The healthy abdomen has a well defined musculature enabling a strong upright body posture. With age, pregnancies or weight loss, muscles weaken and laxity occurs. An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is performed in order to flatten and shape the abdomen by removing excess fat and skin and tightening loose muscles. The result is a slimmer, firmer waistline with a toned abdominal area, more appropriate to natural body proportions.
The abdominal wall is a strong multi-layered structure; consisting of muscle, fascia, connective tissue, fat and skin. With age, the muscle tone diminishes, fat accumulates and skin folds are formed. Pregnancies or weight fluctuations may accelerate this process by stretching and weakening the abdominal muscles. Multiple pregnancies may also result in diastasis recti – a separation in the midline of the right and left rectus abdominis muscle. Conditions that weaken the abdominal wall are often associated with stomach protrusion, hernia development and contour abnormalities.
Multiple surgical techniques are available for abdominal contouring in both men and women, based on variations in anatomy and the individual patient’s goals – these include liposuction, limited (mini), full (regular) and extended abdominoplasties. The procedures require a low horizontal incision between the hips. Weakened abdominal muscles are repaired, excess fat, tissue and skin are removed and tissues are tightened to improve definition and firmness of the abdomen. A second incision around the navel is often required to remove excess skin.
Suitable for patients with lesser requirements for abdominal tightening or when concerns are limited to the area below the navel. A mini-abdominoplasty uses a shortened incision line and is effective in correcting regional fat accumulation, moderate skin laxity and lower musculo-fascial weakness.
Suitable for patients who require functional restoration and/or aesthetic rejuvenation of the abdominal wall. An abdominoplasty restores and tightens the musculature, repairs diastasis, corrects hernias, removes skin laxity/stretch marks, decreases thickness of the subcutaneous fat and improves the waistline.
– Extended Abdominoplasty
Suitable for weight-loss patients with abdominal laxity extending into the flanks. The procedure is similar to a regular abdominoplasty except that the incision is longer. A number of specialised procedures are available to relieve abdominal deformities – these include vertical abdominoplasty and circumferential abdominoplasty.
The procedures are often combined with liposuction to further enhance body contouring. Results are long-lasting and associated with a high degree of patient satisfaction. The best candidates have a stable weight, with residual pockets of fat or loose skin that have not responded to diet and exercise.