What is a Tummy Tuck? – Abdominoplasty Explained

Tummy Tuck |  Dr Eddy Dona

Tue 6th Apr 2021

Abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is one of the most common plastic surgical procedures.The tummy tuck procedure is designed to correct abdominal wall problems typically experienced after massive weight changes.

Why Do People Get Tummy Tucks?

One of the most common reasons why someone would want an abdominoplasty is often due to the changes that have occurred during pregnancy. Some of these changes include loose or excess skin, excess fatty tissue and to a lesser degree, weakened or separated abdominal wall muscles. During pregnancy, the abdominal wall is forced to stretch quicker than the skin can naturally expand, often causing the skin to tear, and leading to the development of stretch marks.  Stretch marks are basically scars, and like all scars they initially appear red and as they mature, fade to a lighter, paler colour.

Many women develop these stretch marks during the first pregnancy, as this is often when their body undergoes the most significant changes. With that said, many women will put on a small amount of weight and still get stretch marks, whilst others put on an enormous amount of weight and do not get stretch marks. Many factors contribute to this, one important factor is our genetic makeup which often determines the likelihood of who will and won’t get stretch marks.

After pregnancy and or massive weight loss, your body shrinks down. You’ve lost weight, you’re healthy, you’re fit, but you look in the mirror you don’t like what you see. The skin, especially skin with stretch marks, has lost its elasticity and is not going to contract to tighten up around your smaller body.

So now you find that your skin, which represents your former self, or rather the “clothing” that used to fit you, is way too big for your body! This is the most simplistic way of viewing things. Your skin represents your older self or an older dress or outfit that you used to wear. Now your body is much smaller and healthier but you’re still wearing that old dress. So basically you need a tailor, that being the surgeon, to tailor your skin to suit your new body.

Tummy Tuck Scarring

With any tailoring you need to have seams, and the seams in surgery are the scars. The scar for a tummy tuck are typically hidden low down on your belly and concealed within normal underwear. Some people are concerned about the appearance of a scar and say they don’t want a scar. However my response to this is simple. Stretch marks are scars, and you have multiple stretch marks and associated excess skin along your entire lower abdomen in an area that you can’t hide. We are going to remove all (or most of) those with one very controlled linear scar that will be comfortably hidden by regular underwear. What would you rather?

Pregnancy & Tummy Tuck Surgery

Now with pregnancy, these changes are mostly confined to the front of you belly. However, for those who have undergone massive weight loss, then the skin excess often involves the entire body – front, sides and back – and often other areas such as chest, arms and thighs.  So in this case the surgery is a little more involved in these situations and basically customised for each individual to address their specific concerns.