Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
What is it?Abdominoplasty is the removal of excess tissue (skin and
fat) from the abdomen. This excess tissue is usually caused
by stretching from childbirth or weight loss. Excess tissue
can also hang over a scar, such as after a caesarean section.
This information sheet covers abdominoplasty. Extended
abdominoplasty and body lift are covered on another
Is Mr Callan experienced at this procedure?Mr Callan has over 20 years of experience at this procedure.
He performs abdominoplasty regularly and keeps up to date
with the latest techniques. As a fully trained plastic surgeon,
Mr Callan performs this procedure to the highest standard
Can I see photographs?You can see photographs of people who have had this
procedure when you have your consultation. As Mr Callan
performs this procedure frequently, we have a large number of
photographs of those you have had the type of abdominoplasty
you may be suitable for.
Who has abdominoplasty?Women, after they have finished having children, who are
left with excess tissue on the abdomen. Men or women after
significant weight loss are also candidates.
Am I suitable?You need to be sensible, honest about your reasons, happy
with your informed decision, and be as healthy as possible.
A time of personal crisis is no time to be making decisions
about such surgery. You may need more discussion if you
have a family history of breast cancer, as the tissue on
the abdomen can be used to reconstruct an absent breast,
an opportunity that will be lost if this tissue is removed. If
you have excess tissue all the way round, a condition more
common in weight loss patients but occasionally in postchildbirth
women, an extended abdominoplasty or body lift
may be a more suitable operation. If your excess is below the
umbilicus only, you may only require a mini-abdominoplasty.
What would make me unsuitable for this surgery?
Smoking, being outside the BMI (body mass index) range of
18-28, under stress when making your decision, or having a
medical condition that would make surgery unsafe. These are
not weight loss procedures and are no substitute for losing
How is it done?Mr Callan performs all his surgery at St John of God Hospital
in Geelong, a fully accredited hospital. Depending on the type
of abdominoplasty you have, an incision is made from the
pubic hair line and across to the hips and the excess tissue
removed. The remaining skin is stretched down to the incision
line and a flatter, smoother abdomen will result. For an
extended abdominoplasty and body lift the incision lines go
further around. There is usually a scar around the umbilicus
(belly button) unless a mini-abdominoplasty is performed.
What are the benefits?What you get out of surgery is entirely a personal matter.
If the weight and volume of the excess abdominal tissue
distresses you, then removing it may be a great relief and
may make you feel better about your appearance in general.
It may even help relieve aches and pains associated with
the weight of the tissue removed. In addition, if the tummy
muscles have remained split after pregnancy, tightening them
can help relieve back pain and make exercise easier.
What are the risks?All surgery carries some element of risk. You can
minimise your risk by being as healthy as possible and
as psychologically prepared as possible, by selecting an
experienced and qualified surgeon, and by giving yourself
a stress free time during which to recover. The particular
risks and complications of this surgery will be discussed at
your first consultation. The most common of these is fluid
collection under the skin. Occasionally the incision may take
a little extra time to heal but overall this procedure goes very
smoothly. There are other risks common to all surgery and you
will be made aware of these.
Will I have scars?The incision lines for the surgery are always present but fade
over the first six to 12 months. As a rule the incision line s
become relatively inconspicuous in most people and can be
covered by clothing. The scar around the umbilicus can be
more visible in some.
How long am I in hospital for?Abdominoplasty can be a day procedure or involve an
overnight stay, depending how you are after the anaesthetic.
Someone will need to take you home from hospital and
should stay with you the first night. Abdominoplasty is
not a particularly painful procedure but can be a little
uncomfortable if the muscles need to be tightened. You will be
given medication to keep you comfortable.
How long will I need to recover?This varies but usually ranges from two to six weeks
depending on what you do. If your activities are sedentary
you may only need a couple of weeks, but if you do heavy
work and lifting you may need up to six weeks. It’s a good
idea to take some time out from more strenuous activities so
you don’t prolong your recovery. The same guidelines apply
to exercise, with mild to moderate exercise allowable early
on and full aerobic activities after six weeks. You can shower
after surgery. You must not drive until you are fully recovered
from both the anaesthetic and the discomfort of surgery. If in
Do I wear a garment after surgery?You need to wear a pressure garment after surgery for three
weeks. This helps the healing process and reduces the
possibility of fluid collections. It also acts like a girdle and
keeps you compact during recovery.
Will I need to be seen after surgery?Yes. We will keep in close contact with you by telephone for
the first few days and then will see you about five days after
surgery, then at three weeks and at three months and a year.
You are of course welcome to call or visit any time with any