Extended Tummy Tuck/Extended Abdominoplasty for excess skin removal
A full Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty is a way to reduce loose skin on the abdomen. However, for some people, a standard Abdominoplasty is not enough. An Extended Abdominoplasty may remove extra skin and fat on the flanks (sides).
Dr Patrick Briggs is one of Melbourne’s most experienced plastic surgeons. Not only has he performed many extended abdominoplasty procedures but many other excess skin removal procedures as well.
What is Extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty Surgery?
An Extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure that focuses on removing excess skin and fat from the abdomen, hips, and flanks, as well as tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. This procedure is a more comprehensive version of the conventional Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty, as it addresses a larger area of the body.
During an Extended Abdominoplasty surgery, an incision is made along the lower abdomen and around the hip bone area, allowing the surgeon to access and remove excess skin and fat. The abdominal muscles are then tightened (if needed) and sutured into place. The remaining skin is then pulled taut and sutured together to adjust the abdominal contour.
An extended abdominoplasty surgery is typically recommended for patients who have undergone significant weight loss, or who have excess skin and fat deposits in the abdominal and hip areas that are resistant to diet and exercise.
URGENT UPDATE – The Australian Government has reinstated a Medicare Item Number for a Tummy Tuck for some post-pregnancy patients suffering from Diastasis Recti (Split Tummy Muscles) if you are eligible and meet the new criteria. This new 30175 Medicare Item Number is effective 1st July 2022. Read the 30175 Medicare Item Number factsheet.
If you qualify for the 30175 Medicare item number you may also get a subsidy from your Health Fund. There will still be a significant out-of-pocket GAP as Tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) surgery is NOT FREE.
Am I a Suitable Candidate for the Surgery?
You may be a suitable candidate for an Extended Abdominoplasty if you;
- Have lost a lot of weight either with the help of diet and exercise or weight loss surgery but have been left with loose skin folds.
- Are in generally good health with no serious illnesses such as diabetes etc.
- Don’t smoke or drink or can quit for a specific time period (typically 4 to 6 weeks before and after the surgery).
- Have a excess tissue on the stomach despite the weight loss due to underlying lax muscles and excess skin.
- Have a stable weight for over one year and you are at your goal weight. If your weight keeps fluctuating or wish to lose more weight, it is not advisable to undergo surgery.
- Have loose skin or a distended upper pubic region.
- Realize that it is a body contouring procedure and not a weight-loss method and you wish to alter body proportions
- Are not planning to get pregnant again. If you are, it is wise to not undergo the surgery at this point.
It is important to note that Extended Abdominoplasty is a major surgical procedure, and candidates should be fully informed about the risks, outcomes, and recovery process. A consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon is recommended to determine if Extended Abdominoplasty is appropriate for an individual’s specific needs and goals.
What are the Potential Outcomes of Extended Abdominoplasty
The potential outcomes of an Extended Abdominoplasty may include:
- Altered body contour
- An Extended Abdominoplasty may help to alter the overall body contour by removing excess skin and fat from the abdomen, hips, and back.
- Addressed posture
- An extended abdominoplasty may help address posture by tightening the abdominal muscles, which may provide better support for the back.
- Reduced skin irritation
- Excess skin can cause irritation and discomfort, particularly in the abdominal area. An Extended Abdominoplasty may help remove this excess skin, reducing discomfort and irritation.
- Increased physical activity
- An Extended Abdominoplasty may make it easier to participate in physical activities, such as exercise or sports.
- Correction of abdominal wall weaknesses
- An Extended Abdominoplasty may address abdominal wall weaknesses such as hernias or diastasis recti by repairing and tightening the abdominal muscles.
How to Prepare for Extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty surgery
Dr Briggs and his team will guide you on how to get ready for an Extended Abdominoplasty/Tummy Tuck but here are a few general tips to give you a brief idea:
- If you are a smoker, you will need to quit smoking at least 4 to 6 weeks before the surgery.
- Smoking minimizes the blood flow which hinders the healing process.
- Dr Briggs will ask you about the list of supplements and medications you consume on a daily basis.
- He may ask you to give up certain supplements and medications or offer you an alternative.
- You may be asked to take an anti-coagulant as it helps prevent blood clotting.
- You will be put under general anesthesia during surgery, so it is important to arrange for someone to take you to and from the hospital.
- If you live alone you will also need you organise for someone to help you around the house for the first few days following your procedure as you will have very restricted movement.
- Dr Briggs will also discuss with you how long you will need to take off work to recover after surgery.
Extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty Procedure
- The procedure will begin by marking your body to ensure incisions are made in the right places.
- The surgeon will give you anesthesia so you are “asleep” through the whole surgery.
- Then, the surgeon will begin by creating an incision on your stomach which will start from one hip and extend to the other.
- Following this, the surgeon will make an incision around the navel.
- The surgeon will then move on to remove extra fat and skin and contour around the hips, flanks and abdominal area.
- After removing excess skin, the surgeon will tighten the muscles (if required) and reposition your navel.
- To conclude the surgery your incisions will be sealed with stiches.
- It is important to keep in mind that you will have drainage tubes to drain any excess fluid from your body.
- This concludes the procedure. At this point you will be sent to recovery for monitoring and observation.
- You will likely stay in hospital for at least a few days to check that everything goes smoothly.
Recovery after Extended Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
- Firstly, it is important to keep in mind that each individual and body is different and everybody’s healing will differ slightly.
- As mentioned above, you’ll have small tubes inserted in your body for drainage.
- You will be wearing a compression garment or a bandage that will offer support and help reduce swelling.
- You won’t be able to walk straight away after the surgery but it is important to start walking soon after to encourage proper recovery.
- Walking gets the blood flowing and reduces the chance of blood clotting.
- During the initial two weeks, you will experience swelling, bruising and tightness. Dr Briggs will give you pain killers and antibiotics. Make sure to take all your meds on time.
- It is important you continue wearing your compression garment.
- You can typically return to work or resume most daily activities about two to three weeks after the surgery.
- However, make sure that you are not lifting any heavy weights or doing strenuous exercises.
- You may recover almost completely within a span of 6 weeks but it can vary from person to person.
- Read more about Recovery after Plastic Surgery.
Minimizing Scars after Extended Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty
It is important to remember that all surgical procedures leave scars, even ‘so-called’ scarless methods.
Experienced plastic surgeons are careful about scar placement and minimization, with surgical scars generally fading over time and most scars fading somewhat after 12 months.
We will arrange post-op appointments with our specialist nursing team after your procedure. This is to check that everything is healing well and to also monitor your progress.
You will see your surgeon and/or nurse and/or dermal team about six to eight weeks later for a scar consultation and organise scar management treatments.
The Coco Ruby dermal team conducts a series of follow-up scar treatments using a customized selection of Skin Needling, Healite II LED and massaging with oils, Fraxel Laser, V-Laser, Silicone strips, gels and Steroids can also help manage scars.
Note – The length of your recovery period and scar maturation will depend on your procedure, skin health and other health and lifestyle factors. Recovery times can vary from person to person – but resting helps you heal.
Please avoid subjecting your incision to abrasion or excessive stresses during the recovery period.
How much is an Extended Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) in Melbourne? Prices & Costs
Many Extended Abdominoplasty patients ask about the price and whether the procedure is covered by Medicare or Private Health Insurance.
All procedures are individualized and customized to achieve the desired results for the patient and their excess skin concerns. For this reason, it is hard to determine an exact price that would be valid for an extended Abdominoplasty patient without a consultation first.
During the consultation, Dr Briggs will evaluate your case, talk to you about your wants, possibilities, and your expectations. You will also receive a specific quote for your operation after the consultation.
If you need more information, visit our pricing page to learn more about payment, approximate prices, payment methods, and more.
Funding Extended Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty – Medicare and Payment Plans
Purely cosmetic Extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty procedures are usually NOT covered by Medicare or private health insurance so you must fund the cost of the surgery yourself.
Paying for surgery
Patients can pay for surgery through various methods. These methods include:
- Payment in full at the time of the procedure using accepted payment methods such as credit cards (such as Visa, Mastercard), buy now, pay-later products (such as Afterpay, Openpay, Zip Pay).
- Non-commercial payment arrangements between the medical practitioner and patient, where the payment is made in instalments.
- Medicare rebates, if the surgery is considered medically necessary. (this will not cover the total cost and patients will still have out of pocket costs)
- Private health insurance, if the patient has an appropriate level of cover. (This is unlikely to cover the total cost and patients may still have out of pocket costs)
It is important to note that we do not encourage patients to take on debt or access their superannuation to pay for cosmetic surgery. Additionally, we do not offer or recommend financing schemes to patients, such as loans or commercial payment plans.
How to find an Extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty Surgeon in Melbourne
Your surgical results will depend heavily on the surgeon you choose. Since extended abdominoplasty is a major procedure, you’ll need a surgeon with experience performing the surgery.
In Australia, a plastic surgeon must have the following qualifications:
- An undergraduate degree in medicine, typically a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree.
- A minimum of two years of general medical training as a junior hospital doctor.
- Completion of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) surgical education and training program, which includes at least five years of accredited surgical training, with at least two years in plastic and reconstructive surgery.
- Fellowship with the RACS in plastic and reconstructive surgery.
Plastic surgeons in Australia must also be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and adhere to the standards and guidelines set forth by the Medical Board of Australia.
You also want to ensure the surgeon you choose has:
- Experience in different types of Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty surgeries.
- Available Patient Before and After Photos.
- Detailed recovery plans
- A realiable support team.
Risks and Complications of Extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty
Every surgery comes with a certain degree of risk and complications. It is advisable to choose a qualified surgeon and an accredited facility. The possible risks associated with Extended Abdominoplasty surgery, include;
- Poor healing of incisions
- Numbness or changes in sensation in the abdominal area
- Blood clots
- Seroma or fluid accumulation
- Delayed wound healing
- Necrosis or tissue death
- Skin loss or necrosis
- Anesthesia risks
- Need for revision surgery
It is important to discuss these risks with your surgeon before the procedure to ensure that you fully understand the potential complications and make an informed decision about your surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between an abdominoplasty and an extended Abdominoplasty?
- Abdominoplasty tightens your abdominal region from hip bone to hip bone while an extended Abdominoplasty/Tummy Tuck also addresses your flanks and hip area – usually around to the midline.
- Both procedures may be effective for patients depending on their aesthetic goals.
What is the difference between an extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty and a lower body lift (Belt Lipectomy)?
- A lower body lift or belt lipectomy involves much more than a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). With a lower body lift (belt lipectomy), the surgery is first done on the back and then on the front.
Is extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty a major surgery?
- Yes, it is major surgery.
- An extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty is a more intensive procedure than a traditional Abdominoplasty/Tummy Tuck. Some patients stay in the hospital for one night while others have to stay more than a week.
- With an extended Abdominoplasty, you will need at least 6 weeks to recover completely.
What is the difference between an Extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty and a 360 Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty?
- With an extended Abdominoplasty, incisions go from midline to midline on each side and across the abdomen.
- One side of the table to the other, in other words, as far as the surgeon can go without having to rotate the patient during surgery.
- While a 360 abdominoplasty (as the name suggests) goes the whole way around, like a belt.
How long will I be hunched over after an Extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty?
- You will be hunched over for at least a week after the surgery.
- It takes time to stand up straight after the surgery.
- Its actually best if you can sleep slightly hunched over. As it helps prevent pulling at the incision area.
What are flanks?
- Flanks are the area between ribcage and hipbone.
- It is usually very difficult to lose fat in this area (and even more difficult to get rid of hanging skin).
Will insurance cover extended Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty?
- You may be eligible for a subsidy from Medicare and your Private Health Fund if you meet the strict criteria.
Does extended Abdominoplasty leave big scars?
- Yes, you will have scars after surgery.
- Over time, these scars will likely fade, if you follow the post-operative instructions carefully.
Dr Patrick Briggs Melbourne
Dr Patrick Briggs FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon.
Both he and his team are dedicated to patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.
Want more information about your Procedure?
What to Bring to Your Consultation
- If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
- Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
- You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.
The information provided in this article is for educational and informational proposes. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. The author and publisher of this article make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, or completeness of the content of this article. The information contained in this article is strictly at your own risk.