Abdominoplasty surgery removes excess skin and fat to alter the abdomen. It is sometimes considered by individuals who have experienced either significant weight loss, pregnancy, or loose abdominal muscles due to ageing or genetics.
Abdominoplasty Surgery – Techniques
The specific type of procedure recommended for you will depend on factors such as:
- Unique physique
- Existing concerns
- Medical history
- Wanted outcomes
- And more
Whether you may be suitable candidates for a partial, full, extended, or 360 abdominoplasty (belt lipectomy), it is essential to consult with a skilled plastic surgeon to determine the most suitable approach for you.
It is important to have a thorough understanding of the procedure, including its potential risks and recovery process.
URGENT UPDATE – The Australian Government has reinstated a Medicare Item Number for an abdominoplasty for some post-pregnancy patients suffering from Diastasis Recti (split abdominal muscles) if you are eligible and meet the new criteria. This new 30175 Medicare Item Number – is effective 1st July 2022. Read the 30175 Medicare Item Number factsheet.
If you qualify for the 30175 Medicare item number you may also get a subsidy from your Health Fund. There will still be a significant out-of-pocket GAP as the surgery is NOT FREE.
Our Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) before and after photos show a variety of results with this procedure. The decision to proceed with surgery is a deeply personal one for every patient. Before you make the decision, ensure you do your research. Never rush into surgery and ensure you are only doing the surgery for yourself.
The before and after photos displayed on our website or in our office are provided for informational purposes only. They are intended to offer an illustration of the potential outcomes that can be achieved through plastic and cosmetic surgery. However, it’s important to understand that individual results may vary, and the results of any surgical procedure cannot be guaranteed. The photos are not intended to serve as promises or a guarantee of specific results, but rather as a visual aid to help envision what is possible. It is crucial to recognise that each person is unique, and the outcome of surgery will be influenced by various factors such as overall health, body type, and healing ability. During your consultation, Dr. Rubinstein will carefully evaluate each individual and provide an honest and realistic assessment of what can be expected from the procedure.
Who is Potentially Suitable for Abdominoplasty Surgery?
To determine if you are a suitable candidate for abdominoplasty surgery, it is important to have a consultation with a surgeon. However, there are some general factors that often make individuals good candidates for this procedure, including;
- Excess skin
- If you have loose or excess skin in the abdominal area, that is unchanged by diet and exercise alone.
- Muscle repair
- Patients who may be suitable for repair of diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles), hernia repair, or correction of torn abdominal muscles.
- Stubborn fat and skin
- If you have a healthy weight and BMI but still have persistent, redundant fat and/or excess skin.
- Post-weight loss or pregnancy changes
- Individuals who have experienced significant weight loss or have gone through pregnancy may observe a loss of abdominal firmness.
- Stable weight and family planning
- The general recommendation is that candidates reach a stable weight and BMI before considering surgery.
- It is also advisable for women to complete their family (carrying children) before considering abdominoplasty to help maintain long-lasting results.
- Willingness to maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Patients are recommended to be willing and able to maintain or change their fitness level and weight following the surgery.
- Good Health
- Good overall health, both mentally and physically.
- No underlying health conditions.
Remember, whether one is suitable for abdominoplasty varies from person to person. A personalised assessment by a qualified plastic surgeon should be done to determine if this procedure is appropriate for you.
Four Different Types of Abdominoplasties
Partial Abdominoplasty (Without Repair of separated abdominal muscles)
Partial abdominoplasty without muscle repair is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat to alter the look of the lower abdomen. It removes excess skin and fat from the centre of the lower abdomen and does not involve repairing muscle separation. This procedure is suitable for individuals with minimal muscle laxity and primarily concerns the lower abdominal area.
Full Abdominoplasty (With Repair of separated abdominal muscles)
Full abdominoplasty with muscle repair is a comprehensive surgical procedure that addresses excess skin and fat and repairs separated abdominal muscles. It may be a suitable candidates for individuals with significant muscle laxity and excess skin in the abdominal area. The procedure involves removing excess skin and tightening the underlying muscles, which can subsequently alter the shape of the waist.
Liposuction-Assisted Abdominoplasty or Lipo-Abdominoplasty
Liposuction-assisted abdominoplasty, also known as lipo-abdominoplasty, combines the effects of liposuction and a traditional abdominoplasty. This procedure involves removing pockets of fat unchanged by diet and exercise through liposuction while also removing excess skin and tightening the abdominal muscles.
It is suitable for individuals who have both stubborn fat and loose skin in the abdominal area.
Circumferential Abdominoplasty (Belt Lipectomy, Extended Tummy Tuck or 360 Abdominoplasty for Massive Weight Loss Patients)
Additional names for circumferential abdominoplasty include belt lipectomy, extended tummy tuck, or 360 abdominoplasty. This surgical procedure is specifically designed for patients undergoing significant weight loss, such as after bariatric surgery. This procedure addresses excess skin and tissue in the front of the abdomen and around the sides and back to address concerns over a larger surface area. It involves removing excess skin, tightening the abdominal muscles, and altering the shape of the waist.
Circumferential abdominoplasty is broader in scope than a traditional abdominoplasty. It may be a suitable candidates for patients with significant skin laxity and excess tissue in multiple areas of the abdomen.
A consultation is an important step in the process of considering abdominoplasty surgery. During this consultation, you will have the opportunity to meet with a qualified plastic surgeon and discuss your goals, concerns, and expectations. You can generally expect the following during a consultation:
- Initial Discussion
- Physical Examination
- Treatment Options
- Customised Treatment Plan
- Pre- and Post-Operative Instructions
- Addressing Questions and Concerns
- Cost Outline
Remember, a consultation is a chance to gather information and learn about the surgeon’s background. It is also an opportunity for you to determine if you feel comfortable moving forward with the procedure. It’s important to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience performing the surgery and can address your specific concerns and goals.
Abdominoplasty – The Procedure
During an abdominoplasty procedure, the surgeon will make incisions in the abdominal area to access the abdominal region. The surgeon’s particular approach will depend on the patient and their needs. Options are reviewed and decided before surgery at one of your consultations.
Generally, the steps involved in an abdominoplasty procedure are as follows:
Dr. Rubinstein conducts the procedure while patients are under General anaesthesia. The goal is to help the patient remain unconscious and comfortable throughout the surgery. An anesthetist will handle the administration of anaesthesia. During the procedure, the anesthetist observes the patient’s vital signs and overall well-being. The aim is to support the patient’s well-being and allow Dr Rubinstein to focus on the incisions.
During an abdominoplasty procedure, the surgeon will make incisions in the lower abdomen. The length and shape of these incisions may differ based on considerations such as the specific type of abdominoplasty being performed, the discussed outcome, and the amount of excess skin that needs to be removed. Dr Rubinstein considers these aspects and will create incisions allowing optimal access to the abdominal area. The placement and pattern of the incisions are designed to minimise visible scarring and ensure the wanted outcome.
Next, Dr Rubinstein will separate the skin from the underlying abdominal muscles, extending the dissection to the ribcage. This separation creates a flap of skin that the surgeon can lift and reposition.
By separating the skin from the underlying muscles, the surgeon gains access to the abdominal wall, allowing for the repair of any muscle separation or weakness that may be present.
If deemed necessary, the surgeon will address any separated or weakened abdominal muscles. This is known as diastasis recti. Repairing diastasis recti involves suturing the muscles together to create a firmer and more stable abdominal wall. By repairing the diastasis recti, the surgeon can reshape the strength and integrity of the core muscles, helping to reshape abdominal tone and a flatter appearance.
Excess skin removal
The next step is for the surgeon to trim away the excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen. By removing the unwanted tissue, the surgeon can reshpe the abdomen.
During the procedure, your belly button (umbilicus) may need special attention to ensure the wanted result. Dr Rubinstein may create a new opening for the belly button and reposition it to a different position.
After removing the excess skin and fat the surgeon will pull down the remaining skin. The incisions are closed using sutures, ensuring that the skin is securely and evenly repositioned.
In some cases, sutures may be placed deep within the tissue to provide additional support and help long-term results of the procedure.
This approach helps to achieve a well-defined outcome while minimising the risk of postoperative complications.
Drains and dressings
To reduce the risk of fluid accumulation, the surgeon may place small drainage tubes (drains). These drains assist in removing excess fluid and prevent it from accumulating in the surgical area. Once the drains are in place, the incision area is covered with sterile dressings or bandages. This helps to protect the incisions, promote a clean healing environment, and provide support to the surgical site.
Dr Rubinstein or his team will likely change the dressings/bandages during follow-up visits to ensure optimal healing and comfort for the patient.
After the procedure
After the procedure, the patient will go to recovery for observation and monitoring. Post-operative care instructions will be provided, including information on managing pain, caring for the incision site, wearing compression garments, and gradually resuming normal activities.
It’s important to note that the above is a only general guide on an abdominoplasty procedure. Exact details of the procedure will vary depending on the patient’s unique needs and the surgeon’s preferred techniques. A consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon is necessary to discuss the specifics of the abdominoplasty procedure and to address any individual concerns or questions.
What are the Risks of Abdominoplasty?
All surgery has risks, and it is important to be aware of the potential risks and complications. Some common risks associated with abdominoplasty include:
- Poor wound healing
- Poor scarring
- Changes in sensation/numbness
- Blood clots
- Reaction to the anesthesia
- Dissatisfaction with results
- Visit the Risks and Complications of Surgery page for more information
Recovery After Abdominoplasty
Recovery after the procedure involves a period of healing and rest. The length of the recovery period will vary depending on several factors including the individual patient, their body’s healing, medical history, and the extent of the surgery.
Generally, patients can expect discomfort, swelling, and bruising in the abdominal area, which gradually subsides over time. It is important to follow post-operative instructions provided by the surgeon, including wearing compression garments and taking prescribed medications.
Patients are usually able to resume light activities within a few weeks. However, patients should get the all-clear from surgeons before resuming more strenuous exercises and heavy lifting.
Regular follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor the healing progress and address any concerns. Overall, patience and adherence to the recovery guidelines are key to achieving the best results.
How Long Will I Need to Wear a Compression Garment?
The duration of wearing a compression garment after surgery can vary depending on the surgeon’s recommendation and the individual’s healing progress.
Typically, patients are advised to wear a compression garment continuously (24/7, except while bathing) for the first few weeks following the surgery. This garment helps to reduce swelling, provide support to the surgical area, and promote proper healing.
After the initial few weeks, your surgeon will instruct you to reduce wearing the compression garment to just the daytime. However, the exact duration will be determined by the surgeon based on factors such as the extent of the surgery and the individual’s healing response.
It’s important to follow the surgeon’s guidelines regarding the use of compression garments to ensure optimal results.
How Much Does an Abdominoplasty Cost?
The cost of abdominoplasty surgery can vary depending on factors, including:
- The surgeon, their training, experience and qualifications
- Location of the procedure
- Hospital stay
- Anesthetist cost
- Other related expenses
It’s important to consider all the necessary costs involved and not solely rely on estimated prices, as they may not include all the relevant expenses.
Researching and selecting a skilled plastic surgeon is essential before undergoing any procedure. It’s worth noting that opting for cheaper surgical options may lead to unsatisfactory results and may even require additional revision surgery, which can be costly.
Does Medicare Cover Abdominoplasty Surgery?
Regarding Medicare coverage for abdominoplasty, it generally does not cover the procedure for post-pregnancy cases. However, there is ongoing advocacy by women’s health groups to expand Medicare coverage for abdominoplasty after pregnancy and weight loss. In certain cases, such as after massive weight loss, Medicare may provide coverage for abdominoplasty under specific conditions. It’s advisable to refer to the specific criteria for Medicare coverage for abdominoplasty or consult with your healthcare provider for more information.
REMEMBER – Abdominoplasty is not weight loss surgery
While an abdominoplasty can provide significant change to the appearance of your abdomen, it is important to understand its limitations. There are some key points to consider:
- Abdominoplasty surgery is not a substitute for weight loss. It is recommended that you be at a stable and healthy weight before undergoing the procedure. If you still have excess weight or are at an unsafe BMI, it may not be the time for the procedure. It is important to focus on your weight loss goals through a healthy diet and exercise regimen before considering the surgery.
- Stretch Marks: While a tummy tuck can remove excess skin and some stretch marks located in the areas to be excised, it may not eliminate all stretch marks. The procedure primarily targets the lower abdomen and may not address stretch marks on the upper abdomen or other areas. It is essential to have a realistic expectation of how much the surgery can alter the appearance of your stretch marks. Our dermal team can provide additional non-surgical treatments, such as Fraxel Lasers, V-Beam laser, and Dermapen, to further reduce Abdominoplasty scars.
- At our clinic, we offer a comprehensive approach to surgery. Our package includes not only the surgical procedure but also a range of non-surgical solutions to alter your results. These treatments, such as Fraxel Lasers, V-Beam laser, and Dermapen, are aimed at reducing scars and change the appearance of stretch marks. Your surgeon and dermal team will work together to develop a personalised treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals.
During your consultation, it is important to have a thorough discussion with your surgeon about your expectations, the limitations of the procedure, and the available non-surgical options for scar reduction and stretch mark treatment. This will ensure that you have a clear understanding of what surgery can realistically alter.
Further Reading – Medical References
Best Blogs about Tummy Tuck
- Read all Dr Craig’s Blogs on Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
About Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Craig Rubinstein FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is an experienced Melbourne Specialist Plastic Surgeon for breast and abdominoplasty surgery.
Dr Rubinstein offers women personalised abdominoplasty surgery and all forms of cosmetic breast surgery.
BOOK A CONSULTATION 1300 599 990
Next Steps in Your Surgical Journey
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About Your First Consultation
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What to Bring to Your Consultation
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- Ensure you also take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents provided.
- Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes.