Abdominoplasty is also called a Tummy Tuck and is an operation to remove overhanging skin over the lower part of the abdomen. It is probably the most major of all the cosmetic surgery procedures that we perform and often requires a recovery time of around 4-6 weeks. The operation is often performed for people who have either lost a lot of weight or for people who find that they still have some excess skin after childbirth. 

The procedure
A full tummy tuck involves lifting the whole abdominal skin up, pulling it down and removing the excess skin. The belly button is repositioned at the end of the operation and sometimes the abdominal muscles are tightened. Sometimes the procedure is combined with liposuction on the sides of the abdomen to give a better contour to the abdomen. Occasionally, particularly for people who have lost a lot of weight, it is necessary to remove some of the skin in the middle of the abdomen as well as removing skin on the lower part of the abdomen; this is called a "fleur-de-lis" abdominoplasty. 

All these may be performed as part of a tummy tuck procedure, and the cost for surgery includes any refinements such as liposuction that we need to perform to give the best possible result. 

What you need to know about abdominoplasty
The vast majority of people are delighted that they have had the procedure, but many people notice some minor imperfections after the operation. The commonest problems after an abdominoplasty are seroma formation, slight fullness at the scar line, and noticing a difference between the left and right sides of the abdomen. The risks of the procedure include:
• infection
• bleeding
• seroma formation
• scarring from hip to hip with slight bulges at the edges of the scars (known as dog ears) and migration of the scar with time to a higher or lower position
• over correction
• under correction
• asymmetry
• wound healing delays, including necrosis, commoner in smokers
• changes with time, weight gain, weight loss and pregnancy
• changes in skin sensation around the hips and lower abdomen
• dissatisfaction: the aims of the surgery should be improvement rather than perfection. Most people are happy they have had the operation but many people are unhappy with one or more aspects of their results

Different types of abdominoplasty
There are three main types of tummy tuck - the full tummy tuck, the mini-abdominoplasty and the fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty. These may be combined with liposuction or muscle tightening and the right type of procedure for you will depend on what your stomach looks like. 

A full tummy tuck will require you to stay in hospital for a few days and you will find yourself stooped a little for the first few couple of weeks after your operation. You should allow for a recovery period of up to 6 weeks before you are back to your normal energy levels and you should be aware that you will see the final result 6 months after the operation. You should try and wear a corset to reduce swelling for around 4 weeks after the operation.