Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty): Cost, Produce, Preparation, Complications

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty): Cost, Produce, Preparation, Complications


Are sit-ups just not giving you the taut tummy you desire? If you’ve got a little too much flab or excess skin in your abdomen that won’t diminish with diet or exercise, you may want to consider an abdominoplasty, popularly referred to as a tummy tuck. This procedure flattens your abdomen by removing extra fat and skin, and tightening muscles in your abdominal wall.

However, this is a major surgery, so if you’re considering it, please take the time to educate yourself, thoroughly analyze your own situation, and do not rush to make the final decision. A tummy tuck should be the last resort for people who have exhausted all other measures, and the procedure should not be used as an alternative to weight loss.

Who are the best candidates for a tummy tuck?


A tummy tuck is suitable for both men and women who are in good general health overall and are at a stable weight. It is best to be a non-smoker.A tummy tuck should not be confused with a liposuction (the cosmetic surgery used to remove fat deposits), although your surgeon may elect to perform liposuction as part of a tummy tuck. Women who have muscles and skin stretched by multiple pregnancies may find the procedure useful to tighten those muscles and reduce that skin. A tummy tuck is also an alternative for men or women who were obese at one point in their lives, and still have excessive fat deposits or loose skin in the abdominal area.

Who Should Not Consider a Tummy Tuck?


If you're a woman who plans to get pregnant, then you may want to postpone a tummy tuck until you're done having children. During surgery, your vertical muscles are tightened, and future pregnancies can separate those muscles.

Are you planning to lose a lot of weight? Then a tummy tuck also is not for you. A tummy tuck should be a last resort after you've tried everything else. It should not be used as an alternative to weight loss.
You should also consider the chance of scarring after a tummy tuck. You can talk about that possibility with the doctor before the surgery.

When should you avoid the surgery?


If you’re a woman who is still planning to have children, you may want to postpone a tummy tuck until you’re through bearing children. During surgery, your vertical muscles are tightened. Future pregnancies can separate these muscles and cause a hernia.

Are you still planning to lose a lot of weight? Then you do not want to consider a tummy tuck until your weight has stabilized.

It’s important to note that a tummy tuck causes scarring on the abdomen. This scar is usually long and might be prominent. If this is something you don’t want, you may want to reconsider. Your doctor will discuss all these options with you when you go for the consultation.

What happens during a tummy tuck?


This operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes between two and five hours.

Your surgeon may use one of several techniques:

  • Full abdominoplasty - is suitable if you have a lot of excess skin. Your surgeon will make a curved cut from one hip to the other. They will remove any excess skin and fat. Your surgeon will then cut under the skin above your umbilicus (belly button), pulling it downwards and tightening it. Sometimes they will need to reconstruct your umbilicus and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall.
  • Mini abdominoplasty - is suitable if you only have a little excess skin. Your surgeon will only need to make a small cut just above the pubic area to remove the excess skin.
  • Endoscopic abdominoplasty - is suitable if you only need to have the muscles of your abdominal wall tightened. Your surgeon will make small cuts and use special surgical instruments to tighten the muscles.

How is a tummy tuck done?


Depending on your desired results, this surgery can take anywhere from one to five hours. The complexity of your particular situation also will determine whether you have it completed as an in-patient or outpatient procedure. You will receive general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep during the operation. It’s important to have someone with you who can drive you home. If you live alone, you also will need someone to stay with you at least the first night after the surgery, if you’re sent home after the procedure.

Complete abdominoplasty


This option is for those patients who require the most correction. The incision will be made low on the abdomen, at about the same level as your pubic hair, and usually extends from hip bone to hip bone. Your surgeon will then manipulate and contour the skin and muscle as needed. You will have an incision around your belly button if you undergo this procedure, because it’s necessary to free your navel from surrounding tissue. Drainage tubes may be placed under your skin; these will be removed in a few days as your surgeon sees fit.

Partial or mini-abdominoplasty


You and your surgeon will discuss your desired results, and he or she will determine the appropriate procedure during your consultation. Mini-abdominoplasties are often performed on patients whose fat deposits are located below the navel and require shorter incisions. During this procedure, your belly button most likely will not be moved. Your skin will be separated between the line of incision and your belly button. This type of surgery may also be performed with an endoscope (small camera on the end of a tube). This procedure may only take up to two hours, again, depending on your own personal situation and the complexity of your needs. As with the complete abdominoplasty, you may have drainage tubes after surgery.

Circumferential abdominoplasty


This option includes the back region. When there is much excess fat in the back as well as the abdomen, you may have either liposuction of the back region or circumferential abdominoplasty.  The latter procedure allows for the removal of both skin and fat from the hip and back region as well, which improves the contour of your body three dimensionally.

Whether you’re having a partial or complete tummy tuck, your incision site will be stitched and bandaged. Your surgeon may have you wear an elastic bandage or compression garment after surgery. It’s very important that you follow all of your surgeon’s instructions on wearing this garment (if you are given one) and caring for the bandage in the days following surgery. Your surgeon will also instruct you on how to best position yourself while sitting or lying down to help ease pain.

If you are an exceptionally physically active person, know that you will have to severely limit strenuous exercise for 4 to 6 weeks. Your doctor will advise you on this as you go through the healing process. You may need to take up to one month off work after the surgery to ensure proper recovery. Again, your doctor will help you determine this based on your personal situation.

How to Prepare for Tummy Tuck Surgery


The first step is to choose a surgeon and see him or her for a consultation. At that meeting, you'll talk about your goals and the following options:

If you smoke, your doctor will ask that you quit smoking from at least two weeks before the surgery until two weeks after the surgery. It is not enough to just cut down on smoking. You must stop completely since smoking makes complications more likely and slows healing.

  • Complete abdominoplasty. The surgeon will cut your abdomen from hipbone to hipbone and then contour the skin, tissue, and muscle as needed. The surgery will involve moving your belly button, and you may need drainage tubes under your skin for a few days.
  • Partial or mini abdominoplasty. Mini-abdominoplasties are often done on people whose fat deposits are located below the navel. During this procedure, the surgeon most likely will not move your belly button, and the procedure may only take up to two hours, depending on your case.

If you smoke, your doctor will ask that you quit smoking from at least two weeks before the surgery until two weeks after the surgery. It is not enough to just cut down on smoking. You must stop completely since smoking makes complications more likely and slows healing.

Don't try a drastic diet before the surgery. Eat well-balanced, complete meals. A healthy diet may help you heal better.

Tell your doctor about everything you take, including prescription drugs, herbal medicines, and other supplements. Your surgeon may instruct you to stop taking certain medications for a time before and after the surgery.

Before getting the surgery, get your home ready. You'll need:
  • Ice packs
  • Loose, comfortable clothing that can be put on and off very easily
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Hand-held shower head and bathroom chair
You'll also need someone to drive you home after the tummy tuck. If you live alone, you'll want someone to stay with you for at least the first night. Make a plan for that.

What Are the Complications and Side Effects of Tummy Tuck Surgery?


As expected, you will have pain and swelling in the days following surgery. Your doctor can prescribe a painkiller if needed and will instruct you on how to best handle the pain. Soreness may last for several weeks or months.

You may also experience numbness, bruising and overall tiredness for that same time period.

As with any surgery, there are risks. Remember, this surgery affects a very crucial part of your body. Though they're rare, complications can include infection, bleeding under the skin flap or blood clots. You may carry an increased risk of complications if you have poor circulation, diabetes or heart, lung or liver disease.

You may experience insufficient healing, which can cause more significant scarring or loss of skin. If you do heal poorly, you may require a second surgery.

As we mentioned before, the scars from a tummy tuck are fairly prominent and though they may fade slightly, they will never completely disappear. Your surgeon may recommend certain creams or ointments to use after you've completely healed to help with the scars.

Taking Care of Yourself After Surgery


Whether you're having a partial or complete tummy tuck, the area that's operated on will be stitched and bandaged. It's very important to follow all your surgeon's instructions on how to care for the bandage in the days following surgery. The bandage used will be a firm, elastic band that promotes proper healing. Your surgeon will also instruct you on how to best position yourself while sitting or lying down to help ease pain.
You will have to severely limit strenuous activity for at least six weeks. You may need to take up to one month off work after the surgery to ensure proper recovery. Your doctor will advise you on what you need to do or not do.

Tummy Tuck Surgery Costs 


The cost of tummy tuck surgery may be more affordable than you think. To find out more about the cost of treatment, complete the form on the right and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Our surgery prices are inclusive of all costs and have no hidden surprises. 

You have the option to pay for your procedure as a one off payment or if preferred, you may be eligible for a loan. 

We are confident that the price for your treatment at Nuffield Health will be competitive and we are proud to deliver outstanding clinical care at a fair price. 

Does Insurance Cover a Tummy Tuck?


Insurance companies generally do not cover cosmetic surgery that's done without a medical reason. Yours might if you have a hernia that will be corrected through the procedure.

Before you decide whether to get a tummy tuck, contact your insurance company so you're clear on what's covered and what's not. If you think you can make a case that you need the procedure for medical reasons, your surgeon may be able to help you by writing a letter to your insurer.