Abdominoplasty, commonly known as tummy tuck, helps correct problems with the abdominal skin and offers benefits beyond the cosmetic. It is a procedure that removes excess abdominal skin, reduces fat, and repairs the muscles of the abdominal wall. Besides achieving a more contoured body profile, there are other conditions of varying severity that may require a tummy tuck:
Women who had multiple pregnancies or large babies
A growing fetus stretches the skin, muscles and lining of the abdominal wall. When internal fibers tear, stretch marks appear in different colours – red, dark brown and white – which are often noticeable and unsightly. Abdominoplasty can improve the appearance of stretch marks, especially those located below the navel. Pregnancy may also cause the rectus abdominis muscle (also called ‘abs’) to stretch or even split apart. With no muscle protection, a sausage-shaped bulge appears in the abdomen. In more severe cases, the weakened muscles, when strained, can result in herniation and protrusion of the gut. No amount of exercise can restore the muscles to their original condition. But with abdominoplasty, muscles that have been separated and weakened can be tightened.
People who undergone massive and rapid weight loss
Accelerated and substantial weight loss may cause the abdominal skin to become flaccid. Although fat has disappeared, the skin has lost its elasticity. A tummy tuck can help women and men remove excess loose abdominal skin and fat that is hanging over the pubic area, commonly termed as an ‘apron’. This procedure may also be suitable for those who have undergone liposuction.
People with misshaped belly button
Circumstances in which the belly button may require reshaping include gaining and subsequently losing a lot of weight, wrinkles and scars from previous abdominal surgery or piercings, and umbilical hernias that occurred during pregnancy or after childbirth. During a tummy tuck, the belly button’s size, shape and location can be changed while the stomach wall is strengthened. A part of the original belly button is preserved and used to recreate a new one.
A skilful surgeon is able to make incisions in locations that can be concealed by undergarments and bathing suits. Despite cases of normal pregnancies after a tummy tuck, you are advised to complete your family before that.
Abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia. Patients usually stay in hospital for three to five days, with recovery typically taking two weeks to two months. During this period, patients should wear compression garment to minimise swelling and limit strenuous activity.
Results depend on an individual’s condition, but a tummy tuck will generally make your abdomen firmer and flatter permanently, unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight, or become pregnant. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help maintain the results.