tummy tuck edinburgh

Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty

Welcome to our website dedicated to providing information about tummy tuck surgery in Edinburgh, Scotland. We understand that getting a tummy tuck can be a life-changing decision, and we are here to help you make an informed choice.

If you’re struggling with loose skin and excess fat on your tummy, a tummy tuck (also called an abdominoplasty) may be a great option for you. This procedure can help to remove unwanted skin and fat and even tighten your abdominal muscles. If you’ve experienced weight loss or pregnancy and are unhappy with the appearance of your stomach, a tummy tuck could be just what you need. Additionally, this procedure can help to improve bulges or scars left behind by a caesarean section or hysterectomy.

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Tummy tuck overview

TYPE OF ANAESTHETIC

General

LENGTH OF SURGERY

2 hours

NIGHTS IN HOSPITAL

Mini – day surgery, Full – 1 night

RECOVERY

2-3 weeks off work, 6 weeks before strenuous exercise

Procedures

If you’re considering abdominoplasty, it’s important to understand that it’s a significant cosmetic surgery that typically lasts 2-3 hours. Recovery can take up to 4-6 weeks. Patients who are at or near their ideal weight tend to see the best results, and satisfaction rates are generally high. This procedure may also involve tightening the abdominal muscles, particularly for those who have had previous pregnancies, and liposuction to reduce fullness in the flanks and upper abdomen.

What is a standard abdominoplasty?

A standard or full abdominoplasty involves removing the excess skin and fat between your pubic area (bikini line in women) and your belly button. Your belly button is left attached in its place, but a cut is made around it to free it from the surrounding skin (which is to be removed). The remaining skin left at the level of the belly button is then pulled down and stitched at the pubic level. The belly button is brought out through a new cut made in the skin that has been pulled down over it. Any weakness of your muscles or hernias is repaired before your wound is closed.

What is a mini tummy tuck?

If you’re looking for a less invasive option for skin and fat removal in your lower tummy area, a mini tummy tuck may be a suitable option for you. This procedure removes less skin and does not involve cuts around the belly button. Your belly button will remain intact but may be slightly pulled down. The scar from this procedure is typically shorter than a standard tummy tuck, but not always.

For those with a larger skin overhang and fat in the lower tummy area, an apronectomy may be a modified option of the mini tummy tuck. This procedure removes only the excess skin and fat, but the resulting scar is longer and extends from one side of the apron to the other.

What is an extended abdominoplasty?

If you have undergone significant weight loss, you may require an extended abdominoplasty to remove excess skin and fat from your abdomen and lower back. This procedure typically results in a scar around the belly button and a long, curved scar on the abdomen above the pubic area and towards the flank or lower back. In some cases, the wound may extend all the way around the body, which is known as a circumferential abdominoplasty and is a complex procedure.

Commonly asked questions

Is liposuction combined with abdominoplasty?

Liposuction is commonly combined with any of the different abdominoplasty procedures.

Can I have liposuction alone instead of an abdominoplasty?

Sometimes liposuction alone can achieve a good result on the tummy. A critical factor is the quality of your skin. Dramatic improvements can be achieved when your skin is of good quality and has not been overly stretched in the past. If you have a lot of loose skin, then liposuction on its own is likely to make things worse.

What if I get pregnant after a tummy tuck?

Getting pregnant after a tummy tuck will not harm you or your baby. However, it will undo (to some extent) the effects of your tummy tuck. If you are planning on getting pregnant, it is best to wait until you have completed your family before undergoing a tummy tuck.

Benefits of tummy tuck surgery

Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, is a cosmetic procedure that provides multiple benefits to individuals seeking a toned and smooth abdominal area. Here are the key advantages of tummy tuck surgery:

Tightens abdominal muscles: This procedure tightens weakened or separated abdominal muscles, creating a firmer and toned appearance.

Removes excess skin: After weight loss or pregnancy, excess skin can be left behind, which can be challenging to eliminate through diet and exercise. Tummy tuck surgery removes this skin, resulting in a smoother, more contoured appearance.

Eliminates stubborn fat: Despite maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, it can be tough to get rid of stubborn pockets of fat in the abdominal area. Tummy tuck surgery eliminates this fat, creating a more streamlined silhouette.

Improves self-confidence: A toned and smooth abdominal area can increase self-confidence and improve body image, leading to a more fulfilling life.

Enhances overall appearance: Tummy tuck surgery enhances the overall appearance of the abdominal area, resulting in a more youthful and attractive look.

View before and after gallery
Benefits of tummy tuck surgery

What are the risks?

A tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure. Fortunately, most patients have few problems, but some serious complications can occur.

Possible general complications include an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic, chest infection or developing a blood clot, usually in a vein in the leg (deep vein thrombosis, DVT). A DVT can be a serious condition; if the clot spreads to the lungs (pulmonary embolus), the outcome can be fatal. Fortunately, pulmonary embolism is uncommon after abdominoplasty (under 1 in 100 patients). You would have a risk assessment during your pre-assessment, and we take precautions to reduce the risks of DVT. These include stockings, mechanical pumps that keep the circulation going in your legs, and blood thinning injections where appropriate.

The risk of severe complications during a general anaesthetic is approximately 1 in 100,000.

Complications specific to tummy tuck include:

Infection

This might require treatment with antibiotics. Rarely, the infection can be severe, resulting in you becoming unwell and needing an operation to wash out the abdomen. In extreme cases, this can cause loss of skin or the inability to close the wounds.

Bleeding

This might require a return to the theatre to stop the bleeding and drain the area (risk less than 5 in 100).

Delayed healing

Particularly in the tighter central part of the wound. Sometimes dressings are needed for a few weeks, which is more common in overweight patients and smokers.

Seroma

Is a persistent collection of serous fluid under your skin. The fluid can be drained with a needle during your post-operative visits. Such drainage generally stops eventually (but may last more than a month) and rarely affects the final cosmetic outcome. The incidence of seroma has been reported as affecting 7-10 out of every 100 patients.

Poor scarring

Scars are permanent and can remain red, thickened, and itchy (hypertrophic scars). These can take several months to settle down. The scars may stretch with time.

Numbness

This is usually temporary but can be permanent.

Change in shape of the belly button (umbilicus)

Your belly button will be brought out through the skin once the skin has been pulled down. This will result in a different shape and a scar around the umbilicus.

Asymmetry

Perfect symmetry does not exist before or after abdominoplasty surgery. Scars will never be identical from side to side, and the umbilicus may not be exactly in the midline.

Revision surgery

Occasionally, revision surgery may be required if the outcome is unsatisfactory. Better results are usually achieved when patients are at their ideal body weight.

Our no drain tummy tuck

Our work on no drain tummy tuck was awarded the ‘best presentation’ at the Scottish Meeting of Plastic Surgeons in 2013 and has been published in the world’s leading plastic surgery journal – Plastic Reconstructive Surgery in 2015. Awf Quaba was invited to discuss our technique and results in October 2018 at the annual meeting of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) – Abdominoplasty to drain or not to drain?

We looked at all tummy tucks performed in our practice over ten years and assessed the outcomes, focussing on our risks and complications and the need for revisions.

Standard tummy tuck

Many surgeons in the UK use drains during a tummy tuck procedure, and these can remain in place for anything from 1 day to 5 days. The logic behind using drains is to reduce the risk of blood and fluid collecting under the skin. Drains can be uncomfortable for patients and limit mobility. They can delay the time a patient must stay in the hospital. There is little evidence for their use in the published literature.

Our results

We looked at 271 patients over a ten year period who had a tummy tuck in our practice. None of the patients had drains as we use a modified technique that we believe limits the risk of bleeding and seroma (fluid collection within the abdomen that is one of the most common side effects of a tummy tuck).

These were some of our findings:

The average age of a patient having a tummy tuck in our practice: 45 years old (range from 20 years to over 60 years)

Average number of previous pregnancies2.4 pregnancies

60% of patients had scars on their abdomens from pasts surgery (mostly caesarian sections or hysterectomies)

61% of patients had liposuction of their bellies combined with a tummy tuck

47% of patients had other cosmetic procedures at the same time as their tummy tuck (the most frequent other operation was a breast augmentation/ or breast lift)

Our complication rates

Bleeding

1.8% of patients had bleeding after surgery which required them to go back to the theatre to stop the bleeding. This outcome compares very favourably with other studies which used drains. Their bleeding rates that needed a return to the theatre were 0.9%, 3%, 2%, 3.8% and 6.8%.

Seroma

Our seroma rate (which required draining using a needle in the outpatient department) was 7.7%. Again this compares very favourably with other published studies which used drains. The published seroma rates in these studies ranged from 4.5% to 19.2% with most having higher percentages than ourselves.

Wound infection 

Our wound infection rate (infections which required treatment with antibiotics) was 4.5%. Again this compares favourably with other studies.

Our revision rates:

Our revision rate (patients needing a second procedure due to dissatisfaction with the first procedure) was 8.9%. This revision rate was lower than any other published series (range 11% to 34.4%). An extensive series published in the UK  looked at the revision rates of a group of cosmetic surgeons in London and reported a revision rate of  24%.

Our inpatient stay:

On average our patients were in the hospital for 1.7 days. Again this was lower than most other published series bearing in mind that 47% of our patients had other cosmetic procedures carried out at the same time.

What is different about our technique?

Our tummy tuck is no different to a standard tummy tuck in its aim to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen. The scars are the same (hip to hip), and the abdominal muscles are tightened in the same way when required. The difference is that we leave behind a thin layer of fat (subscarpa fat) over the abdominal wall. This layer of fat is thought to be rich in lymph draining channels that may be important in reducing seroma formation. The thin layer of fat left behind also reduces the amount of space (dead space) when the wounds are closed. Reducing dead space may be helpful in promoting healing and limiting the amount of fluid that can collect.

Our study has shown that tummy tucks can be carried out safely and with low complication rates if drains are not used. Not using drains means less discomfort for patients and earlier discharge from the hospital. We have demonstrated that patients leave the hospital within two days of having surgery (on average) and that our revision rate is low (8.9%)

Publication of our work

What to expect and tummy tuck aftercare

First few days

After returning home, it’s recommended to engage in light walking and movement to aid in recovery. However, it may take a few weeks to fully regain your strength. It’s normal to experience mood fluctuations following surgery. Additionally, it’s typical to notice some blood staining on the inside of your dressings during the initial days of recovery.

Discomfort/ pain

It is normal to feel some pain within the initial days following surgery, particularly if muscle tightening was involved. Alongside this, you may also experience numbness surrounding the wound. There is a possibility of temporary soreness, tightness, swelling, and discomfort in the incision areas.

Bruising/ swelling

It’s normal to experience tightness and bloating in your abdominal area for a few days and weeks following a tummy tuck procedure. Additionally, bruising is typical. However, if you notice increased swelling after a week, it could be a sign of a seroma (fluid build-up) that may need to be drained.

Appearance

It’s normal for swelling to decrease within 4-6 weeks. However, any scars may appear red and inflamed for up to six months. Fortunately, with time, they tend to become less noticeable and blend in better with your skin.

If you have had a tummy tuck with us or are considering it – please find some detailed instructions and advice on aftercare following your procedure.

Explore tummy tuck aftercare
What to expect and tummy tuck aftercare

Tummy tuck – Wearing Clothes I Wouldn’t Have Looked At Previously

Dr Quaba was the ultimate professional and explained everything in detail from the initial consultation to the the surgery and after. I was completely reassured that I had made the right decision in having the treatment and am absolutely delighted with the results, my confidence is up and I am now wearing clothes I wouldn’t have looked at previously. I am so glad I went with Dr Quaba and this clinic and can’t recommend him highly enough.

 

lesleymcd

Realself May 2022

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