Abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a ‘tummy tuck’, is a surgical procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen. It is a very popular cosmetic surgery procedure, and can dramatically improve the size and shape of the abdomen. Abdominoplasty has always been a very popular procedure, with more than 40,000 operations performed each year.
In addition to removing the surplus skin and fat, other procedures may be added as required, including:
The very best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are generally in good health, but who are concerned about either loose skin or a large fat paunch over their abdomen. The most common clinical situations are:
There are several technical variations on the general principle of abdominoplasty. Read on to learn about these variations.
In this form of abdominoplasty, the surgeon removes all the skin and fat from between the pubic bone and the umbilicus. This leaves the umbilicus itself in place. However, in drawing the skin at the level of the umbilicus down to the pubic level, the umbilicus must be brought through the new skin lying over it. Consequently, this form of tuck results in a long curved scar at the pubic level, along with a circular scar around the umbilicus. The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia, and may take up to three hours to perform. Drains may be used, and patients remain in hospital for at least one night.
In a modified abdominoplasty, only the excess skin above the pubic bone is removed. In this case, the umbilicus remains undisturbed. The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia, takes sixty to ninety minutes, and is occasionally done as a day case. However, most patients stay in hospital overnight
Apronectomy is a form of modified mini-tuck, in which the patient has a large excess of skin and fat (the apron) hanging down over the pubic area and genitals. It is this surplus of tissue that is removed. Again, the umbilicus is undisturbed. The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia, taking up to two hours to perform.
In this more radical extensive procedure, the incision is continued around the waist and onto the back. Surplus skin and fat are removed from this wider area around the flanks, resulting in a longer scar. As with the standard abdominoplasty (of which this is a modification), the umbilicus must be brought through the skin, resulting in a scar around it. The procedure is again performed under general anaesthesia, and may take more than three to five hours to perform, especially as the patient has to be turned. Patients remain in hospital for at least one night.
In this procedure, the surgeon uses an endoscope to tighten the abdominal wall muscles. It is generally best suited to younger patients who may have only a moderate degree of muscle laxity, small localised fat deposits in the lower abdomen, and only a minimal amount of surplus skin.