Who, What, How: Abdominoplasty

We asked Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Mr David O’Donovan, to break down the basics of an abdominoplasty, or ‘tummy tuck’ procedure:
What is it?▫️A major surgery, including an incision running form hip to hip, to flatten the abdomen by removing extra fat and skin while tightening muscles in your abdominal wall.
Who should perform it?▫️A Consultant Plastic Surgeon.

Who is a suitable candidate?▫️A patient who is concerned, or in some cases consumed by, excess skin and fat around their middle, that is resistant to diet and exercise. Usually the result of normal physical changes such as childbirth, weight fluctuations or the natural ageing process, the patient should otherwise be at a stable weight for 6 to 12 months prior to surgery. A tummy tuck is not a replacement for weight loss so it’s important that you are at your desired weight in advance of the procedure.

How long do the results last?▫️An abdominoplasty is considered to be a permanent solution, in that the skin and fat cells removed cannot grow back and any internal sutures placed to repair stomach muscles are designed to remain in place indefinitely. However, significant weight fluctuations post-op can cause the remaining abdominal skin to lose additional elasticity and to sag again. Hence being at a weight that is manageable and sustainable for the patient prior to surgery is crucial to the long-term success of the procedure.

What is the downtime?▫️The immediate down-time is approximately three weeks to rest, recuperate and get back to day to day activities. However there should be no strenuous physical exertion or exercise for four to six weeks post-op, which includes carrying toddlers etc so careful planning is required! There may be redness, bruising, stiffness and swelling immediately post op, which will soon resolve. Many patients also experience temporary numbness or loss of sensation along the incision line but this will also slowly resolve. While you should be back to yourself after a couple of months it can take 6 months to a year for the stomach to finish healing and for the full results of the surgery to be seen.
Anything else you should know?▫️As with any surgical procedure, it is important that a prospective patient do their homework to fully understand both the potential positives and risks of the procedure. Research a Consultant Plastic Surgeon and his or her work, discuss the stringent recovery requirements and potential complications with them and decide if a tummy tuck is the right route for you.
Mini-abdominoplasties are also an option for patients who have excess skin below the navel. This procedure requires similar post-op downtime, with a shorter incision which is concealed below the bikini line.
If you would like to book a consultation with either of the Consultant Plastic Surgeons at the Institute, Mr David O’Donovan or Mr Richard Hanson, please get in touch with us at (01) 912 3030.