Having excess fat and skin around the abdomen can be frustrating, especially if you’ve worked hard to lose weight and can’t seem to shift those last few pounds. You don’t have to live with excess abdominal skin and fat though. Opting for a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty will help rid you of the excess fat and skin while giving a flatter and more toned look.

What is Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck?

Tummy Tuck is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen and to enhance physical beauty by tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. This procedure can be combined with Bilateral Breast Augmentation, Liposuction & Facelift. Having loose skin on the abdomen can be a result of a few things, such as having lost a lot of weight, or after pregnancy, where the stretched skin and muscles have become slack. It’s also an option for those who have scarring after having had abdominal surgery.

What a Tummy Tuck is Not?

A tummy tuck won’t help you lose weight, control it, or stop you from future weight gain. The purpose is to tone the body and improve the shape of the abdomen.

Who Is The Ideal Candidate for Tummy Tuck in Malaysia?

The ideal candidate for tummy tuck in Malaysia is anyone with loose skin and excess fat in the upper tummy, excess fatty tissue especially in the lower abdomen and flanks, damaged lower abdominal skin (especially women with stretch marks after multiple pregnancies) & those with ‘loosening’ or ‘bulging’ of the abdomen caused by stretching of the muscles and tissue of the abdominal wall that is deeper to the skin and fat layer.

Who Should Not Consider a Tummy Tuck?

If you are planning on becoming pregnant again or losing a large amount of weight, you shouldn’t consider having a tummy tuck. This is because both can lead to more excess skin and stretch marks, which means you would need to have a second procedure. Also, if you are a heavy smoker, extremely overweight, or have had issues with blood clotting on the past, this procedure may not be suitable for you.

How is the Tummy Tuck procedure done?

There are two types of tummy tuck procedures that can be done; a partial tummy tuck and a full extended tummy tuck. Both use a general anesthetic during the procedure and involves excising all the skin and fat layer below the umbilicus, closure of the weakened abdominal wall muscles and the hernia if it is present. In ladies, this will enhance their hourglass figure. The skin above the umbilicus is now stretched and sutured to the hair-bearing skin in the pubis. The umbilicus is now brought out to its new location through a new defect made out in the skin and sutured in place.

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Differences Between a Partial and a Full Tummy Tuck

A partial tummy tuck involves making a large cut, or incision across the lower tummy. The skin is then separated from the wall of the abdomen, just below the navel. The excess skin and fat are removed and the remaining skin is then pulled together and stitched close. A full tummy tuck involves making an incision just above the pubic area, from hip to hip, and then making a second incision that will free the navel from the surrounding tissue.

The skin is separated from the abdominal wall, the abdominal muscles are realigned, and the excess skin and fat are removed. A new hole is then cut for the navel, stitched in place, and the remaining skin is pulled together and stitches. The patient will have 3 tubes coming out of the operation site to collect excess blood and fluids that will ooze for a day or two. These tubes will be removed once the discharge is minimal. A partial tummy tuck can take between 2 to 3 hours and a full tummy tuck can take up to 5 hours.

What can you expect after the Tummy Tuck operation?

Blood clots and fluid collections (seromas) within the operative site may occur. Deep vein thrombosis is blood clots within the leg veins, and these may occur in obese patients who refuse to move about after the operation. Lower limb compression garments will be applied for 1 week, and the patient mobilized the very next day after the operation to reduce the probability of this complication occurring.

You can expect some discomfort for which you will be given tablets/injections. Besides this, some other complications may occur, however, this has been rare because patients who are not suitable for this procedure and of high risk are advised against it. Skin infection and skin necrosis may occur around the pubis area but this is rare. The patient will need to be in the hospital for up to 2 to 3 days after the procedure.

Recovery Time for Tummy Tuck

When you leave the hospital you will have a corset/pressure garment in the tummy area. The recovery period is 4 to 6 weeks, in which you will need to not exercise or do anything strenuous. It is not advisable that you drive while recovering either. You typically will need to wear some type of pressure garment during the recovery period in order to encourage healing of the skin and to reduce any swelling.

What is the significance of the procedure?

The patient can expect improvements in their figure, improved posture, some relief of back pain, improved personal hygiene, clearing of infection in skin folds of the overhanging abdominal apron and enhanced sexual function. Women can expect to get back the figure they had before their pregnancy through this procedure. The outer part of the vagina is tightened in a full tummy tuck as well.

Suitable exercises to help with your recovery

While you should refrain from doing any strenuous activities during the recovery period, there are some gentle exercises you can do to help it along. Your surgeon will give you a list of what exercises are suitable and when you may begin doing them. Gentle walking at the start of your recovery period is the best exercise. You should build up gradually and never overexert yourself to avoid any pulling or stretching of the stitched area.

Before you start doing any type of exercise to strengthen the abdominal area, you should check with your surgeon to be sure it is safe to do so. The exercises include knee rolls, pelvic tilts, and contracting the abdominal muscles. Seek for doctor’s advice before undertaking any exercises. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Q. How long will the results last?

A. The results after having a tummy tuck are permanent, as long as your weight stays stable over time. As you age, your skin will lose some elasticity, however, it won’t revert to the loose skin that you have before surgery.

Q. Will a Tummy Tuck help with my stretch marks?

A. Where the stretch marks are located will determine this. However, in general, the answer is yes. A full tummy tuck will not only remove the excess skin, but it will also remove any stretch marks that are in the area of skin being removed.

Q. Will I need liposuction with a Tummy Tuck?

A. This will depend on whether there is excess fat that needs to be removed in order to give your abdomen a firmer look. About 30% of patients who undergo a tummy tuck also have liposuction done at the same time.