Surgical procedure which flattens and tightens your stomach muscles.
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) flattens your stomach by tightening your abdominal muscles and the aim is to give you a slimmer, shapelier figure - and a big confidence boost.
If you've been left with excess folds of skin after having a baby, losing a lot of weight quickly or simply due to the ageing process, you might be considering this operation.
Many women choose a tummy tuck because they feel self-conscious about the loose, excess skin which sometimes develops with age and after pregnancy. For most people, this operation is about regaining shape and feeling confident about your body again. In fact, it's best if you have achieved your target weight before having a tummy tuck as it is not a weight-loss procedure.
It's a relatively straightforward procedure that takes about two hours. You'll probably be discharged after one or two nights in hospital. You should be able to return to light activities within a couple of weeks.
If you decide to have your treatment with us, you will be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see and when you want. They’ll be with you every step of the way: from giving advice at your first consultation, through to offering on-going support after your surgery.
All of our cosmetic surgeons are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well equipped hospitals. A cosmetic surgeon’s reputation, qualifications and experience are vitally important, so we only work with consultant grade specialists. These are highly experienced consultants who have completed years of medical training. All our consultants are on the specialist register of the General Medical Council (GMC), and many are also members of the UK’s leading cosmetic and plastic surgery associations.
We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.
For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that surgery can be a cause of anxiety that’s why our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you every step of the way.
During the operation you will be put under a general anaesthetic. There are several types of tummy tuck and your doctor will help you choose the one that's right for you:
Suitable if you only have a little excess skin. Your surgeon will only need to make a small cut just above the pubic area to remove the excess skin and your belly button won't be disturbed. This usually takes about an hour.
This may be the best option if you only need to have the muscles of your abdominal wall tightened. Your surgeon will make small cuts and use special surgical instruments to tighten the muscles. This procedure usually takes around an hour.
This is the best option if you have a lot of excess skin. A cut will be made between the hips, fat may be removed using liposuction, your belly button will be freed and loose muscles pulled and stitched together. Sometimes the doctor will need to reconstruct your belly button and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. This usually takes around two hours.
Sometimes your surgeon may suggest liposuction in addition to the abdominoplasty. Where liposuction is performed in conjunction with any other cosmetic procedure, our policy is that we will remove no more than a maximum of 2000ml of aspirate (fat and fluid) from all areas combined. With the Fleur-de-Lys abdominoplasty (where a vertical as well as a horizontal incision is made), no liposuction can be performed.
The amount of scarring you are left with will depend on your skin type, overall health and the type of procedure you have but abdominal scars can normally be hidden well beneath the bikini line.
You will usually stay in hospital from one to four nights, though many people only need to stay in for a night.
You'll probably need to stay with us at least a night though sometimes people need to stay a little longer.
After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
You will feel some pain and swelling around your tummy immediately after the operation. This is normal and your symptoms should start to improve within a few weeks.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
Suffering from pain could slow down your recovery, so please discuss any discomfort with your doctors or nurses.
When you get home you’ll need to take things easy at first. Arrange at least a week off work and you should gradually be able to return to normal activity within four to six weeks. Light activity should be comfortable after around two weeks but you shouldn't do anything too active - like go to the gym or take an exercise class - for around six weeks.
You will be asked to keep your knees and hips bent when resting, to take the strain off the stitches. A corset will also help reduce pain and swelling in the first month.
There will be visible scars and you may feel that your tummy looks unnatural at first, but this is almost always temporary. Everyone is different but you should start to look and feel better within a few months. Your surgeon will talk to you about the results that are likely to be realistic for you and what you should expect after surgery.
Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive. You should also ask them if they can run some light errands, such as shopping and cleaning, as you won’t feel up to it at first.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. After a tummy tuck our consultants will typically want to see you after your procedure to see how you are doing, a date for an appointment will be made for you before you leave hospital.
On rare occasions, complications can occur following surgery. The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation you are having and other factors such as your general health. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
Spire Thames Valley Hospital is only a 10 minute drive from both the M4 and M40 motorways and we are less than half an hour from central London by train.
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