Plastic Surgery & Reconstructive Procedures

Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty

Tummy Tuck
  • About

    Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen area and tightens the abdominal wall muscles.

    It is a very popular procedure and can create a smoother flatter appearance at the tummy area. Excess skin and fatty tissue after weight loss or pregnancy can be problematic and resistant to diet, and a tummy tuck can address the problem.

    The procedure is done under general anaesthetic and lasts about 2 hours. One to two nights of hospital stay is advised.

    The scar can be quite long in certain procedures and can extend from hip to hip. The belly-button is adjusted according to each individual case.

    Liposuction can be combined with the surgical procedure.

    Various methods are available and Dr du Toit will decide with you on the correct procedure after a thorough examination and discussion. You will also be informed of other alternatives, possible risks and given opportunity to raise questions.

  • Potential Risk
    • Unfavorable scarring.
    • Bleeding (hematoma).
    • Infection.
    • Fluid accumulation.
    • Poor wound healing.
    • Skin loss.
    • Blood clots.
    • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation.
    • Anesthesia risks.
    • Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling.
    • Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis).
    • Major wound separation.
    • Asymmetry.
    • Recurrent looseness of skin.
    • Pain, which may persist.
    • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications.
    • Persistent swelling in the legs.
    • Nerve damage.
    • Possibility of revisional surgery.
    • Suboptimal aesthetic result.

More information about precautions, preparations & planning before, on the day & after surgery is listed below.

  • Prior to Surgery
    • It is not a prerequisite to shave your pubic area, but you may wax or shave 1 week prior to surgery.
    • Prepare your skin for 3 weeks before surgery with Dermalac Lotion and Vitamin A, C & E Body Oil from Environ.
  • Recovery
    • Deep breathing is encouraged. Blow up a glove 4-5 times. Each time, inhaling and exhaling deeply. We will provide a surgical glove.
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Keep a soft pillow with you at all times. Should you need to cough or sneeze, place the pillow firmly over your abdomen to decrease discomfort.
    • The combination of decreased activity and pain medication may promote constipation, so you may want to add more fruit and fibre to your diet. Be sure to increase fluid intake. A good stool softener, such as Movicol, may be used.
    • Take pain medication strictly as prescribed. Do not take aspirin or any products containing aspirin.
    • Do not drink alcohol when taking pain medications.
    • If you are taking vitamins with iron, resume these as tolerated.
    • Do not smoke, as smoking delays healing and increases the risk of complications.
    • Be aware that there may be some sensation loss around the navel and on the incision line for a few months. Do not stand too close to or lean against hot surfaces or use a water bottle on your abdomen until sensation has fully returned.
  • Activities
    • Start walking as soon as possible. This helps to reduce swelling and lowers the chance of blood clots developing in your legs.
    • Do not drive until you are no longer taking any pain medications.
    • No heavy lifting for 6 weeks.
    • Resume sexual activity as comfort permits, usually 2-3 weeks postoperatively.
    • Avoid straining of abdominal muscles. Strenuous exercise and activities are restricted for 6 weeks.
    • Return to work in 2-4 weeks.
    • If you have a car with power steering, you can start driving after 2 weeks.
  • Incision Care
    • Avoid exposing scars to the sun for at least 12 months.
    • Always use sunblock, regardless of the weather outside – even if you plan to stay indoors.
    • Apply Micropore to the incision lines for 3 months. Change every 7-10 days. Do not remove the tape every day as it will cause irritation of the surrounding skin.
    • Keep incisions clean and inspect through Micropore daily for signs of infection or oozing.
    • Incision areas must be massaged through the Micropore for the first 3 months.
    • ScarScience & Kelo-cote can be applied from 6 weeks postoperatively, over the Micropore for another 6 weeks, and then on the incision directly for another 3 months postoperatively.
    • No soaking in the bath while sutures or drains are in place.
    • The abdominal binder must be worn 24/7 (except when showering) and you must – at all times – ensure it is positioned correctly to decrease the risk of fluid build-up.
    • Sleep with a pillow under your knees and your head elevated on 2 pillows.
  • What to expect

    Abdominal drains will be removed when draining less than 30ml over 24 hours.

    Most of the sutures are buried and dissolve in 6-8 weeks.

    Discomfort will be maximal in the first 3 days, improving each day thereafter.

    You may also feel emotional and a ‘bit down’ between day 5 & 10.

    You may experience temporary pain, soreness, itching, numbness of abdominal skin and incision discomfort.

    You will have bruising and swelling of the abdomen. The majority of bruising and swelling will subside within 6-8 weeks. You may tire easily for several weeks.

  • When to Call
    • If you have increased swelling or bruising.
    • If swelling and redness persist after a few days.
    • If you have increased redness along the incision.
    • If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.
    • If you have any side effects to medication, such as rash, nausea, headache, vomiting.
    • If you have an oral temperature over 38 ℃.
    • If you have any drainage from the incisions or notice a foul odour.
    • If you have bleeding from the incisions that does not stop with light pressure.