Abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” addresses skin excess, fatty tissue excess and muscle weakness that may occur with age, after childbirth or after weight loss.
Two consultations are required to take a full medical history and perform a thorough examination. The contribution of skin, fatty tissue and muscle weakness is assessed. Hernias are commonly associated and these are also addressed. Dr Kippen will not operate unless smoking and nicotine patches have been stopped for 4 weeks. Stable weight is also important as weight gain or loss will affect the outcome.
The procedure involves excising most of the skin and fatty tissue between the umbilicus (belly button) and the pubic hairline. Leaving the belly button in its position allows dissection up to the rib cage. The tummy muscles are then repositioned and tightened.
Skin and fatty tissue is then sutured closed. A new belly button is made and the original belly button pulled through on its stalk. Careful stitching closes the incision. Plastic drainage tubes are used. Any hernias are repaired.
The resultant scar, which may be curved or “w” shaped, is long and runs from hip to hip. A catheter or bladder drainage tube is used overnight as walking to the bathroom on the first night may be difficult. By having a pillow under the knees and lifting the back of the bed, a comfortable position is maintained. A binder or tight garment helps reduce pain, swelling and bruising. Hospital stay is usually 3-5 days.
Walking and sitting is encouraged the day after surgery. After discharge help will be needed at home; however, by two weeks most activities of daily living can been completed. Return to all work is usually at about 2-4 weeks and sedentary work at about 2 weeks is common. Gradual, graded and gentle exercise can be started by 4-6 weeks. To help swelling and bruising a binder garment is worn for 6 weeks.
A risk of bleeding, bruising and infection occurs with all surgery. Some numbness may occur in the lower abdomen. This usually decreases with time yet there may be a permanent area that remains. Wound healing problems, suture cysts and small blisters associated with dressings may occur.
A seroma is a collection of body fluid which can accumulate in abdominoplasties. This is drained by a needle passed into the collection and may need to be repeated until it settles. The compression garment will prevent this accumulation.
This is a brief introduction. At the time of consultation, Dr Kippen will give a far more comprehensive explanation of the procedure and likely recovery. He will give you brochures to read as well as showing before and after photographs.
You should read the information presented here in conjunction with the information contained on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the website.
View our before and after images regarding this procedure.