6 Questions to ask before undergoing Tummy Tuck

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For many of us, our bulging tummies can be the bane of our existence.

Skin laxity is one of the top culprits when it comes to our undesirable looking tummies and for some, battling skin laxity can’t quite be as successful even with the most stringent of diets or the most rigorous of exercises.

While skin laxity can prove to be tricky due to the inevitable loss of collagen and elasticity with age, a tummy tuck can be your solution to regaining a more shapely and youthful figure.

Dr Colin Tham, shares with us more on what a tummy tuck can really do for us.

Qn: Who are the suitable candidates for a tummy tuck?

Ans: Tummy tucks are optimally performed to address significant skin laxity usually after childbirth or severe weight loss.

Patients with separation of the midline abdominal muscles causing a midline hernia (usually after childbirth), can also have the hernia repaired easily during a tummy tuck.

Qns: What determines a good tummy tuck surgery?

  • safe, fast recovery
  • tight abdominal skin
  • aesthetically-pleasing umbilicus (belly-button)
  • low-sited inconspicuous scar
  • tightened abdominal muscles like an internal corset
  • adjuvant liposuction if necessary for additional shaping

Qns: What are the different methods used for tummy tucks and which delivers the best outcome in your opinion?

Ans: Tummy tucks can be divided into either mini- or full abdominoplasties.

  • Mini-tucks are more suitable for patients with moderate skin laxity as they remove less skin and do not require re-siting of the umbilicus.
  • Full-tucks are indicated in patients with severe skin laxity as more skin is removed requiring the umbilicus to be re-sited.

The best outcome is achieved if the following are done:

  • Tightening of the abdominal muscles

o   this internal tightening leads to better flattening of the abdomen and slimmer waistlines

  • Progressive tension sutures

o   additional internal stitches to decrease drainage and recovery time / discomfort

o   less tension on the scar-line leads to better scars

o   decreases skin sagging and laxity

  • concurrent liposuction if necessary to get better abdominal shaping

Qns: What is done during the surgery?

Ans: The surgery is usually performed under general anaesthesia and takes 2-3 hours.  During the surgery, the skin and fat are separated from the underlying muscle.

If I’m performing the surgery, underlying muscles will be tightened and hernias (if present) will be repaired.

The umbilicus is re-sited if it’s a full abdominoplasty.  Excess skin is resected, residual excess fat can be reduced via liposuction.  The wound is closed in a multi-layered fashion.

Qns: What can a tummy tuck do for you?

Ans: Tummy tucks lead to a flatter, tighter, shapelier tummy contour by:

  • removing excess skin
  • removing excess fat
  • repairing midline abdominal hernias
  • tightening abdominal muscles

Qns: What are some lifestyle changes we should adopt before the surgery? 

Ans: Patients should stop smoking 2 weeks before surgery.

Read here for Part 2 on post Tummy Tuck surgery care tips.

Colin Tham Hsien Jen

Plastic Surgeon

304 Orchard Road
Lucky Plaza #05-06
Singapore 238863

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