Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)
A smooth and firm abdomen gives the whole body a look of fitness and vitality.
Unfortunately for many people regular exercise is unable to remove the areas of loose tummy tissue that can give your whole body an out of shape appearance.
Dr Colbert aims to remove the excess tummy tissue and tighten the stretched muscles to give you a firmer, flatter abdomen and a narrower waist.
You might be a good candidate for tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) surgery if you:
Have excess skin or tissue around the tummy.
Have a loss of stomach muscle tone.
Are not planning a pregnancy in the near future.
Are weight stable.
An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) involves removing a horizontally-orientated oval shape of tissue from the lower part of your abdomen, leaving you with a scar that goes from one hip to the other at the the level of your pubic hair line, and a small scar around your belly button.
Dr Colbert performs his abdominoplasty by concentrating on three main areas:
Skin tightening: excess skin is removed to allow a tighter and flatter abdomen as well as a slimmer waistline.
Fat removal: many patients will benefit from liposuction to remove any remaining areas of fat to help reveal a more athletic body shape.
Muscle tightening: pregnancy and weight loss can stretch the abdominal muscles apart, with Dr Colbert adding multiple layers of reinforcement to help reposition the muscles in to their original position.
Tummy tuck surgery involves a short stay in hospital for several days, where Dr Colbert will review you daily to ensure you are recovering as expected.
You are encouraged to shower the day after surgery as the wound is dressed with sterile adhesive dressings that are splash proof and shower proof. Once out of the shower you can dry the dressings by dabbing them with a clean dry towel or by using a hair dryer. Sometimes surgical drains (tubes) are inserted to remove any extra fluid from the wound, but these are usually only used for one to days, if at all.
To help ensure proper healing it is important to take your time before returning to activities. Non-vigorous activities (e.g. office job or light duties) can be recommenced at two weeks, while strenuous activities and exercise should be avoided for at least six to eight weeks. Driving should be avoided for four weeks, as performing an emergency stop may put the wound at risk from seatbelt pressure. You will be asked to wear a supportive garment for eight weeks after surgery.
Tummy tuck surgery involves trading the excess skin and stretched muscles for a scar on the abdomen.
In most cases this scar will travel from one hip to the other, but is positioned in such a location that it remains hidden beneath undergarments or swimwear.
In a small number of cases where there has been previous tummy operations or significant weight loss there may also be a scar in the middle of the abdomen, however Dr Colbert will always discuss the final position of scars with you before the operation.
While most patients who have tummy tuck surgery have no significant complications, it’s important to discuss some of the potential risks that may be associated with the procedure:
Suture 'spitting’: dissolvable sutures can sometimes work their way out of the wound before the are dissolved.
Seroma: a collection of fluid underneath the skin that can be drained in the clinic.
Some areas of the wound can take longer to heal: these areas are often in the middle of the incision just above the pubic area as tension is highest here, and treatment is usually with dressings, or rarely more surgery may be required.
Infection: sometimes inflammation or infection of the incisions may require antibiotics.
Bleeding or haematoma: this refers to a collection of blood underneath the skin that may require removal in the operating theatre.
Wound healing: some sections of the scar may be lumpy or thicker when they heal.
Blood clots: clots may form in the veins of the leg (deep vein thrombosis) and travel to the lung (pulmonary embolism) – this is serious but thankfully rare.
Abdominoplasty surgery is like any surgical procedures in that it carries risks - therefore before having any operation you should always speak to an appropriately qualified health practitioner about these potential risks.
Costs associated with cosmetic plastic surgery can be confusing. To help make things clearer we have listed the the following fees that make up the final cost.
Surgical fee: Medicare will partly pay for some surgical procedures that are itemised by the government, however depending on the nature of your operation there will be some out of pocket expenses. Dr Colbert will discuss these costs with you during your consultation.
Anaesthetic fee: Medicare covers most of the anaesthetic fee, except in the case of some cosmetic operations.
Hospital fee (this includes operation room fee, bed costs, surgical or medication fees, and any other hospital extras): Medicare does not cover this fee. If you have private health insurance then this may be covered by your insurance fund, but you should check with your fund if there is any out of pocket expenses. If you have no private insurance then you will have to pay this fee on discharge from the hospital.
More information on the cost of tummy tuck surgery can be found on the blog here.