Abdominoplasty, sometimes referred to as a tummy tuck, is performed to improve the shape and contour of the abdomen. The best candidates for a tummy tuck are those that have excess skin and fatty tissue, often due to extreme weight loss. The surgery is also commonly requested by women that have experienced muscle diastasis (stretched abdominal muscles) after pregnancy. The procedure is also a good choice for patients that have achieved a healthy weight but still have an isolated bulge around the middle they have not been able to get rid of through diet and exercise alone. Dr Ritz will evaluate your situation and aesthetic goals to determine whether abdominoplasty is the right choice for you.
During your initial consultation with Dr Ritz, he will discuss the tummy tuck procedure with you in detail. You will be given pre-operative instructions so that you can prepare for your procedure. Dr Ritz will cover what happens during the surgery so that you are comfortable and confident with the process. Post-operative care is also addressed, ensuring you can plan for your recovery appropriately. Risks and complications will also be discussed, as there are risks associated with any surgery no matter how straightforward or extensive the operation might be. Dr Ritz will make sure you are aware and understand them, even if the likelihood of severe complications is very rare.
This appointment will also provide Dr Ritz the opportunity to collect pertinent information about you, including your full medical history. He will ask if you have been pregnant in the past, as previous pregnancies could impact the way the procedure is performed. He will use these facts to present all your surgical options so that you can make the right decision about your surgery.
You will have a second consultation about two weeks before your procedure, to discuss the surgery once again and ask any further questions that might have arisen as you have prepared for the operation.
During the surgery
On the day of your surgery, you will be admitted to the hospital where the operation will be performed anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours before your surgery. The timing will depend on the policies of the hospital. Dr Ritz will visit with you before your surgery to see if you have any questions and to draw pre-operative markings to guide him during the procedure. The anaesthetist that will be administering your anaesthesia will also meet with you.
Abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia. Incisions are placed low on the abdomen, inside the panty line. For a full tummy tuck, the incision will extend from hipbone to hipbone. Through the incision, Dr Ritz will remove excess skin and fatty tissue to create a smoother contour to the midsection. Liposuction is often used during the tummy tuck to provide additional sculpting and ensure the best possible results. Dr Ritz will then close the incision, placing drainage tubes to remove any excess fluid after surgery.
You will remain in the hospital for two to three days so that you can be cared for by an attentive nursing staff in the early days after your surgery. The drainage tubes will remain for 48 hours and will be removed before you go home. Once the drains are gone, you will be given a compression garment that will help reduce swelling and promote healing to the surgical site. You will wear this garment underneath your clothing full-time for six weeks.
Post operative care
You will be unable to drive for the first two weeks after your surgery, in part because of the medication you will likely be taking to keep you comfortable for those first days of recovery. You will likely be able to resume most light activities within two to three weeks. However, physical activity that involves heavy lifting or other strenuous exercise will be limited for the first six weeks to give the midsection ample time to heal.
How long does the surgery take?
Abdominoplasty typically takes around three hours to complete, depending on the amount of correction needed and whether other surgeries will be performed at the same time. Dr Ritz will be able to give you a more precise estimate after your consultations and examination.
Can I do abdominoplasty as a day case?
Tummy tucks are not usually done as day surgeries, due to the extensive nature of the procedure. You will be much more comfortable in the hospital for the first two or three days, where you will be cared for by full-time nursing staff. Once your drainage tubes are removed and you can get up and around on your own, you can head home to finish your recovery process.
How long do I have to take off work?
I advise patients to take at least two weeks off for their recovery. The specific time will depend on how quickly your body heals and the type of work you do. Desk work can usually be resumed within this timeframe, which more strenuous activities will require additional recuperation time.
When can I drive?
Patients are usually able to drive within two weeks, once they are off of the pain medication and they can be more active.
How long until I can exercise?
Light exercise, such as gentle walking, can usually begin within two to three weeks after a tummy tuck. More strenuous exercise, particularly activities that involve heavy lifting, should wait for at least six weeks. Dr Ritz will advise you more specifically based on your unique situation and how quickly your body heals.
How much does the surgery cost?
It depends on what is required, the type of implant chosen and hospital and anaesthetic fees, please contact us for a rough quote.
Is abdominoplasty covered by Medicare?
In some cases, coverage may be available for abdominoplasty. However, Medicare has changed the guidelines and eligibility for the abdominoplasty item number, which means not everyone will be covered. Contact our office directly, and we would be happy to discuss your coverage eligibility with you.
Abdominoplasty is a way to achieve dramatic, long-lasting results and a more attractive body contour. Because the surgery is extensive, it is essential to select an experienced surgeon like Dr Ritz for your procedure. To get more information about abdominoplasty, contact Dr Ritz’s office today on 03 9508 9503.
How much does the surgery cost?
The cost of abdominoplasty varies considerably, based on where it is performed, the extent of the correction needed and the type of anaesthesia used. At your consultation, we can provide you with more specific cost estimates. If you would like a rough quote before your initial consultation, feel free to contact our office anytime to get that information.
Will the results of my tummy tuck be permanent?
For most patients, the outcome achieved by a tummy tuck will be very long-lasting. However, weight gain and pregnancy can alter the results of this procedure. Dr Ritz usually advises patients to finish having children and obtain a healthy weight before considering abdominoplasty to ensure these factors don’t affect the longevity of the results.