Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

How do I lose my belly fat?

Many women who desire a flat and toned stomach are not able to achieve it with diet or exercise alone; particularly after pregnancy or major weight loss. In many women, the muscles are separated or weakened. Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure which removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen and tightens the abdominal wall muscles to restore a firm and toned abdomen.  

Is abdominoplasty right for me?

While considering an improvement in the shape of the abdomen, each layer of the abdominal wall affected has to be considered. There are three relevant layers - the skin, the fatty tissue and the underlying muscle. The skin can be stretched with pregnancy, the fatty layer can increase with weight gain, and the muscle layer may also be stretched or weakened with pregnancy and surgery.

Abdominoplasty is suggested for people who have good overall health, but are worried about excess skin and fat deposits on their stomach that do not respond to lifestyle modifications.  It is better if they do not have an excess of deep abdominal fat.

A tummy tuck can be performed on men and women who have gained or lost a lot of weight resulting in excess fat or loose skin.

It can also be beneficial to women who have had multiple deliveries, causing loose abdominal wall muscles and excess skin around their midsection.

When is abdominoplasty contraindicated?

A tummy tuck may not be advisable if you are planning for a future pregnancy and should only be considered when other weight reduction methods such as diets and exercise are unsuccessful.

How do I prepare for abdominoplasty?

Before abdominoplasty, a detailed medical history is obtained, and a thorough physical examination is performed. During your consultation, your doctor will advise you to stop smoking, if you smoke, to avoid post-surgical complications and delayed healing. You should eat a healthy diet and avoid any restrictive dieting during this time. You should inform your doctor of all medications that you are taking and also about significant medical conditions and previous surgeries if any.

How is abdominoplasty performed?

Abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia. There are different types of tummy tuck procedures:

Complete abdominoplasty

Complete abdominoplasty is one where a long incision is made from hipbone to hipbone along the bikini line. The abdominal wall muscles are tightened, excess skin and fat are removed and the belly button is relocated with respect to the abdominal skin.  

Partial or mini abdominoplasty

Partial or mini abdominoplasty removes pockets of excess fat and tightens the abdominal muscles but only below the naval.  It can be done with a much smaller incision than a complete abdominoplasty.  The belly button will usually not need to be moved, but it depends on the case. The incisions will be closed with sutures.  You may or may not have a drain in place depending on your surgeon’s preference.


In a newer procedure called lipoabdominoplasty, extensive liposuction of the abdomen and flanks is done first before making the cut on the lower abdomen. The excess fat is thus already removed and the skin is ready to move down by sliding. The remaining procedures become easier, there is almost no bleeding and the recovery is also quicker. This procedure gives excellent contouring as well.

Are there any minimally invasive techniques of abdominoplasty?

Selected cases can also be performed by a less invasive procedure called endoscopic abdominoplasty. In this procedure, your surgeon inserts an endoscope through a tiny incision. The scope has a miniature video camera attached. Video images will be displayed on a large screen, which will guide the surgeon during the procedure. Tiny surgical instruments are inserted through other small incisions over the abdomen for your surgeon to carry out the procedure. This can be used to tighten the muscles.

What can I expect after abdominoplasty?

After abdominoplasty, medications will be prescribed to relieve pain. You will be advised to rest with your hips and knees bent to minimise tension on the repair. You will wear a contoured elastic garment for extra support around the abdomen. Most patients are discharged 1 to 2 days after the surgery, and instructed about proper wound care at home.  Stitches are usually dissolvable and internal. Specific after-care regimen will help to fade the scar in 3 to 6 months. Strenuous activity is prohibited for the next four to six weeks.  

When will you be able to resume your usual work?

You will be able to resume work in 2 to 3 weeks.

Are there any risks involved with abdominoplasty?

Abdominoplasty is a relatively safe surgery, while lipo-abdominoplasty renders it even safer.  However, as with any surgery, there are chances of potential complications including bleeding, blood clots in the lungs or legs, delayed healing, fluid collections, thickening of scar and infection.