tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) with sydney plastic surgeon dr ellis choy
Many women find it challenging to get their tummies back to their pre-baby state after pregnancy. They often complain about lax abdominal muscles, sagging skin, stubborn belly fat and bulges around the waist. Unfortunately, no amount of physical exercise and dieting can get rid of these conditions. Precision body contouring and tummy tuck procedures are the only solutions. They can help you achieve a firmer and shapelier tummy and a natural-looking navel area.
One reason why women struggle to get their tummies back in shape is that pregnancy and childbirth cause something known as rectus divarication – a separation of the abdominal muscles. This condition can cause a “belly pooch” as well as lower back pain, pelvic floor dysfunction and increased risk of a hernia. Abdominoplasty eliminates these issues by restoring core muscles and leaves patients with a firm, rejuvenated midsection.
A tummy tuck procedure can be done on its own or in conjunction with another body contouring procedure like liposuction. It eliminates sagging folds of skin, gets rid of loose belly fat and takes care of a bulging waistline. The tummy tuck surgery also repairs torn abdominal muscles and alleviates the associated symptoms including bladder weakness and constipation. Women who undergo the procedure experience a renewed sense of self-confidence and feel more feminine and attractive.
TYPES OF TUMMY TUCKS
Tummy tuck surgery is undoubtedly one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed today. Dr Ellis Choy, one of Australia’s leading plastic surgeons, helps patients achieve a curvier, natural-looking waistline that’s free from stubborn residual fat. The procedure also helps in eliminating unwanted stretch marks below the belly button.
The decision regarding which type of tummy tuck is appropriate for you is made during a personal, one-on-one consultation with Dr Choy. This appointment will involve a review of your concerns and goals, as well as a physical examination. Dr Choy will recommend the technique that will achieve your desired results and create a natural-appearing outcome with the least scarring possible.
Full Tummy Tuck
A full abdominoplasty is the most popular option. This procedure addresses the entire tummy area by removing excess fat and loose skin and tightening muscles in the abdominal wall. During a full tummy tuck, an incision is made across the lower abdomen from hip bone to hip bone and the skin is elevated to provide access to the underlying muscles. The muscle edges are sutured together, essentially creating an internal corset that firms the abdominal wall and gives the waist a more pleasing shape. The skin is then pulled downward and excess tissue is removed, along with any stretch marks in the area. The belly button is isolated and repositioned in a full tummy tuck.
This technique yields a dramatically tighter contour. Patients who opt for a full tummy tuck want to rejuvenate the complete length of the abdominal wall — above and below the belly button — and require muscle repair to achieve their desired improvements.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck is the least invasive type of abdominoplasty. This procedure only addresses the area below the navel and does not allow for full reconstruction of the abdominal muscles. Compared to a full abdominoplasty, the mini technique involves a smaller treatment area, a slightly shorter scar and no repositioning of the belly button. The result of a mini tummy tuck is a flatter abdomen achieved by removing loose skin and excess fat in the lower abdominal area. This approach can be advantageous for patients whose concerns are limited to the region below the belly button and who are interested in shorter recovery time and reduced scarring.
A mini tummy tuck may be ideal for individuals who have a taut abdominal wall, but are struggling to get rid of excessive tissue below the navel. If a patient has muscle laxity and significant protrusion of their abdomen, a full abdominoplasty may be recommended instead.
Extended Tummy Tuck
Extended tummy tuck procedures — also known as ultra-radical abdominoplasty or fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty — are designed to remove even more excess fat and skin than a full tummy tuck. When this technique is used, the incisions form the shape of an inverted T. One horizontal incision is made above the pubic area, as in a standard tummy tuck. The second incision is placed vertically through the midline of the abdomen.
An extended tummy tuck is designed for individuals with a grossly excessive amount of loose skin. These tend to be women and men who have achieved massive weight loss. While they successfully lose the unwanted fat, their skin lacks the elasticity to “snap back” and conform to their slimmer shape. The inverted T scar is larger and more difficult to conceal than the standard tummy tuck scar, but for many patients, this is a worthwhile trade-off.
Reverse Tummy Tuck
A reverse tummy tuck removes loose skin exclusively from the upper abdomen. The incisions are placed beneath the breasts at the natural breast crease. The abdominal skin is then pulled up, excess skin is removed and the incisions are sutured closed. A reverse tummy tuck doesn’t involve tightening of the middle or lower abdominal muscles or repositioning of the belly button.
Individuals who have a tight lower abdomen and lax skin in the upper abdomen may benefit from the reverse tummy tuck. Patients who have experienced dramatic weight loss are often excellent candidates for this technique. A reverse tummy tuck will not give patients with excess tissue below the navel the tight, sculpted shape they desire.
Lower Body Lift
A lower body lift, or belt lipectomy, is a comprehensive procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen, flanks, thighs, hips and buttocks. During the surgery, an incision is made around the circumference of the torso to remove wrinkled, folded and sagging skin that distorts the shape and proportions of the lower body. This is a delicate, sculptural process. A surgeon with considerable technical skill and a keen aesthetic eye is needed to create the most beautiful and natural body contour.
Acceptance of some visible scarring is necessary with a lower body lift. Because of the extensive nature of this procedure, it is best suited to individuals with gross circumferential tissue excess. Many patients considering a lower body lift have experienced massive weight loss and are looking to fine-tune their results and enjoy a more active lifestyle.
TUMMY TUCK CANDIDATES
Dr Choy schedules an initial consultation with each patient to discuss critical details including their surgical goals, current health status and medical conditions, prior surgeries and lifestyle habits such as alcohol and tobacco use.
Good candidates for tummy tuck surgery have a significant degree of abdominal wall laxity — often as a result of rectus divarication — and a substantial amount of loose skin. This excess skin can create an “apron” that hangs downward, resulting in irritation and infection in the folded area. Many tummy tuck candidates struggle with a constant lower abdominal pouch that makes it look as though they’re permanently pregnant. These challenges cannot be addressed adequately with diet and exercise.
Not everyone is a suitable candidate for abdominoplasty. Before deciding that a tummy tuck is right for you, you must consider your goals carefully. A tummy tuck is a significant procedure that delivers both cosmetic and functional benefits — in order to achieve this, you must be prepared for a complex procedure, an extended recovery period with restrictions, and a scar. Expectations that do not include these aspects of the procedure are unrealistic. Other factors that could make a tummy tuck inadvisable include pre-existing medical conditions, tobacco use and multiple previous abdominal surgeries.
One of the most important considerations is a patient’s current weight. Abdominoplasty is not a weight loss procedure and should only be considered only after a patient has exhausted all conservative, noninvasive options. To be approved for this procedure, you must demonstrate your ability to stick to a diet and exercise regime and maintain a stable weight. This commitment will be necessary to maintain your results after the surgery. A BMI under 30 is ideal, but patients above that are also considered on a case by case basis. Dr Choy recommends postponing surgery if you plan to lose a substantial amount of weight or have children in the future.
THE TUMMY TUCK PROCEDURE
To perform a full tummy tuck, Dr Choy makes a horizontal incision just above the pubic area under general anaesthetic. Once the skin and fat layers are separated from the abdominal wall, he sutures the abdominal muscles together to tighten them. The skin and fat layers are then pulled over the abdominal wall and sutured together. Dr Choy will also make another opening for the navel. Any excess skin that goes over the incision is removed. Modern abdominoplasty procedures now involve liposuction as well. It further improves the contours of the body and delivers exceptional results.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER THE SURGERY
Before you leave the clinic, Dr Ellis Choy or a member of his plastic surgery team will perform an outpatient consultation with you to let you know what to expect. Plan to remain in the hospital for a minimum of 48 hours and take things easy for the first two weeks after surgery. Dr Choy places drainage tubes just below the incision. These tubes allow fluids to leak out as you heal to prevent it from building up around the wound. The sutures are bandaged with a special tape, and they’re removed approximately a week after the surgery.
There will be a degree of bruising and swelling around your abdomen and some numbing of the area between your belly button and the surgical scar. You may find it difficult to stand up and move around straight away, but this will get easier over time. These symptoms are common and will fade over the weeks that follow your surgery. You will be given a compression garment to reduce the swelling. Wear it day and night for six to eight weeks. After that, you may choose to continue wearing it during the day only for another six to eight weeks.
You will need to refrain from lifting heavy items and performing strenuous activities initially. Avoid exercise entirely for the first four weeks. Around six to eight weeks, you may gradually begin to resume most of your regular fitness routine. Exercises that focus on the abdominal region should ideally be avoided for at least six months while the muscles heal and stabilise. Cease doing anything that causes you to feel strain in your abs. Most patients return to normal after six weeks.
THE TUMMY TUCK AND THE BIKINI LINE
You might have heard about a bikini line tummy tuck. You may also have seen tummy tuck images where the scar is less visible and pronounced. So, what is this all about?
Bikini line tummy tuck plastic surgery uses an area below the bikini line as an access point. It still creates a scar running from hip to hip, but this scar is neatly hidden beneath the line of the bikini and is completely invisible with most outfits, even those that display the midriff. This is a popular choice at Dr Ellis Choy’s clinic, thanks to the improved aesthetics and the ingenious way of disguising the scar.
PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF COSMETIC SURGERY
The benefits of a tummy tuck procedure from Dr Ellis Choy are both physical and emotional. On the physical side, a tummy tuck will help you regain a slimmer and more toned figure, particularly around the waist. The procedure will help you with weight loss in the short term and in keeping that weight off in the long term. On an emotional and psychological level, tummy tuck cosmetic surgery removes excess skin and folds around the abdominal area, which can greatly increase the confidence and emotional well-being of patients.
THE ROLE OF DIET AND EXERCISE IN A TUMMY TUCK PROCEDURE
Abdominoplasty is a fast-acting procedure with immediate and visible results. Additional benefits become increasingly pronounced as the area continues to heal. However, if you are to continue experiencing great results in the long term, diet and exercise are essential.
First and foremost, it should be mentioned that a tummy tuck is a surgical process. Your body must be given time to rest and recuperate, which means no exercise other than walking immediately after the procedure. Dr Choy or a member of his team will consult with you about when you can start exercising again.
Once the required recovery period has passed, exercise and diet play a major role in preserving the results achieved by a tummy tuck. Patients should aim for a well-balanced diet which includes plenty of protein to build muscle strength and to support the initial weight loss. The key to maintaining a healthy weight is to use more calories than we take in from our food and drink. Patients should be exercising every day and should be mindful of the calories they are ingesting.
By combining a healthy diet and a high level of exercise, patients can get the very best out of their tummy tuck procedure. Long-lasting physical and emotional benefits are what we aim to provide. Together, we can make it happen.
WHAT RESULTS TO EXPECT FROM YOUR TUMMY TUCK
This procedure leaves you with a fabulous looking tummy that’s free from stretch marks, loose skin and bulges, and gives you the confidence to go out in swimsuits and figure-hugging clothes. It also gives you greater abdominal muscle tautness and control. To picture your results, imagine your stomach transforming from a waterbed into a trampoline. Tummy tuck scars at the incision site remain hidden beneath your undergarments and fade over a period of time.
If you would like to learn more or book a consultation, simply get in touch with the team today. We serve all patients in Sydney, Coffs Harbour and all over Australia & beyond. Call us on 02 8962 9388 or complete the enquiry form.
Tummy Tuck Information Sheet
Download and print out the Tummy Tuck Information Sheet that includes a list of questions to ask Dr Choy during your appointment.