Medically reviewed by Mr. Omar Tillo — MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)
An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures available. Many patients enjoy both the aesthetic and functional benefits of this body contouring procedure.
However, the decision to undergo a tummy tuck is highly individualised, and, as such, we have created this guide to better help you to decide whether a tummy tuck is a worthwhile decision for you and your tummy.
What Does a Tummy Tuck Do?
The primary purpose of a tummy tuck is to remove any excess skin from the abdomen while tightening the abdominal muscles if necessary. This helps to create an aesthetically pleasing flatter and more contoured abdomen.
In addition, repairing muscle separation and strengthening the core can provide significant functional benefits such as back pain relief.
Pros and Cons of Tummy Tuck
There are several key benefits of a tummy tuck:
Many enjoy the aesthetically pleasing finish of a slimmer and more toned waistline after the loose skin and fat are removed. During a tummy tuck, the skin is also tightened, creating a smoother finish, with stretch marks also minimised.
The abdominal muscles can become weakened for a variety of reasons, including significant weight loss, pregnancy, and injury. This can then contribute to a series of health concerns. By tightening the abdominal muscles and strengthening the core, a tummy tuck can provide ample relief from related health conditions like back pain and stress urinary incontinence, improving overall quality of life.
When the abdominal muscles are strengthened during a tummy tuck, the spine is better supported, which can have the added benefit of improving posture.
Relieved Back Pain
As above, a tummy tuck can help to better support the spine. This can help to reduce any related back pain.
A tummy tuck, like any cosmetic procedure, requires considerable thought and understanding of potential drawbacks:
Recovery Time is Long
A full tummy tuck is an invasive procedure and requires considerable downtime. However, your surgeon will provide you with comprehensive aftercare instructions as well as any required prescriptions for pain relief following a tummy tuck. Please also see our comprehensive survival guide for a range of tummy tuck recovery tips and tricks to help make your recovery as comfortable as possible.
Immediately after surgery, you may experience side effects such as swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the abdomen. In general, most patients are able to return to work and most light, daily activities 2 weeks after their tummy tuck. However, patients are advised to wait up to 8 weeks before engaging in more strenuous activities to ensure the area heals properly.
For patients with less skin laxity and a busier lifestyle, a mini tummy tuck provides a viable alternative to its full counterpart and requires less downtime. You can discuss this during a consultation to see if this variation may be better suited to your needs.
Incisions made during a tummy tuck will leave some scarring. The exact placement and significance of scarring are dependent on the type of tummy tuck performed and the amount of skin laxity. For a full abdominoplasty, patients are left with a scar along the bikini line and around the belly button.
Choosing the right surgeon who is both skilled and experienced in conducting tummy tucks can make all the difference in how severe any subsequent scarring is. This is why we recommend choosing a board-certified surgeon who specialises in this highly intricate procedure to ensure you are able to get the best results.
What No One Tells You About a Tummy Tuck
We believe in being wholly transparent with our patients and want to ensure they have all the information necessary, so they are best informed to decide whether a tummy tuck is the right choice for them.
There are several lesser discussed points we wish to highlight:
Results Aren’t Immediate
Immediately after surgery, patients will be able to notice their flatter and more toned stomach as the excess skin and fat will be gone.
However, patients won’t be able to see their full tummy tuck results until all post-surgical swelling has subsided, which can take up to 6-12 months. After this, patients will be able to enjoy the full aesthetic and functional benefits of their newly taut tummy.
Recovery Involves Drains
During a tummy tuck, your surgeon will place drains beneath the skin to remove fluids produced by the body to aid healing, as well as any residual blood in the area. These small drain tubes are attached with sutures and aim to reduce the risk of complications and minimise post-surgical swelling.
After surgery, you will be given instructions on how to clean and empty any drains. Typically, drains are removed 7-14 days after a tummy tuck.
Constipation is Possible
Constipation can occur after a tummy tuck as a result of anaesthetic and pain medication, as these drugs may slow the function of the gastrointestinal tract down. This may cause discomfort, particularly when the abdominal muscles become strained. This can last up to 5 days after surgery, and patients are advised to raise any concerns with their surgeon.
A Tummy Tuck Isn’t for Weight Loss
Although a small amount of weight is lost when the excess skin and fat is removed from the abdomen, a tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure. In fact, patients are advised to be at their ideal weight prior to surgery to reduce the risk of complications and achieve their desired results.
Patients seeking to remove larger amounts of stubborn fat deposits may wish to combine their abdominoplasty with liposuction. However, this is also for body contouring purposes and not as a means to lose significant amounts of weight.
Ideal Candidates for a Tummy Tuck
Your surgeon will provide a comprehensive assessment to determine your eligibility for a tummy tuck. In general, a tummy tuck is ideal for any man or woman looking to contour and flatten their abdomen. In general, patients should be in good health and at their ideal weight before tummy tuck, with women waiting until after their last pregnancy to have a tummy tuck.
Schedule a Consultation with CREO Clinic Today
If you are seeking to reap the aesthetic and functional benefits of a taut abdomen, you may be eligible for a tummy tuck. With the necessary clinical expertise as well as extensive experience conducting this highly intricate and individualised procedure, our body contouring surgeon Dr Omar Tillo is able to provide bespoke solutions to your body’s needs.
Contact us today to book a consultation with Dr Tillo, and get on track to your dream body.