Abdominoplasty surgery, also commonly referred to as a ‘tummy tuck’, is designed to address bodily changes that can occur from massive weight loss or pregnancy. By removing excess skin and fat, the area is tightened, lifted, and flattened, restoring weakened or separated muscles to create firmer abdominal wall muscles. It is not designed to replace normal weight loss strategies such as a healthy diet and regular exercise but is an option for those patients who struggle with stubborn excess fat or skin despite a healthy lifestyle. For some patients, a tummy tuck might be that final step to achieving the body of their dreams and breaking through those last barriers to achieve self-confidence. Plastic surgeon Dr Grant Fraser-Kirk has performed over 500 abdominoplasty surgeries with a high rate of patient satisfaction.
What can be achieved with abdominoplasty?
Our skin can stretch to accommodate weight gain and pregnancy, but that elasticity can fade over time, meaning it will not always snap back into place once the weight is lost. Patients who have achieved their ideal weight can still have excess skin or fat present, and in that case, abdominoplasty may be a suitable option for you. The surgery can achieve the following:
- Create an improved contour of the abdomen
- Remove loose, elasticised skin
- Repair abdominal hernias
- Create higher quality skin with reduced visibility of stretch marks and imperfections
- Repair separated or weakened abdominal muscles
- Remove excess fat
- Improved self-esteem and confidence
How is an abdominoplasty performed?
Abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthetic. Dr Fraser-Kirk uses a liposculpting technique to tone and contour the abdomen area as fat deposits are removed, meaning liposuction will be conducted before any incision is made. Once liposuction is complete, there are several techniques that can be used to eliminate loose skin, which will vary depending upon the extent of skin to be removed.
- Mini Tummy Tuck
A small incision is made above the pubic hairline where abdominal skin is pulled downwards to trim excess skin. Because no muscle tightening is involved, the recovery time may be quicker.
- Full Tummy Tuck
An incision is made from hip to hip above the pubic hairline, with an additional incision around the belly button. The skin is then pulled downwards to trim the loose skin. Any separated or weakened abdominal muscles are repaired with permanent stitches to prevent future separation.
Once the desired amount of loose skin and excess fat has been removed, Dr Fraser-Kirk will close the incisions with sutures.
What can I expect following my surgery?
Some light bleeding through your dressings is normal and should only last a couple of days.
When you come home from surgery you will have a compression garment in place with some absorbent combine pads in place.
There will be two drains coming from the incision site. The drains will remain in place until less than 20ml is collected in a 24hr period.
All dressings are to remain in place and dry until your post operative appointment.
Bruising and swelling is normal and varies for each patient. Some numbness around the belly button is also normal at this stage.
You should rest. Sleep supported by pillows under your head and feet for 7 days post operatively. This will remove the tension on your abdominal wound. Avoid any bending down.
You will leave hospital with white compression stockings on your legs; these will stay on for 3 days to help maintain circulation and prevent blood clots.
No driving for at least 10 days. 6 weeks of rest with no heavy lifting is required.
Light walking can be resumed 2 weeks after surgery. No strenuous exercise for at least 6 weeks.
Pain relief will be prescribed to you to assist with the discomfort. If you run out of these, Panadol and Ibuprofen should be sufficient. It is common to experience some bloating and constipation following your surgery – if required, use coloxyl and Senna.
Aspirin should be avoided.
Once your surgical dressings have been removed taping of the scars is recommended. Micropore tape can be used to tape the wound for up to three months post operatively. Taping the wound prevents stretching of the scar and promotes scar maturity. Micropore can be purchased from most pharmacies and will need to be changed once weekly. You can get this wet, pat dry after showering. Please notify Dr Fraser-Kirk if your scar appears lumpy, red or raised. A more suitable dressing may be required.
If you experience pain, widespread redness or offensive discharge from your surgical site please contact Dr Fraser-Kirk. These symptoms can indicate infection and will require antibiotics.
How much will abdominoplasty surgery cost in Sunshine Coast?
Due to the highly personal nature of an abdominoplasty procedure, costs can vary depending on a patient’s individual needs. During your consultation, Dr Fraser-Kirk will evaluate your health and wellbeing, including your desired outcomes for the surgery.
This will influence the cost of the surgery, including other factors such as surgeon costs, anaesthetist fees, hospital fees, and post-operative care costs. Some of these costs may be eligible to be covered by Medicare or a private healthcare provider, but this can vary for patients depending upon what criteria they meet.
For any questions regarding procedure costs, please contact us.
What are the associated risks and complications?
Any medical or cosmetic procedure a patient chooses to undergo has a degree of risks and complications involved. The following risks and complications are associated with abdominoplasty:
- Excessive bleeding
- Anaesthesia complications
- Poor scarring
- Fluid build-up
- Constrained movement
- Numbness and changes to skin sensation
- Skin discolouration
Patients should follow their personalised recovery instructions, as given to them by Dr Fraser-Kirk, to lessen visible scarring where possible, and reduce the potential for risks or complications to arise.
Notify us if you experience any of the following
- Heavy bleeding from the incision site that is difficult to control
- If you have severe or increasing pain not relieved by Panadol
- Temperature above 38 degrees celsius or chills
- Redness around the incision site that is spreading
- Pus or discharge that is foul smelling
- DO NOT SMOKE. Smoking delays healing, increases risk of infection and complications can result.
Book your consultation with Dr Grant Fraser-Kirk
We prioritise a patient-focused approach at our clinic, and therefore, a thorough consultation with Dr Fraser-Kirk will ensure each patient’s individual health and anticipated goals for the procedure are discussed and agreed upon. That way, a tailored surgical solution can be created to empower our patients in becoming their best selves.