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  You are at: Procedure info > Cosmetic surgery > Abdominoplasty

Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)
















tummy tuck can give a flat tummy


An abdominoplasty may be suitable if you have excess skin and/or fat around the tummy area. Ideally, you will have tried to lose as much as possible with dieting and exercise, and your weight will be stable. No matter how much you exercise, though, you may find that some of the tummy is resistant to change and this is when an abdominoplasty can help. Also, large weight loss can leave behind loose skin which can again be removed with an abdominoplasty.



The abdominal muscles are composed of two long strips that run from the chest to the pubic area. Occasionally, people may have a wide gap between these strips, and this can be addressed at the time of the abdominoplasty. The two strips of muscle are tightened together by stitching (rectus plication procedure), which gives a firm, flat appearance.

Stretch marks can also be removed at the time of the abdominoplasty, but only those at the lower part of the tummy can be removed. Generally, those above the level of the belly button will remain.


What are the different types of abdominoplasty?

There is the 'mini' and the 'full' or 'standard' abdominoplasty. The mini abdominoplasty is useful for people with only minor skin excess or lower abdominal excess, whilst the standard abdominoplasty is suitable for people with more excess tissue. Your surgeon will be able to advise which is best for you.


How is an abdominoplasty performed?abdominoplasty scars are often hidden

Usually, a standard abdominoplasty is performed through an incision made just above the pubic area and running across to near each hip (known as the 'bikini line'). This is very similar to the approach used for a Caesarian section. The tummy tissue is raised off the underlying muscles, the belly button is detached from the overlying skin, and any excess tissue is now removed (a 'mini' abdominoplasty does not need to reposition the belly button, and occasionally has a shorter scar). The abdominal muscles can then be checked and tightened if needed. The skin is then closed up. A hole in the skin is made for the belly button which is then re-attached in its new place.


Is it okay to get pregnant after an abdominoplasty?

Most surgeons will say that there are no risks to the baby if you decide to get pregnant after having had an abdominoplasty. As the pregnancy progresses, though, the abdominal muscles and skin will be stretched to allow for growth of the baby. This can completely undo the abdominoplasty procedure. For this reason, many surgeons advise that you wait until your family is complete before having a tummy tuck. You should discuss this issue carefully with your surgeon.


What risks are involved with having an abdominoplasty?

  • Residual bulges - the surgeon will try to get the abdomen looking as smooth and equal as possible, but occasionally small bulges can reappear. This is quite common at the ends of the scar, near the hip bone. If very pronounced, then these may need a further small procedure to correct them.

  • Loss of sensation - the nerves above the pubic area may be cut during this procedure, leaving a small patch of numbness above the pubic area. Whilst this may improve in time, a small patch of numbness may be permanent.

  • Wound healing problems - because the abdominal skin is quite taught after the procedure, the wound can sometimes take longer to heal, and can, rarely, lead to loss of skin.

  • Loss of belly button - sometimes, the belly button responds poorly to being moved, and can lose its blood supply. This will result in the belly button being replaced by scar tissue. It should be borne in mind, though, that the belly button is the scarred remnant of the umbilical cord, so being replaced by further scarring often leaves a very acceptable result.

  • Blood clots - this is a rare complication, but can be serious if it happens. Blood clots in the calf (Deep Vein Thrombosis) can cause leg swelling and pain. If the clots move to the lungs, then they can cause chest pain and even death.


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Any procedure involving skin incision can also result in unfavourable scarring, wound infection, or bleeding. This list of risks is not exhaustive, and you should discuss possible complications with your specialist. Whilst these risks will seem very worrysome, and indeed can be serious, it should also be borne in mind that many people have no postoperative problems whatsoever.

The information provided is for guidance only and you should discuss matters fully with your specialist before deciding if this is the right procedure for you. Please also read our disclaimer








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