Abdominoplasty – All the facts

Abdominoplasty/Tummy tuck

Abdominoplasty, sometimes known as a “tummy tuck” is a surgical procedure designed to shape and tone the abdominal region. The surgery involves tightening the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall and the removal of excess fat and skin from the middle and lower abdomen. Modern abdominoplasty has now evolved to use the complimentary technique of liposculputre to contour the waist, lower back and abdomen at the same time. This procedure can be cosmetic or reconstructive in nature.

In most cases, an abdominoplasty will restore weakened or separated muscles, help alleviate pain, improve bladder function, reduce itching and skin infections caused by excess skin, and change the shape and tone of the abdomen to create a firmer and smoother profile.

Types of abdominoplasty surgery

Mini abdominoplasty


A mini abdominoplasty is useful when treating the lower half of the abdomen below the belly button. The incision is similar to a caesarean incision just above the pubic region. This surgery is effective if there is a small amount of bulging fat and will address some of the musculature underneath.


Full abdominoplasty

A full abdominoplasty is the most common of the surgical options. A full abdominoplasty will remove sagging skin and excess fat from the abdomen and repair any separated abdominal muscles, while returning the umbilicus to a natural position. The incision extends across the lower abdomen, hidden in the underwear line.

Liposuction/liposculpture is routinely used to areas particularly below the ribs and in the sides of the abdominal area to improve contour, maximise good healing and limit the length of the scars.

Extended abdominoplasty

An extended abdominoplasty is a full abdominoplasty but the incision instead of being hip to hip will extend degrees and will include the removal of the love handles.

While abdominoplasty can be a cosmetic procedure, it can be partly reconstructive necessary to:

  • Correct abnormalities caused by pregnancy, obesity, extensive weight loss, tumours
  • Correct or relieve structural defects of the abdomen
  • Improve function of abdominal muscles
  • Create a more normal appearance of the abdomen
  • Repair an abdominal hernia
  • Remove fat, that can cause dermatitis and skin infections

What is the recovery time?

Following your abdominoplasty surgery, you will need to wear a support garment for approximately 6 weeks to minimise swelling and support your new abdominal shape during healing.

Most patients can return to work within 2-3 weeks. Most strenuous activities will need to be postponed for six to eight weeks.

How long does it take?

A mini abdominoplasty can take 1-2 hours whereas a full abdominoplasty can take approximately 3 hours under a general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital with an Anaesthetist.

Dr Ho only works with board-certified Anaesthetists and will only perform facelift surgery under sterile conditions in an accredited hospital.

Do I need to stay overnight in hospital?

A full abdominoplasty will require 3-7 nights stay in the hospital. This is tailored to the individual needs of the patient and will be discussed with you at your consultation.

How much does an abdominoplasty cost?

An abdominoplasty ranges between $15,000 to $18,000. Additional costs such as the Anaesthetist and Hospital costs can be given to you after your consultation with Dr Ho. Medicare and health fund rebates may apply for some of your costs, so it is advisable to bring a GP referral with you.

From 1st January 2016 Medicare has imposed restrictions on the use of the item number for thigh lipectomy.  In order to qualify under the new Medicare guidelines it is important that patients fulfil the following criteria:

  • There is intertrigo (severe rashes and skin ulceration) or another skin condition that risks loss of skin integrity and has failed three months of conventional (non-surgical) treatment
  • The excess skin interferes with the activities of daily living
  • Significant weight loss defined as a loss of 5 BMI (body mass index) units which has been stable for at least six months

Is there any scarring?

Abdominoplasty surgery does involve incisions, however where possible these are made under the bikini line.

Dr Ho uses his specialist skills to minimise scarring and will support you during the post-operative healing. In some cases, silicone will be used to assist in scar management.


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