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ABDOMINOPLASTY (TUMMY TUCK)

Abdominoplasty over Liposuction

Many people suffer from a surplus of subcutaneous fat on their abdomen. Liposuction as a stand-alone procedure can sometimes address this. However, when there is also excess skin an abdominoplasty gives a much better result.

The skin’s elasticity varies considerably on different parts of the body, which means that following weight loss or pregnancy, patients can be left with excess skin in some areas. As you age, the skin also loses elasticity, while the muscles lose tone and stretch. This can result in excess, loose skin on the tummy area, or even an “apron” of skin that hangs over the lower abdomen. This can make people feel very self-conscious, and they can find that they avoid fitted or revealing clothing and activities where the body is more exposed, such as sport and swimming. In some cases, if the skin develops deep creases and folds, these areas can be prone to irritation, rashes and infections.

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Reasons For A Tummy Tuck

Most patients who are considering tummy tuck procedures do so because they have unattractive, stretched skin that hangs loosely from their abdomen following pregnancy or significant weight loss. Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty procedures are designed to remove excess fat and to tighten the loose skin and muscles of the abdomen in order to improve the shape of the tummy area. The aim is to restore a more streamlined profile. The procedure can also result in the removal of stretch marks in lower tummy area, due to the removal of excess skin.

Tummy tucks are not suitable if a patient is planning future pregnancies. Neither are they suitable as a treatment for obesity, as the amount of actual weight loss is usually quite small. Surgery candidates normally need to be in good health and relatively fit to undergo the procedure.

A tummy tuck is sometimes combined with other procedures. For example it can be performed at the same time as a breast lift or breast augmentation. Men who have lost a significant amount of weight may combine a tummy tuck with gynecomastia surgery.

The Surgery

Broadly speaking, there two types of tummy tucks. A 'full' tummy tuck targets both above and below the belly button and involves repositioning the belly button itself, while a 'mini' tummy tuck targets the area below the belly button. If the excess of fat and skin continues around to the back the best result is achieved by a circumferential abdominoplasty.

On the day of your procedure, you will arrive at the hospital fasting. Before the surgery you will meet with your surgeon again and he/she will mark the surgical site. An abdominoplasty is normally performed under a full general anaesthetic. The incision is made horizontally below the bikini line. If a patient has a certain degree of muscle laxity, it may be necessary to perform muscle repair as well as skin tightening. Excess fat deposits would usually mean that the surgery should be combined with liposuction to achieve the best results and this would be the standard approach at the Aesthetic Institute

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After Surgery

As it major surgery, most patients who undergo abdominoplasty procedures require at least one nights stay in hospital. They are taken care of by professionals with extensive experience of this surgical procedure. Often drains are inserted under the abdominal flap for the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery, but these are usually removed before discharge. You will need to wear an elastic support garment following the procedure for several weeks to several months. On discharge you will be given an appointment for your first post-operative visit to the Aesthetic Institute, but patients are welcome to contact us before that if they have any concerns.

Pain and discomfort following the procedure can be significant and is usually managed with medication, particularly for the first 48 hours to a week. Patients will usually find their posture and movement are restricted or 'tight' at this time too, and they will need help with basic tasks. Stitches are normally removed after 10 days. Until then you should remain relaxed and well rested. While recovery times vary from patient to patient, most can resume gentle activities a few days after their operation. More vigorous activities such as swimming or going to the gym can normally be resumed after 6 weeks, though this can sometimes take up to several months.

The end result is normally a flat, firm and well-shaped abdomen. The final result is best assessed after 6 months. Remember that the result vary between individuals and depends on the elasticity of the skin and hereditary factors.

Here you can view some 'Before & After' pictures of patients who have had abdominoplasty procedures.

What does it cost?

The overall cost of an abdominoplasty depends on a number of factors including how extensive the surgery will be, and if the procedure is part of a combination procedure.

You can read more about our prices for different procedures and treatments here.

If you have any questions about abdominoplasty which were not addressed here, or if you would like to book a consultation with the consultant plastic surgeon to discuss treatment options for you, please call 01 491 5738, email info@aestheticinstitute.ie or complete our Enquiry Form.