St George Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Body Procedures

What is an abdominoplasty?

Abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck, is a surgery performed to remove excess fat and skin from a patient’s midsection and involves the tightening of the abdominal muscles to create a flat and more contoured stomach. The best candidate for this type of surgery are those who are not overweight but are in good shape. For example those who experience weight fluctuations or women post-pregnancy.

What does the operation involve?

Abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthetic and usually takes between two and five hours. The most common technique used involves an incision made across the lower abdomen, extending to the hip on each side. This incision can be angled to make the scar easier to conceal. The surgeon will tighten the vertical muscles in your stomach by pulling them close together and stitching them into position. Extra skin and fat is also removed.

How soon will I recover?

The recovery period following this procedure varies from person to person. However you should be able to go home after two to three days and you should be able to return to work after the second week, depending on your type of job. You should avoid sex for the first three weeks.

The results of an abdominoplasty improve gradually over the first six months. The best results for you will happen if you keep to a healthy weight and exercise regularly.

Complications can occur and your plastic surgeon will discuss this with you in detail at your consultation.

What is liposuction?

A liposuction procedure can help men and women of all ages and it is most suitable for the reduction or removal of stubborn areas of fat that have previously proved resistant to normal diet and exercise regimes, and is especially suitable for areas that remain out of proportion to the rest of the body shape, irrespective of a person’s weight loss.

What does the operation involve?

A liposuction procedure involves the surgical removal of surplus fat through a slender tube called a cannula. This cannula can either be connected to a large syringe or a special surgical vacuum device, through which, excess fat cells are carefully sucked away.

Patients can either be fully anaesthetised or sedated throughout this procedure, which can take an average of between one to two hours to perform. The type of anaesthetic chosen will usually determine whether a patient is treated as a day case or be required to stay in hospital overnight to recover.

Techniques vary between surgeons and according to the individual needs of each case. However, most commonly, the surgeon injects the selected area with a clear solution that limits bleeding and bruising and numbs the surrounding tissue for up to eight hours following surgery before excess fatty deposits are removed by suction. This solution will be absorbed in part by the body and the remaining solution will leak out of the tiny cannula incisions for 24 hours after surgery. This is a normal process and patients should not be alarmed by such leakage.

Following surgery, the small keyhole incision sites left after the suction surgery are either sutured together with a tiny single stitch or closed with a simple elastoplast dressing. Patients are then dressed in a firm support garment, which must be worn at all times for four to six weeks following surgery. This support garment is important, as it adds compression to the newly formed shape and assists with the early reduction of swelling and helps healing.

How soon will I recover?

The operated area is often quite tender, bruised and painful for several weeks following surgery.

Analgesic tablets (pain killers) are always provided for any discomfort and patients are encouraged to stay as mobile as possible during their early recovery stage to help improve their circulation. This in turn will help diminish residual swelling and bruising and aid a more speedy recovery.

In the early days following discharge, patients are strongly advised to avoid any excessive level of activity that would put undue strain on the operated areas. Whilst the healing wounds are well hidden beneath the skin, they still need the same consideration that any visible wounds require during a recovery stage.

In order to help the newly shaped fatty tissue and skin bond firmly together, patients are usually advised to wear an elastic support garment day and night for at least one week and then for a minimum of another three weeks during the daytime. Patients will also be advised to take a specific amount of recovery time away from work, dependent on the type of work they perform, but it is usual to take around 7–14 days away from work, dependent on the volume of the fat removed and individual recovery.

What is Brachioplasty?

An arm lift, also known as Brachioplasty, is a procedure performed to remove loose and sagging skin from the under upper arms. This excess skin can often be a result of significant weight loss however a large number of people do experience this but it can quite often be resolved non-surgically through exercise.

What does the operation involve?

This operation in performed under general anaesthetic in the hospital setting. There are two ways in which this operation can be performed, either through a vertical arm lift or a horizontal arm lift. The vertical lift results in a long scar on the underside of the arms which is more prominent however the results of this operation are more significant. The results of the alternative horizontal procedure are more marginal but with a smaller horizontal scar under the arm pit.

With both of these approaches liposuction is initially used to remove any excess fat and the skin is then contoured appropriately.

How soon will I recover?

The recovery period for Brachioplasty is about 2-3 weeks and the initial swelling of the operation should subside within 3 weeks at which time the results will be apparent. If this procedure is performed in isolation then it is a day only procedure so no overnight stay in hospital is required. However, most often this procedure is combined with another procedure such as breast augmentation.

Within the initial recovery period patients should keep their arms elevate to reduce swelling and a compression garment may need to be worn for several weeks.