Your A-Z Guide to Tummy Tuck Surgery
Considering tummy tuck surgery? Read our A-Z guide of what you can expect from undergoing a tummy tuck procedure at Aurora Clinics.
Firstly, it’s important to understand the terminology your plastic surgeon may use to describe your tummy tuck. One word you may come across is abdominoplasty. ‘Abdomen’ is the stomach area and ‘plasty’ means to mould or graft a specific part of the body. So abdominoplasty is to mould your stomach area. This can be in the form of a full, mini or extended abdominoplasty (we’ll discuss these in more detail later).
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated using your height and weight and gives an indication of whether your weight is in the ‘normal’ range. Our general rule is that you need to have a BMI of 30 or less to undergo tummy tuck surgery. This is for 2 reasons:
- A tummy tuck removes excess skin so if you have the surgery then lose weight your skin will become lax again. This may result in you needing a second tummy tuck procedure.
- Wound healing is greatly improved if your BMI is under 30.
Following your tummy tuck surgery you will be required to wear a compression garment (which feel like very tight Spanx) to support your stomach and aid your recover for approximately six weeks post-surgery.
During pregnancy or weight loss your stomach muscles known as the rectus-abdominis muscles can move apart. This split is known as a diastasis and can lead to a less toned appearance to your stomach. In both a mini and a fully tummy tuck, your surgeon is able to repair these stomach muscles effectively stitching them back together.
This correction of the diastasis means your stomach muscles will be stronger which can improve backache, poor posture and increase your ability to perform certain activities such as sit-ups.
An extended abdominoplasty is slightly different to a traditional tummy tuck as tissue is not only removed from the front of your stomach but your flanks as well. This means the scar goes right the way around your hips.
If you are post-pregnancy you are likely to have excess skin just at the front and a traditional tummy tuck would suffice. However, in some cases, such as if you have lost a large amount of weight you may have excess skin all the way around your torso which may mean an extended abdominoplasty is more suitable.
Generally we advise that you only go ahead with a tummy tuck procedure once you have completed your family. Even though it is still possible to become pregnant following a tummy tuck, the re-stretching of the skin in this area may undo some of the improvement that occurred after the original surgery.
Gallery of before and after photos
If you are considering tummy tuck surgery, it is always useful to look at your surgeon’s before and after photos to get a feel for the type of result you may achieve and the extent of the scarring.
Hear real life stories
Hearing real experiences from previous patients who have gone through tummy tuck surgery will help you to understand the process and how you might feel during your recovery. We have two previous patients who have created in depth case studies following their tummy tuck surgery: Marie and Barbara. We also have a range of video testimonials which you can watch here.
Your tummy tuck incision will differ depending on the type of tummy tuck you have:
- Mini tummy tuck – your incision and scar will be gently curved where a caesarean scar is, just above the pubic hairline. This extends to just inside your hip bone.
- Full tummy tuck – the scar will be similar to that of a mini tummy tuck but extends slightly further to the outer side of your hip bones. You will also have a scar around your belly button.
- Extended tummy tuck – as skin is removed from around the flanks the scar will extend even further around the hip bones than in a full tummy tuck.
Watch this video to hear Mr Adrian Richards explain the 3 types of incisions in a little more detail:
Do you have that fold of skin which hangs over your jeans when you sit down? If so you may be a suitable candidate for tummy tuck surgery. By removing this excess skin you’ll be able to wear jeans with confidence without worrying about having to conceal that overhang.
Our ethos at Aurora Clinics is to make sure our patients have the knowledge to make informed decisions about whether cosmetic surgery is the right choice for them. Without full knowledge of not only the benefits, but the potential risks and complications you cannot make a fully informed decision as to whether surgery is appropriate for you. So make sure if you are considering tummy tuck surgery you do your research, you ask all the questions you need and you take time to fully ingest the information you have received before booking your surgery.
It’s important to understand the differences between liposuction and a tummy tuck. Essentially, liposuction removes excess fat whereas a tummy tuck removes excess skin. However, it is not uncommon to perform both liposuction and an excisional tummy tuck surgery at the same time, as Mr Richards explains in this short video:
Mini tummy tuck
A mini tummy tuck also known as a mini abdominoplasty involves a smaller incision and therefore less scarring than a fully tummy tuck. This procedure would be suitable for you if you are at your ideal weight but simply have some excess skin in the lower part of your abdomen.
There is a test you can do at home to determine whether you are suitable for a mini or a full tummy tuck:
- Lean forward slightly
- Gently pinch your skin on your tummy
- If you can get the skin from around your belly button down to your pubic area, you may need a full tummy tuck
- If the skin does not reach you will likely be more suitable for a mini tummy tuck.
Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anne Dancey explains the difference between a mini and full tummy tuck:
Most of our patients come to us with low self-esteem particularly when wearing certain clothes such as underwear or swimwear. Undergoing tummy tuck surgery can give you a new lease of life, completely changing your outlook and boosting your confidence, as our previous patients explain:
My shape has changed I go into clothes shop and no longer think “what do I need to wear to hide my shape”. I can finally choose what I want! I am still getting used to picking up whatever I like as opposed to what draws attention away from my stomach. Whenever I try something on I get a happy feeling every time when I see how well everything fits. – Marie
I find joy in getting dressed without thinking of how to camouflage my abdomen in an outfit or eating a meal without having to suck in my stomach thereafter. I’d say it changed me by making me more comfortable in my own skin and more appreciative of my body. – Barbara
On the day of your operation you will arrive at the hospital where you will be seen by the nursing staff and shown to your room. You will meet with your surgeon prior to the operation where they will mark out the areas where they are going to make the incisions. When it is time for your operation you will be taken down to the operating theatre before being put under general anaesthetic. The operation itself takes approximately 2 hours after which you will be taken into recovery.
Our tummy tuck pricing page gives an estimate of the price you can expect to pay for this procedure. Prices differ between clinics and surgeons dependent on technique used and whether you have a full, mini or extended abdominoplasty. To give you a rough idea, mini tummy tuck surgery at Aurora Clinics starts from £4,850. An exact quote will be given to you at your consultation.
We also have a range of payment options which breaks the total cost down into affordable monthly payments.
Prior to your consultation we advise that you write down a list of questions to ask your surgeon. This will ensure that nothing is missed out and all your questions are answered fully so you can make an informed decision as to whether surgery is the right option for you.
Tummy tuck surgery is a major procedure so every effort should be made to prepare yourself prior to surgery for how you are going to feel during the recovery period.
When you initially wake up from your operation you may feel a little drowsy and you will have tape dressings over your incision. You will generally stay in hospital for two nights before being able to go home, wearing your compression garment. You will need to rest as much as you can, so invest in some good box sets to get you through the recovery period.
You will visit the clinic to have your dressings changed one week post-surgery and it is at this point that you can begin driving again. We normally recommend that you take a period of 2-3 weeks off work following the procedure but this depends on you and your body. Every person is different and you need to listen to your body and make sure you don’t over exert yourself. Click here to read our 7 top tips for a smooth tummy tuck recovery.
We always recommend that you see at least three surgeons when considering any type of cosmetic surgery. Even if you have a specific surgeon in mind, it’s helpful to compare to others to ensure you make the absolute best choice. To help you decide on which clinics to visit for a consultation we have created this guide of 6 questions to ask other clinics.
Here at Aurora Clinics we have a team of 16 expert surgeons offering tummy tuck surgery, operating right across the UK.
A question we are often asked is What will happen to my tummy button during tummy tuck surgery? You may have read the recent article of the lady who woke up from her tummy tuck surgery to find she no longer had a belly button. We thought we’d set the record straight.
This is extremely uncommon.
If you are undergoing a mini tummy tuck, your tummy button is not even touched as the excess skin is being removed from the lower part of the abdomen. So in this case absolutely nothing will happen to your belly button. In a full tummy tuck, more skin will be removed which may require a cut around your belly button. Your surgeon will make the incision around the belly button, but keeping it in place. They will then pull the skin down over the belly button and create a new hole for the tummy button to appear through.
So essentially, there is no reason why you would wake up from tummy tuck surgery without a tummy button, the only thing you may see is a scar around the rim if you have had a full abdominoplasty.
For more information on what happens to the tummy button during this surgery, watch the video below:
You will need to embrace your inner Bridget Jones during the recovery period by investing in some big and comfortable pants. After this initial period you can then start shopping for that sexy underwear you’ve always wanted but never felt confident enough to wear!
Videos – FAQs, surgical and patient testimonials
Watching videos can be an excellent way to learn about tummy tuck surgery. Our specialist tummy tuck video channel includes a combination of FAQ videos from our tummy tuck specialists, surgical videos (not for the faint-hearted!) and patient testimonials to hear first-hand experiences of tummy tuck surgery at Aurora Clinics.
Feeling worried is a completely normal emotion to have both before and after a major surgery like a tummy tuck. That’s why it’s important to have contact details for your surgeon or nursing team so that if you have any last minute questions prior to surgery or any worries following your procedure you can contact someone straight away. At Aurora, we give you emergency contact details prior to your surgery so that you can feel at ease should you have any issues.
X – Ray
We sometimes get asked whether you require an x-ray prior to tummy tuck surgery. The answer is that in most cases you won’t need an x-ray unless there is an underlying condition that needs to be assessed. If you are fit and healthy then you will just have the normal blood tests prior to your operation to assess your suitability for the procedure.
Yummy mummy makeover
An increasingly popular request from our patients is the yummy mummy makeover. This is a combination of surgical procedures to help you get back to your pre-pregnancy figure. It more often than not includes some sort of tummy tuck surgery to remove the excess skin and repair your stomach muscles as well as cosmetic breast surgery: a breast enlargement, uplift or combination of both.
ZZZ – Enjoy the time to relax
Whilst you’re recovering it’s important to listen to your body and relax for as long as your body needs to. Make the most of your lazy days off work, watching day time TV and bossing others about! Trust us, you’ll miss the relaxation once your recovery period is over!
Considering tummy tuck surgery? Aurora Clinics are a nationwide plastic surgery group offering abdominoplasty at clinics throughout the UK. For more information about tummy tuck surgery, or to book a consultation with one of our team of BAAPS registered surgeons, please contact us and we’d be happy to help.