Tummy tucks (also called an abdominoplasty) are a common surgery performed by specialist plastic surgeons. Men and women alike have the surgery for many reasons including medical and to remove skin after weight loss.
What is abdominoplasty “tummy tuck” surgery?
Abdominoplasty can repair separated or tighten loose abdominal muscles after having a child or due to aging, and remove excess skin after being stretched through pregnancy or weight loss.
Abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”) may:
- Improve bladder function
- Repair abdominal muscles that are separated or weak
- Decrease skin infections or itchiness excess skin may cause
- Help to reduce back pain
- Create a smoother, firmer stomach.
Who is eligible for surgery?
While your surgeon removes excess fat during tummy tuck surgery, it is not weight loss surgery. So a tummy tuck is not usually a suitable procedure if you carry moderate or excess weight around your stomach. You are an ideal candidate if you are within your ideal weight range.
Many men and women seek a tummy tuck every year and have successful results, but there are still misconceptions about this surgery. These can stop people from having the surgery.
Misconceptions about tummy tuck surgery
Have you been considering a tummy tuck but some of the things you hear about the procedure put you off?
There are many myths around tummy tucks so we debunk some of them here.
“Tummy tucks are only for women”
Abdominoplasties/Tummy tucks are not exclusively a woman’s domain.
Men too can have loose skin after weight loss and stubborn fat deposits caused by inactivity, aging or diet removed. There is no reason they cannot get the same good results as women.
“A Tummy Tuck has a Long, painful recovery”
How painful a abdominoplasty is depends on whether muscle repair is performed, and how much tightening is required, as well as an individual’s tolerance to pain. But it is normal to have discomfort after surgery and you can control this with the pain medication we provide.
You will be able to get up soon after surgery which is good for blood circulation. However, you should avoid lifting and bending too soon and avoid sleeping on your stomach.
Although you can get up after surgery you will need at least three weeks off work, but this depends on the type of work you do. You can start lightly exercising after four weeks and should fully recover in six weeks.
“A Tummy Tuck is Great for losing weight”
Thinking a tummy tuck is great for losing weight is one of the most common misconceptions. This is not a weight loss procedure or an option for treating obesity.
Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure to tighten the skin around your stomach and to repair any split or loose muscles in your abdomen. If you are carrying excessive fat in this area, a tummy tuck will not give you the result you want.
“A tummy tuck has ugly, raised scarring”
Abdominoplasty scarring will take at least 12 months to fully heal. During this time it will continue to change its appearance.
Depending on the type of tummy tuck, the incision can be from hip to hip usually placed below the bikini line. How it heals depends on your genetics and the shape and size of the incision. Even when you have a skilled specialist plastic surgeon performing the surgery, you must adhere to the post-operative instructions to get a good outcome.
At first your scar will appear white and fine and then progress from a deep purple colour, to red and then pink. It will slowly fade into a pale purple and eventually it will go white. This whole process can take up to two years so it is important not to focus on the state of your scar unless it is painful or there is a medical reason.
“Pregnancy is unsafe after a tummy tuck”
Another myth is that getting pregnant after abdominoplasty is not safe. It is safe to get pregnant after a tummy tuck.
A lot of women wait until after they finish having their children because pregnancy may cause the abdominal muscles to separate and stretch the skin again. If this occurs, you can have revision surgery.
“I am too old for a tummy tuck”
Depending on the state of your health, age should not prevent you getting a abdominoplasty. While younger people get good results from the procedure, you can still benefit if you have sagging skin when you are older. It is not about your age. It is about your overall wellbeing.
When determining if abdominoplasty is right for you, a specialist plastic surgeon will consider:
- What you expect. You need to be realistic in your expectations of the outcome you want.
- How much you weigh. It is best to be near or at your ideal weight before the procedure. It is important to have a healthy diet and regularly exercise beforehand to get the best results.
- Whether you smoke. Smoking can hinder your healing and may increase the risk of complications.
- Overall health. Your surgeon will check for any pre-existing conditions that could negatively affect surgery.
What does Medicare approved mean?
Medicare does not cover all types of tummy tucks. For Medicare tummy tuck eligibility under the 30175 Medicare code, it must be to repair the rectus diastasis (abdominal) muscles after pregnancy.
To be eligible for the Medicare rebate, you must have:
- Not been pregnant in the last year.
- A diastasis that is at least 3 cm wide as shown using diagnostic imaging.
- Symptoms such as severe pain or discomfort in the area, urinary symptoms and/or lower back pain caused by the diastasis.
- Not responded to non-surgical treatment such as physiotherapy.
If you are eligible for the Medicare rebate, you can only claim it once.
Contact our specialist plastic surgeons for an initial consultation to find out if you are a good candidate for a abdominoplasty tummy tuck.