2 – 3 hours
The abdominoplasty, commonly known as the tummy tuck, is a popular cosmetic surgery procedure as it is highly effective at removing excess skin, tightening the abdominal muscles and restoring a flatter, smoother stomach.
Whether the result of ageing, rapid weight loss, yo-yo dieting or pregnancy, many men and women are less than satisfied with the appearance of their abdomen. Sagging skin and lax muscle tone that won’t respond to diet and exercise can all be addressed with a tummy tuck. Mr Juling Ong can tailor the procedure depending on your unique requirements; surgery can address a small degree of sagging skin, a pouch under the belly button or tighten and recontour the entire abdomen.
Mr Juling Ong will often combine a tummy tuck with liposuction to achieve optimal results. Women that have experienced changes to the body as a result of pregnancy or breastfeeding may benefit from a breast uplift combined with a tummy tuck.
During your tummy tuck consultation with Mr Juling Ong, he will review your medical history as well as examine you physically. As well as assessing the amount of sagging skin, it’s also important to determine if the abdominal muscles have been stretched as they will need to be tightened to achieve a taut and flat abdomen.
He will then discuss the various options, whether full, mini or extended, and discuss what it is possible to achieve and any possible risks and complications before you make the decision to proceed. Scarring is an important consideration in a tummy tuck procedure as it typically extends from hip bone to hip bone, although Mr Ong will position it low on the abdomen and it is usually well hidden in underwear or swimwear.
The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and can take between two and three hours. The incision is made across the abdomen, and then the skin is lifted to allow Mr Ong to tighten and repair the abdominal muscles. Excess skin is then trimmed away so the abdomen appears flat and smooth. If the belly button needs to be moved to a new position, a new opening is created.
During a full tummy tuck, the whole length of the abdomen up to the ribs is addressed. Often it is only the area below the belly button that needs to be addressed in a procedure often known as a mini tummy tuck. Often very slim and toned women have a pouch below the naval that is resistant to diet and exercise. Women who have undergone a Caesarean section often find this difficult to address. Typically, the belly button does not need to be moved and Mr Ong will remove excess skin and tighten the recti muscles in the lower abdomen.
In an extended tummy tuck, the incision usually extends beyond the hip bones to include some of the love handle area on the flanks. This allows for more tissue to be removed and further contouring of the waist. This is often required for patients that have experienced massive weight loss and have been left with significant extra skin.
Sometimes excess skin needs to be removed, leaving a midline scar as well in addition to the scar from an extended tummy tuck. This is called a ‘fleur de lis’ abdominoplasty and may be recommended in patients who have undergone massive weight loss.
Patients typically take two weeks off work to recover. Although it’s important to rest in the first 48 hours after surgery, Mr Ong will advise you to gradually increase your activity levels as it helps to promote recovery. More strenuous activity and exercise should be avoided for eight weeks after surgery to the abdomen. Mr Juling Ong will provide comprehensive advice on your recovery process and you will have a series of follow-up appointments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a good candidate for a tummy tuck?
If you are fit and well, but have loose, sagging skin and stretched or lax abdominal muscles, then a tummy tuck can be an effective option as this will rarely improve through diet and exercise alone.
It is important to understand that a tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure although small pockets of stubborn fat can be removed with liposuction at the same time to achieve the optimal results. It is essential you are at or near your ideal body weight which you are able to maintain after surgery as it is possible to stretch the skin further if you put on weight in the future.
Is there a right time to undergo a tummy tuck?
Women often find that pregnancy stretches the muscles and skin on the abdomen, and it doesn’t return to normal after they’ve given birth. Mr Juling Ong usually recommends you wait until a year after you’ve given birth before you undergo surgery. It is possible to get pregnant after a tummy tuck and if you are careful in terms of weight gain, the stomach should return to how it looked after abdominoplasty surgery.
If you’ve experienced extreme weight fluctuations that have left you with sagging skin and an untoned abdomen, then it’s important to reach your ideal weight and maintained it, so Mr Ong can achieve the optimal outcome. Further weight loss or gains after surgery will affect your results.
How long does it take to recover from a tummy tuck?
Each patient is unique and the amount of time it takes to recover from an abdominoplasty also depends on the type of procedure that was performed, whether that’s a full or mini tummy tuck and whether it was combined with other procedures.
Generally, though, patients are off work for at least two weeks and Mr Juling Ong will advise you wear a compression garment for at least six weeks. Although you will be advised to start moving around as soon as possible after surgery as it helps with recovery, you should avoid strenuous exercise for eight weeks after. Driving after an abdominoplasty is not recommended for a few weeks after surgery.
Pain and discomfort are moderate and is usually well managed with over-the-counter pain medication.