Will my tummy button need to be relocated during an abdominoplasty?

Often relocation of the tummy button is required. There will be scars around the tummy button that take time to settle. In certain scenarios one can leave the tummy button intact on the skin surface but reposition the tummy button internally.

When does the swelling go down?

Following arm lifts there is often swelling during the first few weeks. The swelling is more following liposuction in combination with an arm lift and can be improved by massage.

When can I go back to work following an abdominoplasty?

After an abdominoplasty your recovery and your job will dictate when you can return to work. I usually would advise patients to leave 2 weeks before returning to work although this does vary depending on each individual.

When can I get the wounds wet?

I normally advise patients to keep the wounds dry for the first week following surgery. Occasionally patients do get the wounds wet and this does not seem to be detrimental to healing. I would not advise bathing the wounds following surgery during the first week. After the first week one is able to shower and bathe normally. For arm lifting I would recommend avoid swimming pools until the wounds have healed.

When can I fly following an abdominoplasty?

For all general anaesthetics I would recommend not flying for 4 weeks following any surgery requiring general anaesthetic. In certain scenarios it may be possible to fly sooner than this but the risks and complications e.g. DVT are increased if one flies sooner following a general anaesthetic. The risks are reduced if one wears thrombembolic stockings, drink plenty of fluids, mobilise during the flight and are only going on a short flight bit flying within 4 weeks is not recommended and patients wishing to fly before this should weigh up the pros and cons and alternatives.

When can I exercise following an abdominoplasty?

I would usually not recommend exercising in the first week. Walking is always encouraged although lifting should be limited. Following review at one week I would usually discuss what exercises would be relevant to you. I always encourage patients to remain in compression garments for 4-6 weeks postoperatively and also encourage these tight pants to be worn as patients get back to normal exercise programmes. Gentle exercise such as running and cycling can often be commenced after 2 weeks and swimming is encouraged once the wounds have healed. Abdominal crunch exercises should not be performed until after 6 weeks.

Why do some people have vertical scars after abdominoplasty?

If patients have a lot of skin excess in the upper abdomen and in the centre of the abdomen it may be necessary to remove this with a vertical scar in combination with a horizontal scar. There is also a scenario in patients with minimal excess skin, or where the distance between the ribs and the belly button is short or where the distance from belly button to pubis is very long where a small vertical scar is needed. In this scenario it is often best to position the horizontal scar as low as possible but during wound closure it may not be possible to close the wound with a horizontal scar only. In this scenario a small vertical scar may be required. This often if required is only 1-2 cm long and can provide a better aesthetic result than a high horizontal scar.

My abdomen has a lot of excess skin but I am planning to have more children in the future. Can I have an abdominoplasty?

An abdominoplasty is best performed after you have completed your family. Although there is no absolute contraindication to an abdominoplasty and there is no evidence that it would affect any subsequent pregnancy it is better to discuss the pros and cons at a consultation.

I would like a tummy tuck but have a body mass index of 33 – am I best to lose weight first?

Certainly better results can be achieved the lower the body mass index. Reducing your BMI will help to reduce the amount of fat, the skin can retract a little and it is easier to plan surgery. Getting to your ideal weight and being weights stable is the best way of optimising results. Getting to a body mass index of less than 30 will also decrease risks and complications of the surgery and the anaesthetic.

Is there a disruption in sensation following abdominoplasty?

There will always be a disruption in sensation following abdominoplasty. The area that tends to affect most is round the tummy button extending to the scar in the midline. It can take months for this sensation to return. It is uncommon to have permanent sensory loss and massage in the postoperative phases can help.