Explaining tummy tuck surgery

Many of us struggle to achieve the stomach shape we want, however much we exercise and diet. KIMS Hospital Consultant Oliver Harley discusses a popular surgical alternative …

Tummy tucks aim to restore a more youthful, toned tummy which has been affected by ageing, pregnancy and weight loss that all take their toll on your shape, especially around the waist and hips. It will also remove many stretch marks below the navel.  Skin laxity and extra fat contribute to the heavy abdomen and hips making it difficult to wear the clothes you want and sometimes contributing to lower back pain or poor posture.

An abdominoplasty or tummy-tuck is a surgical procedure to remove fat and excess loose skin to improve shape of the tummy. There are two types of procedure, a ‘mini’ and a full tummy-tuck, both of which typically require a general anaesthetic.

In the majority of cases a tummy tuck is not available on the NHS. You don’t have to be referred by your GP, you can contact KIMS directly to make an appointment or attend one of our free health days for an initial discussion with one of our consultants.

At your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss fully what you hope surgery will achieve, any concerns and questions you may have and your consultant will recommend which is the most appropriate procedure.

A woman will be advised against having a tummy tuck if she is planning to have another baby at a later date, as this will stretch the skin once again. It is therefore better to wait until your family is complete before you go ahead with surgery.  Tummy-tuck is not recommended for people who are significantly overweight, it is principally for people who have folds on the tummy which are difficult to lose despite reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

I tell all of my patients that they should spend time gathering as much information as they can before deciding to undergo any surgical procedure. It is of course worth noting that a tummy-tuck is a relatively straight-forward procedure for the many thousands of patients who undergo this type of surgery each year. It can make such a significant difference, especially where exercise alone has not managed to reduce all the fat from the tummy area, or where the skin and muscles have been stretched so far that they will not be able to return to their normal shape.

A mini tummy-tuck involves an incision being made across the lower abdomen. The excess fat and skin is cut away and then the skin is stitched back together. A full tummy tuck involves a similar procedure with a second incision made to free the tummy button, which is stitched back into place once the tummy skin has been reshaped.

Typically you can go home on the day of surgery or the following morning.  Stitches are all hidden under the skin and this avoids the need for removal and provides the neatest possible scar.  You will also be required to wear a supportive after-surgery garment for comfort and to help give you the best possible body shape after your operation.  You will immediately notice a dramatic improvement in your shape but there is some swelling of the tissues after surgery so it is several months until the full results are seen.

It is usually possible to combine tummy tuck with other operations; liposuction, breast augmentation for example.

So if you would like to achieve a more silhouetted and natural looking shape, don’t delay. For a consultation, call us on 01622 237 726 or email enquiries@kims.org.uk