You will derive the most benefit from a tummy tuck if you have loose abdominal skin and/or there is an element of sagging skin which forms an overhang over your pelvic bone. In addition, if you have lots of stretch marks, recently lost a large amount of weight or you have an abdominal bulge, a tummy tuck procedure may be more appropriate for you. Localised areas of fat with good overlying skin can often be served well with liposculpture alone. The most appropriate option for you will be discussed at your free no-obligation consultation.
A full tummy tuck will entail liposculpture of three areas: the upper abdomen, lower abdomen and the flanks. Excess skin will then be removed from the lower abdomen and tightening of the underlying muscles will be performed. This results in a very smooth and flat abdomen. A mini tummy tuck can also be performed. The skin incision is shorter, and no muscle tightening is performed. This procedure is only suitable for tightening of the lower abdomen.
After pregnancy and childbirth, the abdominal muscles stretch out from the growth of the baby. This also happens if you were previously overweight or obese and have lost a lot of weight. In both these scenarios, the muscles will still remain separated in the middle leading to bulging out that liposuction alone cannot address fully. In these cases, the underlying muscle needs to be tightened. The coverings over the muscles, called the fascia, is sewn together in the midline. This flattens and strengthens your abdominal muscles and result in a very smooth and flat tummy. The muscles are not injured in any way. This is the only technique available to address the bulging caused by the separated muscles.
Firstly, anaesthetic fluids are injected into the tissues to fully numb the areas, and decrease bleeding. The risk of infection is also much reduced using this technique. Liposuction is then performed to reduce the fat in the abdomen and sides. The excess skin in the lower part of the abdomen is measured by stretching down this part. This excess skin is removed. The underlying muscles are then tightened to flatten the stomach area. Finally, the skin is sewn together in as low a position as possible, within the bikini line. This gives a very flat and smooth appearance. The resulting incision is nicely hidden in the bikini line.
You will be able to leave the clinic 30-60mins after your procedure. Most patients are back to low-intensity activities within 5-7 days after a tummy tuck, regardless of whether it is a full or mini tummy tuck. After 7 days, your activity levels will begin to increase more rapidly. Gym work can commence 4-6 weeks after the procedure. You will not be ‘stooping’ like with some of the older techniques for performing tummy tucks. Most of our patients can go back to sedentary type work within 5-7 days after a tummy tuck, regardless of whether it is a mini or a full tummy tuck. No longer is your recovery 6-8 weeks like some of the old tummy tuck procedures. With our new method, recovery is rapid. After a week you start doing more activities and you should be back at all your normal activities, including lifting weights, around 4-6 weeks after the procedure. Most of our patients are not severely “bent over” after the procedure like one has seen with some of the older techniques.
Mini tummy tucks can be performed using tumescent anaesthesia with mild oral sedation. However, a full tummy tuck usually requires the patient to be asleep for the procedure. IV sedation with tumescent anaesthesia is used for full tummy tucks, you will be asleep during the procedure. Compared with full general anaesthesia, recovery is much quicker and smoother with this technique. The risk of postoperative nausea and vomiting is much reduced with tumescent anaesthesia and IV sedation when compared with full general anaesthesia.
The risks and potential complications from the tummy tuck procedure are much reduced using the techniques we employ. Tumescent anaesthesia markedly reduces the risk of infections occurring due to anti-bacterial nature of the anaesthetic solution. The risk of infection is also reduced with taking antibiotics before, during and after the procedure for maximum protection against infection developing. The healing process can be impaired with smoking. We, therefore, advise all prospective patients to quit smoking at least 4 weeks prior to the procedure and for 4 weeks after the procedure. Of course, we would recommend total cessation of smoking for the best results.
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