Abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” is a surgical procedure to tighten the skin and muscles of the abdomen
Age, weight fluctuation and pregnancy can all contribute to a loss of abdominal shape and a bulging waist. Excess fat tissue can contribute to this, and diet and exercise can help in these cases. But there are many situations where this will not solve the problem.
Loose stretched skin is often part of the problem in unshapely tummies. Separation of the muscles in the abdominal midline (“divarication of the rectus muscles”) also contributes to the tummy bulging, especially after pregnancy. The separation of these muscles weakens the internal ring or girdle of muscles that produce a tight waist. In these cases diet and exercise will not solve the problem, as the skin does not tighten into its original shape and the muscles in the midline do not come back together. Abdominoplasty may be able to help.
The kind of problems that abdominoplasty can help
- an unsightly sagging or bulging of the tummy, especially after having children or significant weight loss
- a failure to improve tummy contour despite weight loss and exercise
- thrush and sweatiness at the waist line
- having difficulty in finding clothes that fit the tummy well
Abdominoplasty may be able to help you get back to the shape and abdominal strength you are aiming for.
Abdominoplasty is an operation to improve the abdominal contour, and not primarily to help weight loss. The operation is more complicated (but may still be possible) in patients who have major scars crossing the upper part of their tummy, in smokers and some diabetics. These issues will be discussed during your consultation.
During your consultation, our surgeons will listen to your concerns and goals. While abdominoplasty is a safe and commonly performed operation, the consultation will be performed with sensitivity to your opinions and thoughtfulness to your concerns. Any additional health problems that might affect your treatment will be identified. An examination of your body shape and tummy will follow. Clinical pictures and measurements will be used to help assess your shape.
We will then discuss the best course of action to address your concerns. Written information will be provided to you, so that you can consider your options. A tummy tuck is a major operation, so a second consultation to discuss the advice you are given is recommended.
Abdominoplasty is a spectrum of operations and can include liposuction, limited abdominoplasty (removal of a small amount of skin and fat) or a total abdominoplasty (tightening of the abdominal muscle wall and removal of skin and fat). Dr Kotronakis and Dr Sanki are both highly experienced in each of these operations.
Tummy tucks are performed under a general anaesthetic with the additional use of local anaesthetic to control your pain post-operatively. The scar line will sit along the full length of the abdominal crease, just below the “bikini line”, so it can be hidden under swimwear. When a large amount of skin is removed there will also be a scar around your belly button. These scars usually eventually fade to thin pale lines.
Abdominoplasty is a major procedure, so we usually recommend some time in hospital after surgery. Most patients spend 3-6 nights in hospital after their operation. This gives you the best chance for a comfortable, safe recovery and a great result.
You can usually use your private health insurance for an abdominoplasty. It usually pays for all your operating theatre and hospital costs, including the post operative stay. Medicare and your private insurance may also contribute to the doctors’ bills. Call your health fund and see if you are covered. The Medicare Benefits Schedule codes that are likely to be used are 30165, 30174 or 30177, depending on which tummy tuck is right for you.
A tummy tuck may sound simple but it is real surgery, and should be performed with sophisticated surgical technique for the safest and best results. It carries real risks, and as such should be considered carefully.
We recommend that the procedure is only ever performed in an accredited hospital. We also recommend that you carefully consider your choice of surgeon. Unfortunately doctors without surgical qualifications beyond their medical degree are allowed to perform surgery. Your surgeon should be appropriately qualified with at least a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS), which means that they have specialist surgical training. FRACS is the standard qualification required in Australia to perform surgery in private and public hospitals.
Members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons have a FRACS and specialised training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, including tummy tucks.
Our surgeons, Dr Amira Sanki and Dr Ilias Kotronakis are fully qualified Plastic Surgeons. They are both Australian University trained, having received Honours degrees in their medical schools. They both have FRACS qualifications as Specialist Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and are members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. They both have extensive experience and training in abdominoplasty, including the most advanced and up to date techniques. They are committed to giving their patients the safest and best treatment available.