Tummy Tuck Surgery
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is an effective approach to tightening and repairing weakened muscles in the abdomen. This tummy surgery procedure, performed by Dr Patrick Briggs, can not only boost your confidence but also contours your abdomen.
Abdominoplasty is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries performed by plastic surgeons around the world.
What is an Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is a procedure that focuses on the removal of excess skin, fat and tissue. It also helps restore weakened tummy muscles.
The main goal of this procedure is to create a smoother and firmer abdominal profile. There are many types of abdominoplasty (See below)
An abdominoplasty is not the same as liposuction, although it’s not uncommon for patients to undergo both procedures at the same time. An Abdominoplasty is a major surgery that removes skin and tissue whereas Liposuction removes stubborn fat.
Tummy Surgery is not a quick fix for weight loss as the procedure is only recommended for people with a healthy body mass index (BMI).
Am I a candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
You may be suitable for an Abdominoplasty if you are:
- Physically healthy, but with excess skin that has lost its elasticity throughout the abdominal area
- Within a healthy weight range – a suitable BMI
- A non-smoker or prepared to quit smoking for at least 4-6 weeks prior to and after the surgery
- Bothered by the appearance of the abdominal area
- Its also important that your expectations from abdominoplasty are realistic.
Tummy surgery is not for everyone. You may not be a suitable candidate for this procedure if one (or more) of these criteria apply to you:
- You’re a smoker that won’t quit
- Are still planning to lose a significant amount of weight
- Have undergone previous abdominal surgery that resulted in a significant scar tissue
- Have a BMI higher than 40
- Severe chronic conditions, e.g. diabetes, heart disease
- Might be getting pregnant
Download our tummy tuck checklist
For a smoother and more organised journey through your Abdominoplasty, feel free to download your Abdominoplasty patient checklist.
What are the benefits of a Tummy Tuck?
The advantages of abdominoplasty include:
- Stronger abdominal wall
- Slimmer and more toned appearance
- Firmer abdominal contour that is more proportional with your weight and body type
- Better posture
- Reduction of stress urinary incontinence (if you’ve struggled with that problem)
- Decreased back pain
- Confidence boost
Tummy Tuck Before and After Photos
See more tummy tuck before and after photos of this procedure performed by Dr Patrick Briggs.
What can I expect during an Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty?
Considering it is major surgery, it is best performed in an accredited hospital under general anaesthesia.
Dr Briggs will make incisions to remove most of the skin and fat between the belly button and the pubic hairline during the procedure. The incisions are usually made in a horizontal oval or an elliptical shape.
The exact shape and size of the incision depends on the amount of excess skin than needs to be cut away. Once the abdominal skin is lifted, Dr Briggs repairs weakened abdominal muscles for a full tummy tuck with diastasis recti repair. Then he will you permanent sutures to tighten the fascia that lies over the abdominal muscles.
Dr Briggs also repositions the skin around the belly button during the abdominoplasty procedure and brings it out through a small incision. Then, the belly button is sutured into the normal position. The incision around the navel is often necessary to remove excess and loose skin in the upper abdominal area.
The tummy surgery usually lasts between two to three hours depending on size and complexity. The exact course of the procedure depends on the type of abdominoplasty you need. Below is a list of different types of Tummy Tucks.
Many Different Types of Tummy Surgery
- Mini tummy tuck
- suitable for a small number of patients because it provides minimal improvement.
- This procedure doesn’t reposition the navel.
- It is not intended to remove the excess skin from the upper abdomen.
- A mini tummy tuck leaves a small scar (4-8 inches) above the pubic area.
- Standard or Full tummy tuck
- Requires a hip-to-hip incision below the belly button and another one around the navel.
- The procedure removes the excess skin and repairs abdominal muscles, usually after pregnancy.
- Extended tummy tuck
- Most suitable for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight. The procedure removes excess skin from a wider area than the standard tummy tuck.
- For massive Weight loss patients a 360 tummy tuck or belt lipectomy can removes excess skin and fat completely around waist or beltline.
- Fleur-de-lis tummy tuck
- leaves both horizontal and vertical scar.
- This technique is most suitable for patients who require the most correction.
- The vertical scar is usually necessary in patients with a long torso or in cases when removal of excess skin wouldn’t yield optimum results contour-wise
- Reverse tummy tuck
- lifts and tightens loose, sagging skin from the upper abdomen only.
- This procedure has an incision under the breasts and pulls skin upwards.
- It is rarely done in Australia due to the sub-optimal results.
Recovery after Tummy Tuck
Following surgery, you will have bandages and dressings applied to the incisions.
A compression garment or elastic bandage is usually applied in order to support the healing process and minimise swelling. In fact, you may need to wear a supportive garment up to six weeks after a tummy tuck.
You can also expect to see small, thin tubes placed under the skin. These are drain tubes and are temporarily. Their purpose is to drain excess blood or fluid away that may accumulate in that area.
Bruising, pain, and swelling are normal after such a major surgery, however Dr Briggs will give you instructions on how to make the healing process easier. For example, you are likely to need painkillers and antibiotics to manage pain and prevent infection. You may also need anticoagulants that can help prevent blood clots.
The first few days after surgery, you may find the need to lie with knees angled, and your upper body raised. Furthermore, walking or standing straight is difficult during this time, so you will need to be hunched over.
That, however, does not mean you should remain sedentary. In fact, we encourage light walking, even just around your house as it helps with blood circulation which can help prevent blood clotting.
Approximately one to three weeks after surgery, you will be able to resume light activities such as cooking and small grocery shops, you may be able to drive but this depends on your personal healing rate and you should get the all clear from your surgeon first.
Make sure to avoid sudden movements, stretches, and other activities and positions that may put too much pressure on the incision.
8 weeks after surgery
You can expect to feel yourself again within eight weeks of the procedure. Keep in mind that the exact duration of recovery depends on multiple factors, including; the type of tummy tuck, your age, postsurgical care, and your overall health.
Throughout your recovery, you should keep the incision site both clean and dry. Ensure you change the bandage daily, apply the topical creams at the incision site, and take any surgeon-recommended medications.
Feel free to consult Dr Briggs regarding exercises you can do during recovery. A healthy lifestyle is the best way to make sure the results last.
Minimising Scars after Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty
It is important to remember that all surgical procedures leave scars, including ‘so-called’ scarless methods.
Experienced plastic surgeons are extremely careful about scar placement and minimisation, with surgical scars generally fading over time with most scars being barely visible after 12 months.
We will arrange weekly post-op appointments with our specialist nursing team after your procedure to ensure everything is healing well and to 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 minimisation treatments.
The Coco Ruby dermal team conducts a series of follow-up scar treatments using a customised selection of Skin Needling, Healite II LED and massaging with oils, Fraxel Laser, V-Laser, Silicone strips & gels and Steroids can also help minimise scars. Ask the Coco Ruby Team!
Note – The length of your recovery period will depend on your procedure and your health and lifestyle factors. Recovery times can vary from person to person – resting helps healing.
Please avoid subjecting your incision to abrasion or excessive stresses during the recovery period.
Tummy Tuck FAQs
How painful is a tummy tuck?
- During the surgery, you won’t feel anything due to general anaesthesia.
- After the procedure, it’s normal to feel some pain which fades after the first week.
- On a scale of 1 – 10, the patients often rate the pain around a 6 to 7 during the first week.
- During the second week, pain is often at 3 to 4.
What is involved in a full tummy tuck?
- The full tummy tuck involves an incision from one hip to another and also an incision around the belly button.
How many sizes do you lose with a tummy tuck?
- Generally speaking, patients lose about one to two dress sizes following a tummy tuck.
How long do tummy tucks last?
- Results are meant to be permanent. For that reason, adopting a healthy lifestyle is important.
- A well-balanced diet and regular exercise can help you maintain weight in a healthy range and thereby retain your abdo surgery results.
Does a tummy tuck lift your pubic area?
- A tummy tuck is typically performed with monsplasty, a pubic lift to flatten the excess tissue covering the pubic bone.
Does a tummy tuck lift your thighs?
- A tummy tuck is not meant to lift your thighs, but it can when combined with a thigh lift procedure.
What is the maximum BMI for a tummy tuck?
- A tummy tuck is usually recommended for persons whose BMI is lower than 30, although some healthy patients with BMI between 31 and 39 may be accepted.
- Patients above a BMI of 40 are not accepted for this surgery.
Does a tummy tuck make your waist smaller?
- A tummy tuck can narrow your waistline while creating a flatter abdominal profile.
How do I get my stomach flat after a tummy tuck?
- To get your stomach flat after a tummy tuck, you will need to eat a healthy diet and exercise (when the surgeon approves).
Do celebrities get tummy tucks?
- Yes, they do. A tummy tuck is one of the most popular procedures for celebrities after pregnancy or dramatic weight loss.
Does the fat come back after a tummy tuck?
- Fat can come back after a tummy tuck.
- While abdominoplasty can help remove excess skin and fat, it doesn’t prevent it from coming back again. This is where healthy lifestyle steps in.
Can a tummy tuck come undone?
- Results are supposed to be permanent. With proper post-operative care, adhering to Dr Briggs’s instructions, and a healthy lifestyle, you’ll be able to maintain them.
Should I get a mini or full tummy tuck?
- The exact tummy tuck technique depends on the amount of loose skin you have.
- Dr Briggs will recommend the most suitable approach for your specific needs during the consultation.
What is worse a tummy tuck or C-section?
- Most patients report recovery from a tummy tuck is easier than C-section.
- Of course, this may vary from one person to another.
How can I get my health insurance to pay for a tummy tuck?
- Your insurance may be willing to cover abdominoplasty costs if you’re undergoing reconstructive surgery after weight loss and meet the strict criteria, not for cosmetic purposes only.
How long will I be hunched over after tummy tuck?
- You can expect to be hunched over for several days up to a week after the procedure.
When can I wear jeans after a tummy tuck?
- You will be able to wear jeans three weeks after the procedure.
How can you tell if someone has had a tummy tuck?
- The only way you can tell if someone has had a tummy tuck is if you see their scars.
How much is a tummy tuck in Melbourne?
The cost of abdominoplasty tends to vary as different factors are involved. These factors include skin fold reduction, which needs to be corrected in terms of excess skin, abdominal muscle repair, hernia repair, and liposuction shaping.
The costs also include anaesthetic costs, facility fees, post-operative care, surgery garments, medication, recovery aids, and more.
The actual costs of tummy tuck tend to range from $10,500 to $14,000 for a more affordable procedure with a less experienced surgeon.
Procedures with experienced surgeons tend to be in the range from $14,000 to $18,000 or higher; up to $19,000 or more with premium surgeons. Learn more about the prices of the tummy tuck procedure here.
Funding your Tummy Tuck Procedure
A Tummy tuck may be eligible for Medicare coverage and therefore some Private Health Insurance subsidy if you meet the strict criteria.
Purely cosmetic surgery tummy tuck procedures are usually NOT covered.
If a tummy tuck is done for reconstructive purposes after massive weight loss, you may be eligible for some cover. However, you will still have out of pocket costs.
Finding the best tummy tuck surgeon in Melbourne
Your results will depend on the surgeon you find. Since abdominoplasty is major surgery and challenging procedure, you need the best plastic surgeon you can find.
A top tummy tuck surgeon has the following qualities:
- A Specialist Plastic Surgeon Member of ASPS
- Good Online reviews from patients
- Extensive experience in different types of abdominoplasty
- Patient Before and After Photos
- Extensive knowledge
- A great support team
What Causes the need for a tummy tuck?
Reasons why people opt for a tummy tuck, are numerous but include a protruding, loose, or sagging abdomen. This can happen due to:
- Significant weight fluctuations
- Prior surgery
Not all reasons for a tummy surgery are of cosmetic nature. Abdominoplasty can be performed as reconstructive surgery to:
- Correct obesity-caused abnormalities
- Correct abnormalities caused by disease or surgery, e.g. removal of large pelvic tumours
- Repair structural defects in the abdominal area
- Improve the abdomen contour after hernia repair
Risks and complications of Abdominoplasty
Tummy surgery has a wide range of benefits, but like all surgery, it comes with certain risks. The most common risks and complications of this procedure may include:
- Adverse reaction to anaesthesia
- Changes in skin sensation, e.g. decreased sensation and numbness
- Persistent pain
- Poor wound healing
- Prolonged swelling and/or skin discolouration
- Recurrent looseness of the skin
- Seroma (fluid accumulation beneath the skin)
- Skin loss
- Tissue damage or death
- Unexpected scarring
Not everyone has the same risks. Smoking and prior reactions to any type of surgical procedure increase the likelihood of complications.
During your consultation, Dr Briggs will discuss the risks and complications with you. To learn more about risks associated with plastic surgeries, click here.
A tummy tuck can be performed on its own or in combination with other procedures such as liposuction and breast surgery. Abdominoplasty can also be performed with a mons lift or thigh lift.
Further reading and Medical References
- Abdominoplasty – Health Direct
- Abdominoplasty – American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- Tummy Surgery – Mayo Clinic
- Tummy Tuck Melbourne – Abdominoplasty Victoria – Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery
Celebrities that have had a tummy surgery
A tummy tuck is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures among celebrities, usually after giving birth or losing a significant amount of weight. Some, of many, celebrities who had the procedure include:
- Patricia Heaton
- Sharon Osbourne
- Shar Jackson
- Kerry Katona
Is a Tummy Tuck worth it?
Getting rid of excess skin, especially after a significant weight loss, is difficult if not impossible to achieve by diet and exercise alone, the surgery really helps.
Besides a decreased dress size, abdo surgery has been medically shown to boost your confidence and improve overall health – reducing incontinence and back pain. The final decision on whether to opt for abdominoplasty is up to you, and it’s something to discuss with Dr Briggs.
How old – how young?
The abdominoplasty is usually performed on patients from 18 to 68 years old, or even older, depending on their general health.
Other Non-surgical alternatives to Tummy Surgery
Some of the most common non-surgical alternatives for abdominoplasty include:
- CoolSculpting – administers intense cold to fat cells to freeze and destroy them.
- RF Tightening – applies thermal energy to the abdominal area to tighten loose skin.
- EMSCULPT – induces muscle contractions to work out, tighten, and tone the muscles
Keep in mind that non-surgical alternatives are limited and success is not guaranteed. Abdominoplasty could be the most effective way, for most people with significant excess skin, to tighten their abdominal wall and loose the excess skin.
Planning your abdo patient journey
Your patient journey starts with a consultation with Dr Briggs. During the consultation, he will examine the abdominal area, assess your overall health, and provide the most suitable approach for your needs and expected results. After all, every patient is unique and may require a different abdominoplasty technique.
Why choose Dr Patrick Briggs?
Dr Patrick Briggs is a specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeon with a down-to-earth approach to patients, extensive experience, and a passion for his work. Being highly skilled in complex plastic and cosmetic surgeries, Dr Briggs is an obvious choice for abdominoplasty. Moreover, he pays attention to every detail and puts your needs and wellbeing first. Learn more about Dr Briggs here.
Dr Patrick Briggs Melbourne Plastic Surgeon – FRCS (Plas)
Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Melbourne
Dr Patrick Briggs is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon. Both he and his team are dedicated to excellence in patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.
Not only does he offer high-quality results he also offers natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results. Furthermore, he is experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice.
How can we help?
Dr Briggs’ Patient Coordinators take pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 8 am – 6 pm on Weekdays.
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.