Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)



Pregnancy, massive weight loss and aging can cause significant skin redundancy and laxity in the abdomen. The redundant skin is stretched-out and hanging down from the tummy like an apron. Stretch marks may appear on the skin. Weakening of abdominal musculature may occur at the same time, causing protrusion of the abdomen. Diet, exercise, or liposuction can reduce fat deposit in the abdomen but cannot remove redundant skin and repair the weakened abdominal muscle.


Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a surgical procedure to remove excess abdominal skin and to tighten underlying abdominal muscles to restore a flatter, firmer and more youthful abdominal profile. Tummy tuck is done by separating the skin from the abdominal wall, repairing the weakened abdominal muscle, removing the excess skin, and then pulling down and repositioning the remaining skin to create a tight and firm abdominal profile. Tummy tuck is usually combined with liposuction to remove excess abdominal fat. The results are a tight and flat abdomen and a slim waistline. The scar from a tummy tuck is located vert low on the abdomen and is hidden within the bikini line. For patients who had previous Caesarean section surgery the old Caesarean scar will be removed during tummy tuck surgery.


There are different types of abdominoplasty (see Surgical Techniques). The decision to use which type of abdominoplasty depends on the amount of loose skin, excess fat and laxity of the stomach muscles.





  1. Inform the doctor of any pre-existing medical conditions and drug allergy. All medical conditions must be treated and stabilized before surgery.
  2. Stop smoking at least one week before surgery. Smoking is harmful to wound healing and increases the risks of other post-operation complications.
  3. Stop the following medications and supplements from one week before surgery until one week after surgery.
    1. All supplements containing vitamin E, ginseng, ginkgo, garlic, fish oil, and other ingredients that increase bleeding during the procedure. Other supplements, traditional medicine, and herbs, in which ingredients are unknown, have to stop as well.
    2. Medicine that increases bleeding during the procedure such as aspirin, NSAIDs, and warfarin. However, you may need to consult your physician who prescribed the medication before you stop them.
  4. On the day of surgery, wear simple and comfortable clothing. Do not wear any makeup. Do not wear any jewelry and metal objects on the face and body.





Duration: 3-4 hours

Anaesthesia: General anaesthesia

Hospitalization: Daycare for mini-abdominoplasty. At least one-night stay for a standard abdominoplasty. 2-5 days for an extended abdominoplasty.

Recovery*: Back to work in 7 days, light exercise after 2 weeks, heavy exercise after 4 weeks.

* The actual recovery speed depends on the types of abdominoplasty and may vary from person to person.


Surgery Technique:


The surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen. This is followed by separating the skin from the abdominal wall, repairing the weakened abdominal muscle, removing the excess skin, and then pulling down and repositioning the remaining skin to create a tight and firm abdominal profile. The umbilicus will remain in its normal position and not get pulled down together with the skin. A tummy tuck is almost always combined with liposuction to remove excess fat.


There are different types of abdominoplasty and the decision to use which type of abdominoplasty depends on the amount of loose skin and the severity of weakened abdominal muscles.

  1. Mini Abdominoplasty: This procedure is suitable for a patient with mild to moderate severity where the excess skin and fat are limited to the lower part of the tummy and there is no significant weakening of . The incision is short and confined on the central part of the lower abdomen. Recovery is much faster than other types of abdominoplasty.
  2. Standard Abdominoplasty: Standard abdominoplasty is the most common type of abdominoplasty performed. This technique is recommended for patients with moderate to severe abdominal skin excess and laxity and there a significant weakening of abdominal muscle. The incision extends from hip to hip, just above the pubic hairline.  A standard tummy tuck allows both the upper and lower abdomen to be tightened and contoured, and allows for complete repair of the weakened abdominal muscles.
  3. Extended Abdominoplasty: This procedure is for patients with severe excess skin in the whole torso, including the entire tummy and the flanks. The incision covers the lower abdomen, the hips, and extend to the sides of the abdomen.



Post-operative Care**

  1. What to expect:
    1. Swelling usually peaks on the second to third day after surgery and will gradually subside in 1-2 weeks
    2. Suction drains may be inserted for the first few days to remove fluid and blood from the wound.
    3. Tight sensation in the abdomen may be present for one to 2 weeks. The patient may need to bend the body while standing and walking to reduce tension on the wound.
  2. General care:
    1. Use a supportive garment to support the tummy for the first month.
    2. Avoid smoking for at least one month. Smoking increases the risk of wound complications.
    3. Sleep on the back and avoid sleeping on one side.
    4. Adequate rest and sleep are helpful for a speedy recovery.
    5. Be relaxed and calm. Contact the clinic if there are any queries.
    6. Early ambulation is encouraged to speed up recovery.
  3. Medicine: Finish the oral antibiotics as prescribed. Take the painkiller as prescribed when necessary.
  4. Wound care: After removing the wound dressing, clean the wound with a clean cotton tip soaked with sterile water/saline. Apply antibiotic ointment.
  5. Physical activity: Avoid heavy physical activity and exercise for at least one month.
  6. Follow-up: Come back one week after surgery for review.
  7. Emergency: If there is heavy bleeding, a rapid increase in swelling or severe pain, immediately contact the clinic/doctor for advice.


** The instructions in this list are only for general guidance. If you have any specific queries or concerns during the post-operative recovery, please contact the clinic for further advice.


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