Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty Surgery
A Tummy tuck/Abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that may help alter the appearance of the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat while tightening the underlying muscles.
It is generally sought after by individuals who have undergone significant weight loss, pregnancy, or have loose abdominal skin due to ageing.
An Abdominoplasty may help achieve a flatter and firmer abdominal contour, altering overall body shape.
Abdominoplasty is not a quick fix for weight loss. In fact, the procedure is only recommended for people with a healthy body mass index (BMI).
This procedure involves careful planning, skilled surgical techniques, and a proper understanding of individual goals and expectations.
If you’re considering this procedure, it’s important to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon who can assess your suitability and guide you through the process to achieve desired results.
What are the reasons to undergo an Abdominoplasty?
Reasons why people opt for Abdominoplasty/Tummy Tuck Surgery, are numerous but include a protruding abdomen and excess skin. This can happen due to:
- Significant weight fluctuations
- Prior surgery
Not all reasons for 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
- Alter the abdomen contour after hernia repair
Am I a suitable candidate for a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty?
You may be suitable for an Abdominoplasty if you are:
- In good overall health
- Suffer from stubborn localized pockets of abdominal fat, that are resistant to diet and excercise.
- Suffer from loose skin in the abdomen (usually a result of weight loss, pregnancy or ageing)
- Have separated or weakened abdominal muscles (Diastasis recti)
- Have stable weight and a suitable BMI – Within a healthy weight range.
- Are a non-smoker or prepared to quit smoking for at least 6 weeks both before and after surgery
- Have realistic expectations about the surgery.
Download our Abdominoplasty Checklist
Feel free to download your Abdominoplasty patient checklist.
What are the potential outcomes of a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty?
The potential outcomes of abdominoplasty include:
- Tighten abdominal muscles (Stronger abdominal wall)
- Removes excess skin and fat
- Altered abdominal contour that might be more proportional with your weight and body type
- Altered posture (through repairing weak abdominal muscles)
- Reduction of stress urinary incontinence (if you’ve struggled with that problem)
- Decrease in back pain
Abdominoplasty Before and After Photos
See more tummy tuck/Abdominoplasty before and after photos of this procedure performed by Dr Patrick Briggs.
The photos on this website and in our office are for informational purposes. The images demonstrate the potential outcomes of procedures. Individual results will vary, and effects cannot be guaranteed. The photos do not promise or guarantee specific results. They are meant to help visualise potential outcomes.
Each patient is unique, and many factors affect surgical results.
In consultations, Dr. Briggs evaluates each patient and discusses realistic expectations.
What can I expect during an Abdominoplasty?
The abdominoplasty procedure, also known as a tummy tuck, typically involves the following steps:
Because it is a major surgery, this procedure should be performed in an accredited hospital under general anesthesia.
The surgeon makes an incision along the lower abdomen, the exact shape and size of the incision depends on the amount of excess skin than needs to be cut away.
The skin is separated from the underlying abdominal muscles to gain access to the abdominal area. This allows the surgeon to remove excess fat and skin.
If necessary, Dr Briggs repairs weakened abdominal muscles (full tummy tuck with diastasis recti repair).
Excess fat and skin removal
The surgeon then removes excess fat and skin from the abdominal area (Liposuction may also be performed to reduce stubborn fat).
Repositioning and closure
The remaining skin is repositioned, and the incisions are carefully closed using sutures or surgical adhesive. Drain tubes may be placed temporarily to help remove excess fluid.
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.
Dressings and compression garments
Dressings and a compression garment are applied to the treated area to support the healing process, minimize swelling, and provide support.
The patient is provided with detailed post-operative instructions, including wound care, medication, activity restrictions, and follow-up appointments.
It’s important to note that the exact steps may vary depending on the specific surgical technique used and the individual patient’s needs. It is best to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon to discuss the details of the procedure and any specific consideration.
Length of procedure
The surgery usually lasts between two to three hours depending on the complexity of the procedure. The exact course of the procedure depends on the type of abdominoplasty you need. Below is a list of different types of Tummy Tucks (Abdominoplasty).
Different Types of Abdominoplasty Surgery
Standard or Full Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty
- Requires a hip-to-hip incision below the belly button and another one around the navel.
- The procedure removes the excess skin and may repair abdominal muscles if required.
- Most suitable for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight.
- The procedure removes excess skin from a wider area than the standard Abdominoplasty. (table to table).
- 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 on the lower abdomen wouldn’t yield the desired results.
- Lifts and tightens loose skin from the upper abdomen only.
- This procedure has an incision under the breasts and pulls skin upwards.
- It is rarely done in Australia.
Download a free guide
Learn everything about tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) through the ultimate procedure guide that you can download for free by clicking here.
If you’d like more information about a particular surgery, please call our surgical support team on (03) 8849 1467 between 9 am – 5 pm on weekdays.
Risks and complications of Abdominoplasty
Tummy surgery (abdominoplasty) has a wide range of potential outcomes, but like all surgery, it comes with certain risks. The most common risks and complications of this procedure include:
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.
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- 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
Recovery after Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty
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 minimize swelling. You will likely need to wear a support/compression garment for around six weeks after an Abdominoplasty.
You can also expect to see small, thin tubes placed under the skin, after surgery. These are drain tubes and are temporarily, their purpose is to drain excess blood or fluid away that may accumulate in the surgical area.
Bruising, pain, and swelling are normal after such a major surgery, however Dr Briggs will give you instructions on how to manage this. For example, you will be given a prescription for both painkillers and antibiotics to manage pain and prevent infection. You may also need anticoagulants that can help prevent blood clots.
In 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 Abdominoplasty, 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 and take any surgeon-recommended medications.
Feel free to consult Dr Briggs regarding exercises you can do during recovery.
Minimizing 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 careful about scar placement and minimization, with surgical scars generally fading over 12 months.
We will arrange 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 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. If you have any questions about this you can ask the Coco Ruby Team
How much is a Abdominoplasty in Melbourne?
The cost of Abdominoplasty tends to vary as different factors are involved. These factors include skin fold reduction, what 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 Abdominoplasty tend to range from between $10,000 and $20,000
Lower cost Abdominoplasty is usually between $10,500 to $14,000 but will usually be done by a less experienced/less qualified surgeon.
Procedures with highly experienced surgeons tend to be in the range from $14,000 to $18,000 or higher; up to $19,000 or more with premium plastic surgeons.
Learn more about the prices of the tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedure here.
Will Medicare cover my Abdominoplasty?
Medicare coverage for abdominoplasty/tummy tuck surgery, depends on several factors. In general, Medicare does not provide coverage for cosmetic procedures performed solely for aesthetic purposes. However, there are situations where Medicare may provide coverage for an abdominoplasty if it is deemed medically necessary. Medicare may consider coverage for an abdominoplasty if it is considered reconstructive or functional rather than purely cosmetic.
Examples of situations where Medicare coverage may be considered include:
- Significant weight loss
- If you have undergone significant weight loss, resulting in excess skin that causes functional problems or skin-related health issues, Medicare may provide coverage for the removal of the excess skin through an abdominoplasty.
- Abdominal hernia repair
- If you have an abdominal hernia that requires surgical repair, Medicare may cover the abdominoplasty as part of the hernia repair procedure.
- Documentation of medical necessity
- To be eligible for Medicare coverage, there must be sufficient documentation from your healthcare provider stating the medical necessity of the abdominoplasty procedure.
- This documentation should clearly outline the functional problems or health issues caused by the excess skin.
It’s important to note that each case is evaluated on an individual basis, and coverage decisions may vary. It is recommended to consult with your healthcare provider and Medicare directly to determine if your specific situation qualifies for coverage.
Medicare Number update
The Australian Government has reinstated a Medicare Item Number for Abdominoplasty for some post-pregnancy patients suffering from Diastasis Recti (Split Abdominal 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.
You will still have out-of-pocket costs.
Paying for your Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty Procedure
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.
Finding a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty surgeon Melbourne
Your results will heavily depend on the surgeon you choose. Since abdominoplasty is major surgery and challenging procedure, you need an experienced plastic surgeon.
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 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (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 Abdominoplasty.
- Available Patient Before and After Photos.
- Detailed recovery plans
- A reliable support team.
Other Non-surgical alternatives to Abdominoplasty 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
Please NOTE that Dr Briggs does NOT offer or recommend these treatments.
Keep in mind that non-surgical alternatives are limited and success is not guaranteed. Abdominoplasty may be the most suitable way, for most people with significant excess skin, to tighten their abdominal wall and lose the excess skin.
Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty FAQs
How painful is a tummy tuck/abdominoplasty?
- After the procedure, it’s normal to feel some pain which lessens as time passes.
- Pain is relative and will depend on a persons pain tolerance.
How long do abdominoplasty results 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 abdominoplasty surgery results.
Does a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty lift your pubic area?
- A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is typically performed with Monsplasty, a pubic lift to flatten the excess tissue covering the pubic bone.
What is the maximum BMI for a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty?
- An Abdominoplasty/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 usually suitable for this surgery.
Does the fat come back after a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty?
- Fat can come back after an Abdominoplasty.
- While abdominoplasty may help remove excess skin and fat, it doesn’t prevent it from coming back again.
- Which is why maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital for longevity of results.
How long will I be hunched over after Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty?
- You can expect to be hunched over for several days up to a week after the procedure.
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
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.