Thinking of a tummy tuck?

10 March 2017

Consultant plastic surgeon Mr Azhar Iqbal at Spire Liverpool Hospital writes about tummy tucks; why you might consider one, what the goals of the surgery are and how long the recovery is?

Losing a substantial amount of weight to improve your health is a brilliant achievement and you should be proud of how far you have come. However the downside of losing the fat from your stomach area can often be that you are left with loose skin giving your abdomen a ‘saggy’ appearance. Another factor for lose skin around the abdomen is pregnancy, as the skin is stretched and muscles can become weakened. The appearance of this excess skin can often make you feel self-conscious about wearing certain clothes, or going swimming.

An abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a group of procedures individually tailored to improve the appearance of your abdomen. Tummy tuck surgery, like any plastic surgical procedure, involves: Patient selection and assessment criteria, Procedure selection and Planning (the 3Ps).

The goal of the procedure is to address the skin excess, fat excess or both. At the same time if abdominal muscles are separated (recti-divarication) they can also be tightened.

You will need general anaesthesia for an abdominoplasty procedure, as it is a substantial surgery, but depending on the extent of procedure you should generally be up and about 1-2 days after surgery. After surgical excision of skin and muscle tightening, heavy weight lifting is prohibited for many weeks- so don’t expect to be back in the gym the next week. However, light daily activities can be started fairly quickly. For example, after about 1-2 weeks you can be back on the road driving when you’re comfortable with the seat belt and emergency manoeuvres.

As mentioned before, the 3Ps (Patient, Procedure and Planning) guide your plastic surgery journey- but what’s in the detail?

1. Patient

When looking at the patient there are several important factors that are assessed including:

  • fitness level
  • smoking History
  • future pregnancy planning
  • patient expectations.

The ideal candidates are:

  • a stable weight
  • preferably non-smokers
  • preferably not planning future pregnancies.

2. Procedure

Every patient is different but the most common types of procedures are:

  • liposuction
  • mini abdominoplasty
  • full abdominoplasty
  • extended abdominoplasty
  • circumferential abdominoplasty (belt lipectomy)
  • apronectomy.

Mini-abdominoplasty and apronectomy are often combined with liposuction to match the patient’s needs and desired outcomes.

3. Planning

Deciding to have a cosmetic procedure can be a long and emotional process, and a lot of thought will go into it. So, some important questions to consider with your surgeon during this planning process are:

  • Who? Know your Surgeon. What qualifications and expertise do they have? Are they a member of professional organisations such as BAAPS/BAPRAS?

  • Why? Understand what’s realistic. Your requirements, expectations and the limitations and benefits of different procedures are all important to understand.

  • What? Choose the most appropriate procedure or combination of procedures. What you think you need might not be the best route to achieving your goals. Your surgeon will be able to offer you expert advice and guidance on the best course of action.

  • Where? Safety and cleanliness is paramount. The environment for surgery is highly important for managing aftercare and reducing the risk of infection. Spire Hospitals have a strong national and international reputation and have medical and nursing back-up facilities.

  • How? Planning and execution of procedure and post op care.

Mr Iqbal is a highly experienced plastic surgeon who has been practicing since 2006 with the goal of providing the highest standards in cosmetic plastic surgery. He covers all aspects of cosmetic surgery including breast face and body.

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