Tummy Tuck Surgery (Abdominoplasty)

If you suffer from excess skin around your abdomen possibly due to weight loss or pregnancy, then you may be suitable for tummy tuck surgery, also known as an abdominoplasty procedure. Excess skin in this area can significantly affect your confidence, particularly when wearing certain clothes and you may experience back pain from the additional weight of the skin.

Most commonly, our patients come to us for an abdominoplasty for one of the following reasons:

  • After pregnancy– during pregnancy your skin stretches and you may have found that the excess skin has not bounced back. Your stomach muscles also split during pregnancy and may not go completely back to the way they were. If they stay separated you may experience back pain and it can cause difficulty during certain activities such as sit ups.
  • Losing a considerable amount of weight– if you lose weight relatively quickly, the skin that has stretched may not retract causing you to have excess skin.

You may also find that if you try and exercise to reduce the amount of excess skin, you fail to see results. This is because exercising only impacts on the amount of fat, not on the amount of skin. In fact, in a lot of cases exercising can make the excess skin look even worse.

Aurora is now part of The Private Clinic, please click here to find out more about abdominoplasty(tummy tuck) and The Private Clinic. World renowned plastic surgeon Mr Adrian Richards is part of The Private Clinic expert team.

The Tummy Tuck procedure

An abdominoplasty procedure removes this loose skin and fatty tissue from your abdomen and can also correct the splitting of the stomach muscles that can occur during pregnancy, resulting in a more taut appearance.

The procedure itself takes 2-3 hours and you will usually be in hospital for 1-2 days following surgery. You shouldn’t feel in pain following the procedure, but you may have some discomfort. We advise that you take 2-3 weeks off work but this is dependent on the nature of your job and your recovery.

How will it impact your life?

Following a tummy tuck you are likely to experience a boost in confidence, particularly in choosing certain types of clothing such as swimwear. You are also likely to notice increased ability to perform activities such as sit-ups or crunches. In addition, correction of the abdominal muscles can significantly improve backache and improve your posture.

Tummy Tuck FAQs

In general, the best type of tummy tuck for you is determined by the amount of excess skin on your stomach. A mini tummy tuck is when you address the loose skin below the umbilicus (the tummy button) but this will not address any laxity in the skin above the tummy button. A full tummy tuck involves removing the loose skin both above and below your belly button.

The ‘Pinch Test’

A quick test to see whether a full or mini tummy tuck is best for you is to perform the ‘Pinch Test’. This is where you pinch the skin just above your tummy button and pull down towards your pubic hair area. If these two areas of skin meet, then a full tummy tuck may be appropriate for you and if they do not, a mini tummy tuck may be the preferred option. This test simply provides an indication. For a more accurate idea of which procedure is best for you we would advise coming to see one of our tummy tuck specialists.
In both the mini and full tummy tuck procedures, your surgeon can repair your stomach muscles if they have parted. These are called the rectus-abdominis muscles (which, in Latin means the “straight” muscles). It is these rectus-abdominis muscles which can give the “6-pack” appearance in people with minimal fat on their abdomen. After pregnancy or weight loss, these muscles are stretched apart and may not go back fully together.

This split in the muscles is called a diastasis, which literally means “moving apart”. During an abdominoplasty, the rectus-abdominis muscles can be stitched back together in their correct position.
Although the abdominoplasty procedure can remove some of the fat from the abdomen it is intended to remove excess skin rather than fat. If excess fat is your primary concern then liposuction surgery may be more suitable. However it is not uncommon for liposuction to be combined with tummy tuck surgery.
If you are considering having children then we would recommend that you wait until after you have completed your family before considering a tummy tuck. This is because pregnancy can cause your abdominal muscles to separate resulting in skin laxity. This may mean that you would need a second tummy tuck to remove this excess skin.
If you are planning on losing weight it is best to achieve this prior to considering abdominoplasty surgery. This is because if you lose weight following the surgery the skin will loosen and will undo some of the benefits of the procedure. Generally most Plastic Surgeons would recommend your BMI is below 30 to consider an operation such as a tummy tuck.
Your initial consultation is your chance to meet your Plastic Surgeon along with the nursing staff and is your opportunity to discuss what you hope to achieve from surgery as well as to ask any questions or talk through any concerns you may have.

We always advise that you make a list prior to your consultation of any questions that have come up during your research so that you don’t forget anything during the consultation itself.

It is also helpful if you can bring along photos of how you would ideally like to look and tummy tuck before and after photographs that you like from our website. Your surgeon will also explain the procedure to you to ensure you are well informed including the potential benefits and risks of the surgery.
You do not need to do anything specific but you may well be asked to attend a pre-operative assessment where the nursing staff will perform some tests on you. This can include heart tracing, a blood sample and a urine sample for analysis.

Generally in the two weeks prior to surgery we prefer you to avoid any non-steroidal medication which includes Neurofen and Voltarol as well as aspirin. This is because these medicines can lead to bleeding and bruising.

In the week prior to surgery it is generally advisable not to drink excessively, to eat healthily and keep well hydrated.

It is advisable to bring pyjamas, slippers, washing equipment and a change of clothes with you to the hospital. It is also useful to bring reading material and if you have a laptop or tablet device it will be possible to log on to the hospital’s Wi-Fi.
On the day of your operation you will have an admission time and will also be given a time to not eat and drink from. This is because it is important you have an empty stomach at the time of your anaesthetic. The general guide is a minimum of two hours to drink water and six hours for any food. Interestingly chewing gum does count as food because it increases the acidity in the stomach.

After the nurses have done your tests including blood pressure, pulse and temperature, you will meet your surgeon who will discuss the nature of the operation, possibly take photographs and draw on your abdomen as a guide during the surgery. This is also your opportunity to discuss any last minute questions you may have with your surgeon.

The procedure is normally performed under a light general anaesthetic. Anaesthetics have advanced significantly over the past few years and are generally extremely safe. Our anaesthetists are specifically chosen for their skill and the risks associated with anaesthesia are extremely low.

The time of the procedure does vary slightly depending on the type of operation you have but will generally be performed within 2-3 hours.

Interesting Fact

When you have a general anaesthetic you do not dream unlike when you sleep. Therefore it feels as if little time has passed whilst you have your operation and many people wake up not being aware of the time they have been asleep.
Immediately following your procedure you will wake up in the recovery area supervised by the nursing staff. In the majority of cases the maximum pain you will experience at this stage is mild discomfort, this is because the anaesthetist will have given you painkillers as part of the anaesthetic and in most cases your surgeon will have used long-lasting local anaesthetic to reduce the pain whilst you were asleep.

You will spend time in the recovery room and when the nursing staff are happy you will be transferred back to the ward where you will be reviewed by your surgeon.

Most patients stay in approximately 24-48 hours in hospital after a tummy tuck before going home. If you are at home, particularly if you have small children, we would recommend that you arrange support particularly in the first week. During this period you will be a quite sore and we do not recommend lifting. Therefore, it is very advisable to have help during this period.

When can I return to work?

About 2 weeks down the line you can return to driving and depending on your occupation between 2 and 3 weeks return to work.

How long until I can exercise again?

We encourage you to gently exercise and walk around from day 1 and gradually increase your activity over the six week period. By 6-8 weeks, in most cases, you will be able to return to most of your sporting activities that you did prior to the operation.

When can I fly after a tummy tuck?

We generally recommend that you wait at least six weeks following surgery to fly and also take the precaution of wearing anti blood clot stockings that you were given in hospital during the flight. This is because flying is associated with a rise in risk of blood clots in your legs as you are relatively immobile whilst in your seat. The stockings you will be given when you are in hospital help compress your calves and therefore reduce the risk of blood clots.

It’s important to note that the overall recovery period does vary between each individual and also on whether you have had your muscles repaired during the operation. A full tummy tuck with muscle repair can add a significant amount of time to your recovery period.

Your follow up appointments

Generally we would arrange for you to be seen 1 week following surgery by a member of our team. This is to check the areas are healing well and there are no issues at this stage.

Following this, each of our surgeons has a slightly different protocol as to when you will be seen but you will have a follow up appointment with your surgeon where you will have your post-operative photographs taken. If during your healing process you have any concerns at any stage, we can arrange an earlier follow up appointment for you.
An abdominoplasty is a significant operation and although our surgeons take every precaution to reduce risks there are inevitably some risks associated with any type of major surgery. The risks are fully discussed on our information CD on abdominoplasty surgery which we would recommend you listen to prior to your procedure. Please contact us if you would like a copy of this CD.

What happens if I have a problem?

At Aurora Clinics we pride ourselves on our aftercare following surgery and we have a 24 hour hotline should you have any concerns. This means you will be able to contact your surgeon or one of the nursing staff who will discuss the best way forward with you. The complications that can occur are also likely to be covered by your surgery package.
The scarring does vary between slightly different procedures but generally the scarring is described as a gentle curve which will lie within any underwear or swimwear. The scars generally go through a slightly red phase before ultimately, in the vast majority of cases, fading to a silvery colour.

In the majority of cases the scars over the years continue to fade and become flat and integrated with your skin.
A tummy tuck costs from £7,900.

It is important to note that this is a guide price and can vary dependent on your surgeon and the technique used. A more accurate price can be given at your consultation, to reflect your individual needs.

What is covered in the cost charged by Aurora Clinics?

At Aurora Clinics your tummy tuck cost includes consultant surgeon and anaesthetist fees, all medications, and unlimited free annual follow-ups. If the surgery does not meet the surgeon’s expectations we will provide free of charge revisional surgery, but this must be identified within 6 months.

Financing your surgery

To help you spread the cost of your procedure, we also have a range of flexible finance options.

The next step

We always encourage people to do as much research as they can when considering cosmetic surgery, so for more information on the abdominoplasty procedure:

Aurora is now part of The Private Clinic, a nationwide group of clinics with over 35 years of experience specialising in Cosmetic Surgery and Skin and a Trust Pilot 5 star rating. For comprehensive information, before and after photos and costs on Tummy Tuck procedures click here

Our clinics are located in BirminghamBuckinghamshireLondon Harley StreetLeedsManchester and Northampton.