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An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is cosmetic surgery to improve the appearance of your abdomen (stomach). It may involve removing excess skin and fat and tightening the abdominal muscles.

Is an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) right for me?

Sometimes the skin of the abdomen does not shrink back after pregnancy or after losing a lot of weight. You are most likely to benefit from an abdominoplasty if you are self-conscious about what your abdomen looks like. Abdominoplasty is not appropriate for people who are overweight or as an attempt to lose weight.

Your Nuffield Health surgeon will carry out a detailed assessment before deciding if tummy tuck surgery is suitable for you. So that you know exactly what to expect from the results of this surgery, we encourage you to share your expectations with your consultant as early as possible. This should help you to establish a clear indication of what is realistically achievable with this procedure.

To give yourself time to reach the right decision, you should make sure you leave at least two weeks between your consultation and surgery.

Your surgeon may use one of several surgical techniques:

This operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes between 2 - 5 hours.

  • Full abdominoplasty - is suitable if you have a lot of excess skin. Your surgeon will make a curved cut from one hip to the other. They will remove any excess skin and fat. Your surgeon will then cut under the skin above your umbilicus (belly button), pulling it downwards and tightening it. Sometimes they will need to reconstruct your umbilicus and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall
  • Mini abdominoplasty - is suitable if you only have a little excess skin. Your surgeon will only need to make a small cut just above the pubic area to remove the excess skin
  • Endoscopic abdominoplasty - is suitable if you only need to have the muscles of your abdominal wall tightened. Your surgeon will make small cuts and use special surgical instruments to tighten the muscles.

Expert surgeons at Nuffield Health

Choosing the right consultant is an important part of the process; you can see Nuffield Health’s registered cosmetic surgeons here.

Preparing for surgery

Follow these tips to help prepare for an abdominoplasty:

  • For smokers, the risk of complications can be reduced if smoking is stopped several weeks before the operation is due to take place
  •  Regular exercise should help to prepare you for the operation, but ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice first
  • The area around where you will be cut should not be shaved or waxed for seven days prior to the operation.

Going home after abdominoplasty surgery

  • The length of your hospital stay depends on which procedure is performed
  • With full abdominoplasty, you should be able to go home after 2 - 3 days
  • You may have dressings and drains (plastic tubes) coming out of both sides of your abdomen
  • The drains are usually removed before you leave the hospital
  • You will be given post-operative pain killers
  • Most patients are mobile from day one and return to normal activities within 6 weeks
  • You may be able to return to work in 2 weeks, providing your work isn’t too physically strenuous. 
  • You should wait at least 6 weeks before lifting anything heavy 
  • You should not have sex until 3 weeks after surgery (and then it should be gentle)
  • Be sure and discuss your return to work with your surgeon
  • The results of an abdominoplasty improve gradually over the first 6 months post surgery
  • For the most successful outcomes, you should keep to a healthy weight and exercise regularly.

What complications can happen?

Every surgical procedure has a risk of complications. Be sure and discuss any concerns you might have about these risks with your surgeon.

How long will the results last?

The need for a repeat abdominoplasty can be avoided if you manage to maintain a healthy weight. Should you put on, and then lose, a lot of weight you may find yourself with excess abdomen skin, which could need a repeat abdominoplasty.

Pain from surgery

Post-surgery pain is usually mild and easily controlled with simple painkillers (such as paracetamol). You may experience more pain if your surgeon had to tighten your abdominal muscles.

General complications of any operation may include:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection in a surgical wound
  • Blood clots
  • Unsightly scarring

Specific complications of tummy tuck may include:

  • Developing a swelling
  • Numbness or persistent pain
  • Cosmetic problems

Tummy tuck surgery cost

The cost of tummy tuck surgery may be more affordable than you think. To find out more about the cost of treatment, complete the form below and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

Our prices are inclusive of all costs and have no hidden surprises. You have the option to pay for your procedure as a one-off payment or if preferred, you may be eligible for a loan.

We are confident that the price for your abdominoplasty treatment at Nuffield Health will be competitive and we are proud to deliver outstanding clinical care at a fair price.

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