What is abdominoplasty – is tummy tuck right for you?

Abdominoplasty is also known by its colloquial name, tummy tuck surgery.

The aim of tummy tuck surgery is to tighten loose muscles and remove excess skin from the stomach, particularly immediately below the belly button.

Abdominoplasty results in a flatter, tauter stomach and more defined waistline.

There are two types of tummy tuck surgery: partial and full.

Partial tummy tuck

If you’re unhappy with localised fat or excess skin, a partial tummy tuck could be the right procedure for you.

This “mini” tummy tuck concentrates on loose skin and fat that’s directly below the belly button.

Full tummy tuck

A full tummy tuck is a more desirable procedure for patients who have a larger amount of fat and loose skin across a broader span of their stomach.

If exercise and diet is struggling to move this stubborn fat, full tummy tuck surgery may be right for you.

Am I a good candidate for abdominoplasty?

The best candidates for tummy tuck surgery fall into at least one of the below categories.

You’re fit and follow a good diet

If you’re in good shape and eat a well-balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, but still struggle with isolated fat and loose skin around the stomach, abdominoplasty could be for you!

You’ve had children

We know how much the female body goes through during pregnancy and birth – so it’s no wonder women experience many changes to their bodies.

Tummy tuck surgery can help tighten and flatten the stomach following pregnancy and birth.

The natural ageing process

No one is immune to the effects of ageing – we all know this.

If the natural ageing process has left you with loose or sagging stomach skin, partial or full tummy tuck surgery can help give you that flat stomach of yesteryear.

You’ve lost a significant amount of weight

If you’ve lost a lot of weight recently, firstly, congratulations!

Secondly, you might be left with some sagging skin around your midsection – this is often a perfect case for tummy tuck surgery.

What abdominoplasty isn’t

It is important to remember that abdominoplasty is NOT a substitute for weight loss.

In fact, many surgeons recommend prospective patients use diet and exercise to improve their body “below” the surface first.

From there, you should consider tummy tuck surgery as the final step in achieving a more desirable, sculpted, and flatter stomach, from a cosmetic point of view.

Tummy tuck surgery must not be viewed as a weight loss treatment or a substitute for exercise.

Can a tummy tuck remove stretch marks?

In a word – perhaps.

The reason?

Tummy tuck surgery does not necessarily correct stretch marks, however during the procedure, if stretch marks are located on excess skin, this area will be removed.

As such, stretch marks may actually be removed during surgery – but not corrected.

Tummy tuck Cairns

Preparing for abdominoplasty surgery

Abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthetic and surgery normally takes between 2-3 hours. Sometimes, it will be advised that you stay overnight in hospital.

When preparing for surgery, it’s important to follow a healthy diet. If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking for four weeks prior to your surgery. You should also refrain from smoking for four weeks following surgery.

Before surgery, you will need to prepare yourself for recovery.

That includes:

  • Getting adequate time off work (minimum 2-3 weeks – speak to your surgeon during your preoperative consultations for more guidance)
  • Organising a trusted friend or family member to get you to and from hospital
  • You should also have someone at home with you for the first few days following surgery
  • They can help with cleaning, groceries, taking care of your pets, etc.

Before surgery, you should also refrain from eating food or drinking and fluid after midnight the night before your surgery. You should not eat solids or drink any milk-containing fluids for six hours prior to surgery.

Abdominoplasty recovery

A major cosmetic procedure, recovering from tummy tuck surgery takes time.

It’s critical that you allow adequate time for recovery and never try to rush it.

It’s estimated that you will require at an absolute minimum two weeks off work, after which you may return to low-intensity work (like a desk job). For any more physical tasks than that, allow up to 6 weeks for recovery.


Following surgery, you will need to adjust your gait to allow for a smooth recovery. That may mean leaning forward slightly when moving about to reduce the pressure on your new sutures.


The same goes for sleeping. We recommend sleeping with your needs bent, propped up by pillows, to ensure you’re not putting pressure on your sutures during the night.


It’s completely normal to experience swelling following surgery. Allow up to 2-3 weeks for this to subside as your body begins its healing process.

After six weeks, initial results will begin to show, however it’s important to remember that the healing process can be slow – it can take anywhere from six months to a year for the final results to settle as your body heals.

What’s next? Book your free nurse information session!

We guess by now you’ve got a few specific questions to ask, but may not quite be ready to book in a consultation with Dr Hertess.

Now sounds like the perfect time to take advantage of Cairns Plastic Surgery’s FREE information session.

During this no-strings and confidential chat with a Cairns nurse, we’ll talk you through more specifics of tummy tuck surgery, answering all your questions (no matter how small or trivial you think they may be!)

This chat is 100% obligation-free, and comes at no cost to you. Book now: