Abdominoplasty (Body Reshaping)

You are here: Home / Abdominoplasty (Body Reshaping)




Some people do dozens of crunches and abdominal exercises a day and still find it impossible to lose the excess fat and skin around the midsection. Luckily, there is a solution—abdominoplasty. Also known as a “tummy tuck,” abdominoplasty is a cosmetic procedure sure to give you sleeker, more defined abs.

Abdominoplasty begins with an incision made from one hip to the other, creating a skin flap. Next, the skin is separated from the abdominal muscles, which are then tightened, narrowing the waistline and flattening the midsection. The flap of skin is then folded down and excess skin is removed. Last, the flap is replaced and the incision is stitched closed. The entire procedure takes between two and five hours, depending on how much work is needed. Bruising and swelling (which typically subside within 10 days) are the most common side effects of this procedure.



This type of procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic and requires at least one night’s hospitalisation and often three to four days in hospital. The length of skin incision and therefore the type and position of the final scar will be determined by the deformity you have and the need to tighten the abdominal muscles to achieve a flat abdomen. The looser the abdominal skin and the more pendulous the fatty tissue apron of the lower abdomen, the longer must be the scar across the abdomen. This is so because of the geometry of the operation and has to do with the relative lengths of the base and hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle.

Your Surgeon will explain this because you need to appreciate why the transverse scar may need to be as long as it is. All efforts are made to keep this scar as short as possible and to locate it low on the abdomen. It is sometimes not possible to reduce the fullness of the fatty tissue in the upper abdomen for fear of decreasing the circulation to the lower abdominal skin. In the interests of safety, this may need to be done at a subsequent procedure by liposuction. However, in most cases where less undermining of the skin is required, reduction of all fatty tissue may be possible.

The wounds on the abdomen and around the umbilicus are sutured and often only dissolving sutures are used. This wound is supported with plastic skin or micropore tape for up to six weeks to give it every chance to develop a fine scar.


You and your plastic surgeon will discuss the concerns you have about your current abdominal shape and your goals regarding the abdominoplasty procedure. There are different variations of abdominoplasty procedures that include short or long incisions, and differences in areas of muscle tightening. Liposuction of the abdominal wall or in the hip and flank regions may be appropriate for some patients.

Your surgeon will decide which procedure is best based upon your goals and anatomic issues. The approximate location of the incisions and scars will be outlined directly on your skin or on a diagram.

Finally, your surgeon will perform a careful evaluation of your overall health as well as issues that could cause complications, such as:

  • Your blood pressure
  • Bleeding tendencies
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • History of adverse scar formation after previous surgeries





As expected, you will have pain and swelling after surgery. Your doctor can prescribe a painkiller if needed, and will instruct you on how best to treat the pain.

Soreness may last for several weeks or months. You may also have numbness, bruising, and overall tiredness for that same time period.

As with any surgery, there are risks. You may have an increased risk of complications if you have poor circulation, diabetes, heart, lung, or liver disease, or if you smoke. Complications can include:

  • Scarring
  • Hematoma (bleeding)
  • Infection
  • Seroma (accumulation of fluid)
  • Poor wound healing
  • Loss of skin
  • Blood clots
  • Numbness or other changes in sensation
  • Risks related to anesthesia
  • Changes in skin color
  • Long-lasting swelling
  • Fat necrosis (death of fatty tissue located deep in the skin)
  • Wound separation
  • Asymmetry (unevenness or lopsidedness)


An abdominoplasty typically enhances the appearance of your abdomen but it is considered major surgery. You should think carefully about your expectations, and talk with your plastic surgeon about your goals. In addition to the risks associated with anesthesia, there will be:

  • Scars
  • Complications including:
  • Seromas (collections of fluid beneath the abdominal skin)
  • Hematomas
  • Asymmetry of the abdomen