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Often, following pregnancies or weight loss, the tummy skin stretches and loses some of it’s elasticity. Even with a good diet and plenty of exercise, it is extremely difficult to turn back the clock and regain the figure you once had.  Cosmetic surgery may be worth considering if you feel that you are not achieving your desired goal.

Abdominoplasty is more commonly known of as a ‘tummy tuck’.  This surgery removes excess excess fat and loose skin on the tummy and also tightens the inner core muscles.  The skin and fat between the belly button and pubic area is removed and the belly button stalk is re-sited. This procedure differs from a mini tummy-tuck where the belly button remains in place and only a small excess skin and fat is removed in the pubic area (often above a C-section scar).  See mini tummy-tuck section for further information.

Choosing to have an abdomoniplasty (tummy tuck) could have a truly positive impact on many aspects of your life. Aside from making you feel much more comfortable going about your day to day life, you could have the flexibility to choose your clothes, underwear and swimwear in a completely new light.  The surgery can really change your life and increase your confidence.

What is involved in the procedure?

Once you have decided that ‘tummy-tuck’ surgery is the right path for you, we will arrange a date that suits you. The surgery is performed under general anaesthetic (with you asleep) and takes 2-3 hours.

An incision is made just above the pubic area, along the bikini line from one hip bone to the other.  If you have had previous Caesarean sections, part of the incision will be in the same area.  A second incision is usually made around the belly button to disconnect it from the underlying abdominal muscle wall.  Excess fat, tissue and skin are removed and cut away.  The rectus muscles are tightened, reducing the waistline, they are then re-positioned before being stitched back into place.  The skin is then re-draped over the tummy and stitched in place, positioning the belly button into it’s new position.

You will need to stay in hospital for 1 or 2 nights following surgery to ensure you are pain free and well rested before going home.  A special abdominal garment is fitted over the dressings and this should be worn for around 6 weeks day and night following surgery.  The aim of this garment is to reduce swelling and contour the tummy but should also help to reduce pain.

Time to Recover

During the first week of recovery, you will need plenty of rest and limited movement to allow your body to heal.  You will probably need to take 2 weeks off work or your normal busy routine.  You will be unable to drive for 2 weeks following surgery.  You will probably experience some bruising and swelling following the procedure, and you should take analgesics to help with the discomfort.  After one week you will return to hospital to have your dressings changed.  After surgery you will need to take it easy for up to 4 weeks, depending how well you have healed and how you feel.  After this time you can expect to return to your normal routines, including gentle exercise.  Full aerobic exercise can be resumed after 6 weeks.  It will probably take around a year for everything to settle down properly and for you to see the true results. 

Tummy tucks have an extremely positive reaction from patients who have undergone this surgery.  You may drop at least a dress size around your waist and abdomen and your swimwear and underwear will probably feel more comfortable. Hopefully your self esteem and overall confidence will increase alongside this.  And the best part is, as long as you continue to have a healthy lifestyle with a good diet and exercise, the results should last a very long time.

Available at HMT Sancta Maria, Spire Cardiff Hospital, Nuffield Health and BMI Werndale

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