What is a tummy tuck?
A full tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure to give you a flatter stomach by tightening the abdominal muscles and removing excess fat and skin, and can take two to five hours. You may need to stay in hospital overnight.
Mini or partial abdominoplasties are performed when excess fat is only under the belly button, and the muscles may not be tightened. Mini tummy tucks are usually done under sedation and take just one to two hours.
What are the risks of a tummy tuck?
The main risks of an abdominoplasty, besides the risks of a general anaesthetic, are infection and scarring. Although the surgeon will make incisions in the most inconspicuous places possible, there will be scarring, and the severity will depend on how extensive your procedure was and your body’s ability to heal. In all cases there will be a scar above your pubic bone and your belly button may also be repositioned, which can sometimes give an unnatural appearance.
The wound may become infected and in a few cases, tissue may become detached from its blood supply and this can cause necrosis (tissue death). There is also a risk of a blood clot (thrombosis) occurring and this can be serious, particularly if the clot moves to a major organ such as the heart or lungs.
Who can have a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck is suitable for any man or woman who is physically and mentally healthy. If you have any illnesses or pre-existing conditions, you should discuss this with the surgeon. For women planning to have a baby, it’s best to wait until afterwards to have an abdominoplasty.
Abdominoplasty can be ideal for removing stubborn fat that hasn’t responded to diet or exercise, and to remove excess skin after weight loss or pregnancy. But it’s not an alternative to losing weight. For many people, liposuction may be a simpler and safer option.
How long will it take me to recover from a tummy tuck?
After a short rest, you should be able to walk after your tummy tuck — but it will usually take you a few days to stand up straight comfortably, and you will normally have wound drains in place for the first few days too. The pain, swelling and bruising from an abdominoplasty can take several weeks to subside completely.
Most people can return to work within two weeks, but those in manual jobs may need a month or more off work after a tummy tuck.
How much does a tummy tuck cost?
Abdominoplasty prices vary depending on the complexity of the procedure, the aftercare package, and if an overnight hospital stay is required. In the UK, tummy tuck prices range from £4,000 - £8,000, with mini tummy tucks usually at the cheaper end of the scale.