoid lifting anything that could make you strain for 6 weeks which includes children, heavy bags and vacuum cleaners for example.

Patients can look to return to work after 2-3 weeks, however this will depend on their job role – if your job is a little more strenuous or requires manual labour then it may be best to wait until your surgeon gives you the go ahead or see if you can take on a less demanding role temporarily whilst you are healing. Patients should also wait 6-8 weeks before returning to exercise, as with any procedure, it is important to listen to your body, take things gradually and always rest when required.

Tummy tuck results

The results of a tummy tuck are best seen after 6 weeks when all the swelling has subsided. It can take over a year for the scars to fully heal, your surgeon will be able to advise you on how to get the best out of your scars. This usually involves regularly massaging and moisturising the scars and keeping them out of the sun.

Video: Tummy tuck scar care advice

The results of a tummy tuck are designed to be permanent although lifestyle factors such as ageing, pregnancy and extreme weight loss or gain could alter the results.

Why choose The Private Clinic?

With over 35 years of experience in helping men and women get back their body confidence, The Private Clinic prides itself on setting the highest industry standards and working with the most capable and experienced surgeons. From their relaxed, sympathetic and informative consultations to the very best aftercare, you’ll be given first-class treatment every step of the way.

  • 24 hour patient helpline to ensure you are always in the best of hands.
  • As many post-operative care and appointments with your surgeon, doctor and nursing team as required.
  • One year cover for all surgical, hospital and nursing care, in case of any medical issue giving you peace of mind. Comprehensive patient information, every step of the way.
  • Highly experienced surgeons who have years of experience in tummy tuck surgery.
  • Outstanding hospital facilities.
  • Competitively priced for their expertise and experience.
  • With over 35 years’ experience of Cosmetic Medical Excellence, you are in expert hands.
  • Their excellent reputation for patient safety and satisfaction, honest advice and outstanding care means your journey with The Private Clinic will be an exciting experience to a newfound shape.

View The Private Clinic’s tummy tuck before and after photo gallery

View The Private Clinic’s tummy tuck patient stories

View The Private Clinic’s extensive FAQs

Consultations for tummy tuck surgery are available in London Harley Street, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, Buckinghamshire, Northampton, Glasgow, Milton Keynes, and Edinburgh.

To find out more about tummy tuck surgery at The Private Clinic or to book an appointment, visit their website, call 0333 920 2471 or use their abdominoplasty online contact form.

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