Have you always dreamed of one day getting back that flat, taut stomach you had as a young adult?
Our bodies endure a lot in a lifetime, and amongst pregnancy, childbirth, weight changes, and general ageing, it’s not unusual to experience confidence issues, particularly as your midsection starts to change.
Tummy tuck surgery is a popular cosmetic surgery procedure that helps restore that youthful look by tightening the abdominal walls and removing excess, sagging skin from the stomach.
The result? A smoother, firmer stomach, and restored body confidence.
Thinking about tummy tuck surgery? Here are some things you should know, courtesy of Dr Isolde Hertess and the Cairns Plastic Surgery team.
What exactly is a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck is a type of plastic surgery procedure designed to give you a flatter stomach, remove loose skin and tighten a weak abdomen.
As excess skin is removed, stretch marks may be removed, too. However, tummy tuck surgery cannot correct stretch marks.
Tummy tuck surgery is different from liposuction, as the former concentrates on removing excess skin, rather than fat, like liposuction does.
There are generally two types of tummy tuck: partial and full. The goal of each is generally the same, but the procedures do differ slightly.
Partial tummy tuck
A partial tummy tuck is also known as a mini tummy tuck, and uses a shorter incision than a full tummy tuck. A mini tummy tuck concentrates on removing excess skin from specifically below the belly button.
The scar for a mini tummy tuck is similar to that of a cesarean.
Full tummy tuck
In a full tummy tuck, the incision made along the bikini line is usually longer than in a partial tummy tuck.
An additional incision is made around the belly button, as often during surgery, it is relocated as excess skin is removed from a patient’s midsection.
Are you a good candidate for tummy tuck surgery?
Separate fact from fiction when it comes to tummy tuck surgery…
Tummy tuck surgery is NOT a substitute for weight loss
While it’s natural to assume that losing excess skin might results in a couple of pounds dropping off the scales, tummy tuck surgery is not to be interpreted as a substitute for losing weight through exercise and a good diet.
The most ideal candidate is one who is in good health
The best candidates for tummy tuck surgery are those who are in good health and enjoy a balanced diet, yet struggle to shift stubborn fat from around their midsection.
Are your expectations realistic?
It is critical to any plastic surgery procedure, not just tummy tuck, that your expectations for outcomes from surgery are realistic.
While physical improvements are possible, but no surgeon can ever guarantee their results, and plastic surgery will not help you achieve perfection.
Instead, considering plastic surgery as a procedure that aims to improve you as you are, helping you achieve more desirable and improved results; not perfection.
During your consultation, your surgeon will align your expectations with reality.
It’s also imperative to understand that plastic surgery is science, not magic.
How long does surgery take?
You will be put under general anaesthesia and surgery normally takes between 3 and 4 hours.
Most patients will need to stay overnight in hospital. This is a safety factor; we can monitor you during the very first few hours of recovery.
Post surgery and tummy tuck recovery
As you might expect, recovery is different for everyone, and there is no blanket answer. We do however provide some general guidelines to help you understand how long you may require to recover.
What happens immediately following surgery?
Upon waking, you will be in a position where you are sitting up and your knees are slightly bent (supported by pillows). This position helps reduce strain and tension on your suture line.
You’ll need to have a trusted friend or family with you after surgery to take you home – you will not be allowed to drive or take public transport.
How much time off work should I take?
This depends on how your recovery is going as well as what’s involved in your job.
Many patients can return to a desk job after about 10 or 15 days, but patients whose jobs involve manual work such as heavy lifting may be required to take more time off.
This will all be discussed with your surgeon before and after surgery.
When can I return to low-intensity exercise?
Your body requires adequate time to heal, and trying to rush your recovery is strongly discouraged.
Within a few days, you may be able to start walking in a stooped position (again to reduce tension on your sutures) and over time, you may begin to straighten out.
Many patients are able to resume low-activity exercise and general movement after three weeks.
What happens if I have any concerns during recovery?
At any stage during your recovery, we want you to contact the Cairns Plastic Surgery team.
No matter how small or trivial you think your query is, we want you to feel confident that your recovery is progressing as normal.
We would rather you call us to check on something seemingly small rather than ignore it and hope the issue goes away!
Interested in tummy tuck surgery?
There are a ton of resources online to help you learn about your chosen plastic surgery procedure, so if you’re done some initial research, we invite you to take the next step and organise an obligation-free conversation with a Cairns Plastic Surgery nurse.
This confidential chat comes at no cost to you, and helps you understand in greater detail the entire process, from consultation with Dr Hertess to recovery and post-surgery appointments.