Tummy
Tuck

A tummy tuck can give you the toned, taut and flat stomach that exercise cannot.

A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is designed for those that feel that no matter how many sit ups they do, they still can’t get rid of excess skin and fat on their stomach. This procedure is popular with women who have had children and are looking to tighten the abdominal wall and want a flatter, toned stomach. During a tummy tuck, excess fat and loose skin are removed and underlying muscles are tightened and repositioned.

The best candidates for a tummy tuck are patients who are in good shape, are not overweight, but have loose abdominal skin. This is commonly seen in women whose abdominal muscles and skin have been stretched out from multiple pregnancies, as well as people who have a loss of skin elasticity due to age or weight fluctuations.

Women who are planning future pregnancies may be advised to wait, as the vertical muscles in the abdomen that are tightened in surgery will tend to separate again during pregnancy.

If there is a large fat accumulation on the abdominal wall, especially along the upper part, abdominoplasty can be combined with liposuction to remove the fatty layer. As everyone is different, Dr Lim will develop a personalised surgical plan that focuses on your current condition and desired goals.

When considering a tummy tuck, before and after images can be extremely helpful, so be sure to check out the gallery below.

The exact procedure used for a tummy tuck will differ from patient to patient, depending on a number of factors including the desired result and the elasticity of the skin.

The most common technique used involves an incision made across the lower abdomen, extending to the hip on each side. This incision can be angled to make the scar easier to conceal. Dr Lim will tighten the vertical muscles in your stomach by pulling them close together and stitching them into position. Extra skin and fat is also removed.

Dr Lim will do his best to minimise scarring, and the location and length of your incision will be discussed with you in the consultation process.

Abdominoplasty may take a few hours and is performed under general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital. You will be required to stay in hospital for a few days following your surgery.

Patients who have a tummy tuck require drains to be inserted during the surgery, to prevent the accumulation of fluids and blood within the surgical wounds. You will be able to go home once the amount of drainage output subsides and your pain has settled. You will usually go home with the drains and they will be removed about a week after surgery.

You will be provided with a supportive garment that will help decrease the bruising and swelling, which must be worn for six weeks after the surgery. Dr Lim will review you post-operatively and will prescribe analgesia and antibiotics for you to continue at home.

My Klinik staff will stay in touch with you after the procedure, monitor your progress and answer any questions or concerns as they arise. You’ll have reviews with Dr Lim one week, three weeks, one month and three months after surgery.

Our goal is to make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible — Dr Lim and the My Klinik staff are always willing to answer any questions you may have.

Pre and Post-Operative Care

  • You must fast prior to your procedure — do not eat, drink (even water) or chew anything for at least six hours before your procedure. The hospital will ring you the day before your procedure to confirm your admission time.
  • If you have a gastric band or sleeve, you will need to have a fluid diet the day before your surgery and fast for at least eight hours on the day of your procedure.
  • Notify Dr Lim of any medications that you are currently taking.
  • Do not take any medication that contains aspirin, or any anti-inflammatory or herbal medication for two weeks before your procedure. Aspirin thins the blood, which can result in unnecessary blood loss during your procedure.
  • Do not smoke for eight weeks before and eight weeks after your procedure. Smoking decreases blood flow to the skin and may delay the healing process.
  • Do not drink any alcohol for two days before and two days after your procedure as it can interfere with the anaesthetic you will be given on the day.
  • Vitamin C may help reduce your healing time and is recommended for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery.
  • Do not wear any nail polish, make-up or jewellery to the hospital and leave any valuables at home.
  • You will need comfortable, loose clothing, like a tracksuit, to wear home from the hospital. This will prevent pressure on your abdomen, which will still be tender.
  • Dr Lim will normally visit you in the hospital the morning after your procedure. You will be assisted to sit up or get out of bed. The physiotherapist may attend to assist you.
  • When you wake up you will have a firm binder around your abdomen and two drains. The drains will be removed about a week after your surgery, or when the amount of drainage fluid has reduced. You will be discharged once you are feeling well and you are mobile. You will need to wear the abdominal binder for six weeks — Dr Lim will advise you on this in more detail.
  • General anaesthetic can take a few days to recover from — it can be quite normal to feel a little slow or out of sorts for a few days.
  • You will need to walk in a hunched over position for the first few days and slowly straighten up as your pain subsides. You will also be more comfortable laying with your knees bent and your back and head supported by a few pillows. In some cases, sleeping on a recliner can be more comfortable.
  • While you are in hospital you will be given medication for the pain. The amount of pain you feel after the operation varies from person to person. If you are concerned about the amount of pain you are in, or you feel you cannot control the pain, you should inform the nursing staff while in hospital, or call My Klinik if you are at home.
  • It is crucial that you finish the course of antibiotics you are prescribed to prevent any post-op infection.
  • While in hospital and at home, you will need to keep your bowels regular. This may involve taking an aperient prescribed by Dr Lim and drinking lots of water. Prune juice may also assist. If you have any trouble, please do not try and strain — inform the nursing staff and medication can be given to assist you.
  • Avoid over exertion and activity for the first six weeks. Take care not to bump, strain or place any pressure on the surgical area. This includes lifting small children.
  • Prevent the formation of blood clots in your legs with frequent gentle walks and mild foot and leg exercises. You will be given small injections to assist with this while you are in hospital. You will be given leg compression stockings that should be worn for three weeks after discharge.
  • Your stomach area may feel quite unusual for the first few weeks. It may feel tight and there may be reduced sensitivity in that area. This should return after a few weeks.
  • Dr Lim will remove any remaining sutures at your one-week post-op checkup.
  • Healing is different for each patient — it is recommended that you take two to three weeks off work. Most people feel well recovered after four to six weeks.
  • Do not smoke for eight weeks after your procedure as this may slow the healing process and affect wound healing.
  • My Klinik nursing staff will contact you to make sure that you are feeling comfortable and to confirm your one-week post-op checkup with Dr Lim.
  • Contact My Klinik if any of the following develop:
    • A temperature higher than 38°C or chills
    • Heavy bleeding or fluid from the incision or drain site
    • Severe sudden pain or tenderness
    • Redness around the incisions that is spreading.
  • Dr Lim and the nursing staff are available to you as you recover — should you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact My Klinik. For after-hours concerns, please contact the hospital where you had your surgery and they will be able to contact Dr Lim as required.

Tummy Tuck FAQs

If you are dissatisfied with the loose skin on your abdomen (but are not overweight) or have a large accumulation of fat on the abdominal wall, then a tummy tuck may be an option for you.

Abdominoplasty is best suited for patients in good physical health, who don’t smoke and who have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure.

Individual factors and personal preferences will help you and Dr Lim to determine how much the muscles will be tightened, the amount of skin to be removed and the length of incision required.

After making an incision across the lower abdomen, extending to the hip on each side, Dr Lim will tighten the vertical muscles in your stomach by pulling them close together and stitching them into position. Extra skin and fat is also removed. The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and usually takes three hours.

Dr Lim will discuss with you the best method and the required incision for your desired outcomes during the consultation process.

Your first consultation with Dr Lim will take around 45 minutes and you are most welcome to bring a support person with you. Due to social distancing measures as a result of COVID-19, the support person may not be able to enter the rooms (depending on the number of persons in the rooms at that particular time).

Dr Lim will take the time to discuss the procedure with you, the changes you desire, and any other issues related to the appearance of your abdominal area that you feel are important to you. This will help Dr Lim understand your expectations and determine if they are achievable.

Dr Lim will explain the risks of surgery and discuss the tummy tuck procedure with you. Your abdominal area will be assessed, and a few measurements and photographs will be taken to plan the procedure.

You do not have to make the decision to proceed with the surgery at this initial consultation. You will be given a written quotation and information to take home to read.

Dr Lim will examine your abdomen and consider factors such as the size and shape of your abdominal area and the quality of your skin.

Please come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions you have, medications you are currently taking, allergies you have, other medical treatments you have received and any previous surgery you have had.

A second consultation (at no extra cost) is usually required if you wish to proceed with surgery.

Avoid products that contain aspirin, vitamin E, glucosamine, herbal supplements, fish oil and krill oil for four weeks before surgery. We also strongly recommend avoiding alcohol, and not smoking for eight weeks before and after surgery. Smoking can negatively affect the healing process.

On the day of surgery, patients should wear comfortable, loose clothing that does not need to be pulled over the head or face. Don’t wear any make-up, jewellery or nail polish.

We want to make this experience as easy as possible — you will be given all pre-operative instructions prior to your procedure but please don’t hesitate to call My Klinik if you have any questions or concerns before your surgery.

Dr Lim performs all tummy tucks at the fully accredited Westmead Private Hospital. Abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthetic and you can expect to be in hospital for about three days.

Please contact the hospital a day before surgery to confirm your admission and fasting time. On entering the hospital, you need to report to the admissions desk and the staff will direct you through the admission process. Dr Lim and the anaesthetist will both see you prior to surgery and Dr Lim will make some markings on your abdominal area.

After the procedure, you will spend some time in the recovery room where you will be closely monitored until you are fully awake and returned to your rooms.

You will have a firm binder around your abdomen and you will have two surgical drains. You will have calf compressors (inflatable devices) and TED or compression stockings on both legs, as well as anticoagulant injections to reduce the risk of blood clots/deep vein thrombosis. You will have a drip in your arm and be connected to a machine to give you pain relief, fluids and medication.

The first days after surgery are usually the most uncomfortable and painful, particularly when you are moving around or coughing. Like most operations, it is not painless; you will be prescribed pain medication during this period and Dr Lim will provide a prescription for you upon discharge. It is also normal to feel tired and a little slow for a day or two following a general anaesthetic.

You will be assisted out of bed the morning after surgery. We prefer you to stay out of bed for a few hours and gently mobilise over the next few days. The physiotherapist may assist you with this while you are in hospital.

Everyone is different, so the recovery period following this procedure varies from person to person — most patients are back to their normal routine in approximately four to six weeks. Movement must be restricted for the first two weeks.

Your abdominal area will be sensitive for two to three weeks following surgery and should be handled according to your own level of comfort.

Returning to work depends on the demands of your job — you may be able to return to light work within three to four weeks. Dr Lim will discuss your individual situation with you before and after your surgery.

We endeavour to make sure our patients are as informed as possible. While some of the potential risks seem frightening, it is important for you to be aware that they can occur. During consultation, Dr Lim will take you through the risks involved.

Some of the possible complications are:

  • Infection
  • Temporary or permanent numbness around operated sites
  • Accumulation of blood (haematoma) around the surgical site which requires drainage
  • Keloids and hypertrophic (or raised) scars
  • Areas of skin that do not heal and may require a skin graft.

Dr Lim will monitor your progress carefully and our staff will stay in contact with you during the post-operative period. You will be seen at frequent intervals over the first six months.

Your relationship with Dr Lim and the nursing staff does not end once you have had the procedure. If you have any questions or concerns after your operation, you are always welcome to call My Klinik.

Tummy Tuck Videos

Click on the link below to view the videos.

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Individual results may vary. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.