Abdominoplasty (Tummy-tuck Surgery)
For women with multiple pregnancies, sometimes no amount of exercise or physiotherapy can help with the loose skin and fat over the abdomen. The problem is further compounded by the separation of the six-pack or rectus abdominis muscles with pregnancy.
For these patients, the most effective treatment is abdominoplasty or tummy-tuck surgery. This involves flattening the abdomen by removing the excess skin, fat and tightening of the rectus abdominis muscles. This procedure is also particularly useful for patients who were previously obese and had massive weight loss.
This procedure should not be confused with liposuction which is usually indicated for patients with fat deposits but without the problem of loose skin.
Abdominoplasty may be classified into three categories: namely Full Abdominoplasty, Mini-Abdominoplasty or Circumferential Abdominoplasty.
A full abdominoplasty involves an incision from hip bone to hip bone. However, the incision is kept low, at the level of the pubic hair. There is also a small incision around the belly button as the belly button needs to be freed from the surrounding tissue. Drainage tubes are usually inserted for 3-4 days. It typically involves hospitalisation of 2-3 days. This procedure is indicated for patients with large amount of loose skin and fat with separation of the rectus abdominis muscles post-pregnancy.
A Mini-abdominoplasty is indicated for patients whose fat deposits are located mainly below the belly button. In this procedure, the belly button is not repositioned and the procedure is usually performed as a Day Surgery procedure.
Circumferential Abdominoplasty is indicated for patients with fat deposits at the back as well the front. This procedure allows the removal of skin and fat from the front as well as the back, allowing an improvement of body contour three dimensionally.
For all the abdominoplasties, the surgical wounds typically take 2-3 weeks to heal completely. During this time, it is advisable that patients take time off work in order to let the wounds heal completely. Patients typically can resume their exercise and physical activities about 1 month after the plastic surgery. Patients are also advised to wear pressure garments for about 6 weeks post-operatively to optimise the body contour.