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Tummy Tuck

Even if you have achieved your target number on the scale, you may not be entirely satisfied with the appearance of your stomach. The abdominal region can be challenging to restore after pregnancy or weight fluctuations, leaving you with what seems to be a permanent pooch around the middle. A tummy tuck, also referred to as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that sculpts and tones the midsection for a slimmer body contour. The surgery reduces protruding fat and excess skin to flatten the abdomen and create a sleeker look overall. It may also remove stretch marks from the lower part of the abdominal area, depending on the technique used.

Tummy tucks are particularly popular with women after pregnancy or men and women after significant weight fluctuations. However, they can also be done to put the finishing touches on your weight loss program or to combat the natural ageing process. Dr Damon Thomas offers tummy tucks through the Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery, providing his patients with ample options in body contouring to help them achieve all their aesthetic goals.

Candidates for Tummy Tuck Surgery

The best candidates for a tummy tuck are those that have one or more of the following issues:

  • Excess, loose skin around the middle due to pregnancy or significant weight loss
  • A protruding abdomen that is interfering with the overall body contour
  • Isolated pockets of fat around the middle that will not respond to diet or exercise
  • Stretch marks across the lower portion of the abdomen; a common by-product of pregnancy or weight fluctuations
  • Clothing that does not fit as well due to excess skin and tissue in the tummy area

A tummy tuck is usually recommended for patients that have achieved a stable weight and are in reasonably good health. This procedure may be performed alone or in conjunction with other procedures, such as a lower body lift or liposuction.

Dr Thomas recommends a tummy tuck for patients that have achieved a stable weight and are in reasonably good health. Smokers should not undergo this surgery unless they are willing to stop smoking for six weeks before and six weeks after the operation. This procedure may be performed alone or in conjunction with others, such as a lower body lift or liposuction. Women often request this surgery in tandem with breast enhancement to help restore their pre-pregnancy bodies once they are finished having children.

About the Procedure

Dr Thomas performs tummy tucks under general anaesthesia and patients typically spend a few days in the hospital recuperating after surgery. An incision is made across the lower abdomen so that underlying muscles can be tightened and excess skin and tissue removed. Incisions are strategically placed so that post-operative scarring is well-hidden beneath clothing and bathing suits. Liposuction may also be used during the procedure to remove isolated deposits of fat cells for a smoother result.

Dr Thomas also performs the Mini-abdominoplasty on patients who have less skin excess and which to achieve an improved abdominal contour with minimal scarring.

Options in Abdominoplasty

Dr Thomas performs abdominoplasty one of two ways, depending on the level of correction required by his patients:

Mini abdominoplasty can be performed when there is not a significant amount of loose skin or stretch marks to remove. This procedure uses smaller incisions to eliminate stubborn fat and tissue while tightening up the underlying abdominal muscles to create a leaner, more sculpted appearance. The smaller incisions mean less scarring after surgery, as well as a shorter, more comfortable recovery process in most cases.

Full or traditional abdominoplasty is advised when the patient has considerable skin laxity interfering with the overall body contour. While the incision for this surgery is more extensive than a mini tummy tuck, it allows for the additional correction that may be required to achieve optimal results. The incision will run inside the panty line from hipbone to hipbone to allow for removal of more tissue as well as redundant skin. The navel may be repositioned during this procedure to ensure a natural, proportionate outcome. Results of a full tummy tuck are both dramatic and long-lasting.

Surgery Details

Dr Thomas performs tummy tucks under general anaesthesia, and patients typically spend a few days in the hospital recuperating from surgery. An incision is made across the lower abdomen so that underlying muscles can be tightened, and excess skin and tissue can be removed. Incisions are strategically placed so that post-operative scarring is well hidden underneath clothing and bathing suits. The procedure may take a few hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the procedure.

Liposuction is often performed simultaneously with a tummy tuck to remove isolated areas of fat through gentle suction action. By incorporating liposuction into the tummy tuck process, Dr Thomas can create a more sculpted appearance that has a high satisfaction rate with his patients. Liposuction can also be used during a mini tummy tuck to enhance the results as well. Liposuction does not add incisions or recovery time to the operation, but the addition of this step offers superior outcomes for patients.

See Before and Afters

What to Expect after Surgery

Tummy tuck patients will need some bed rest after surgery to recuperate and allow the abdomen ample time to heal fully. Drainage tubes may be inserted into the incision for a day or two to minimise fluid build-up and possible infection after the procedure. Compression garments may also be used to reduce swelling and promote healthy recovery to the area. Oral pain medication will be offered to ensure patients remain comfortable in the early days after the procedure.

Patients will be encouraged to do some light walking in the first few days to stimulate blood flow and healing of the body. You will also receive instructions on how to care for your incision properly in the weeks after surgery to protect it from infection and ensure it heals well to minimise visible scarring afterward.

Most patients are back to light activities within two to three weeks after their surgery. However, strenuous activity will not likely be resumed for six to eight weeks, to prevent possible complications. Full results of the procedure can typically be seen around six months, once the body heals and swelling subsides completely. Results of a tummy tuck are considered long-lasting as long as you keep a healthy weight after surgery. Pregnancy and weight fluctuations can alter the outcome and may necessitate additional treatment to maintain your positive appearance.

A tummy tuck offers dramatic results in body contouring for those that have experienced significant weight loss or simply want to achieve a firmer, leaner body profile. While the investment of a tummy tuck is more extensive than other surgeries, particularly when it comes to the recovery process, the rewards can be worth the extra time needed. Dr Thomas has extensive experience in tummy tuck procedures and will ensure your surgery is customised to your needs to produce the best possible results for you. To learn more about your tummy tuck options, contact Dr Thomas’s office today on 03 9508 9508.

Dr Damon Thomas