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Tummy Tucks

What is a Tummy Tuck?

Firstly, I think the phrase “Tummy Tuck” is perhaps a fun description but I do believe that it underrates the operation. It might be appropriate for very simple procedures but I am not sure that it conveys the seriousness of the more major procedures involved in reconstruction of the abdomen.

The concept of surgery to the abdomen for the purpose of a “Tummy Tuck” or the professional surgical term, abdominoplasty, is to remove redundant folds of fat and skin from the anterior abdomen (tummy), re-tighten the underlying musculature of the abdomen, where appropriate relocate the umbilicus (belly button) and in some circumstances reduce surrounding troublesome areas of fat using liposuction. Each of these components of surgery addresses different aspects of repair and reconstruction of the anterior abdomen.

So, who are the most likely people looking to have an abdominoplasty?

The majority of the patients considering abdominoplasty are females. The reason for the female predominance is childbearing. When a woman is pregnant the stress placed on the anterior abdominal wall brings about changes in the form of stretching of the ligaments of the anterior abdominal wall muscles. In the significant majority of women, these ligaments remain in a stretched state long after the baby is born. This produces a compromise in the function of these muscles. When the muscles are relaxed there can be an increased roundness of the abdomen and there is a loss of narrowing of the waist. Furthermore there are two post-partum problems which have a relationship to this muscle compromise. These are low back pain and stress incontinence.

The skin itself is also stretched and can lose its elasticity. This leads to the formation of what we describe as an abdominal apron which is a fold of skin hanging down on the front of the abdomen. As well, the umbilicus can change its position and its shape. Anyone, male or female, who has experienced massive weight loss is also a candidate for an abdominoplasty.

Lastly, caesarean scars provide a tripping point for redundant skin and fat from the upper abdomen to fall down and over the mons pubis area.

What does a “Tummy Tuck” or abdominoplasty involve?

This really depends on what is required to provide an appropriate outcome. Generally speaking, there are four categories of operation.

Simple lipectomy: the removal of the redundant skin and fat across the lower abdomen.

A mini abdominoplasty involves lifting of the lower abdominal fat and skin off the muscles up as far as the umbilicus (up to the belly button) and the removal of the redundant fat and skin. If the muscle has separated below the umbilicus then these muscles are literally sewn together from the umbilicus down to the pubic bones.

Modified abdominoplasty: if the muscle is separated above the umbilicus, then it may be appropriate to skirt around the umbilicus or in fact even disconnect the umbilicus and carry out a repair that extends right up to the bottom of the breast bone and down to the pubic bones. It may be necessary to relocate of the umbilicus to its correct position.

A mini or modified abdominoplasty can be combined with liposuction.

A full abdominoplasty involves lifting of the whole of the skin and fat of the anterior abdomen off the muscles up to the level of the ribs as well as the relocation of the umbilicus, the repair of the muscle from the top at the breast bone to the bottom at the pubic bone, and the removal of a very large segment of redundant fat and skin from the abdomen. Additionally, muscles of the waist can be tightened in order to narrow the waistline.

So the expression “Tummy Tuck” covers a broad spectrum of potential procedures which can be utilised in various combinations to suit your individual needs as a patient.

To help you make the correct choices regarding the most suitable “Tummy Tuck” procedures for you and to optimise your result and safety, you would be wise to consult with a specialist trained Plastic Surgeon.

Dr Newton’s surgery is located at
14 Howard Street, Warners Bay.
Phone 02 4948 4200

If you are “seriously” interested in
Cosmetic Surgery, and need more
information, you can contact the

Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons:
02 9437 0495, or visit the website:
aestheticplasticsurgeons.org.au