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Abdominoplasty Surgery 

Abdominoplasty is more commonly known as a tummy tuck.

Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure designed to reshape and firm the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat. It can also restore weakened or separated abdominal muscles, resulting in a smoother and more toned appearance.

This procedure is typically sought by individuals who have excess skin and tissue in the abdominal area that cannot be improved through diet and exercise alone. 

Reasons for Abdominoplasty Surgery

  1. Excess skin and fat: Significant weight loss, pregnancy, or ageing can lead to excess skin and fat in the abdominal area that is resistant to improvement through non-surgical methods.
  2. Abdominal muscle laxity: Pregnancy or previous abdominal surgeries may cause the abdominal muscles to weaken or separate, resulting in a protruding abdomen.
  3. Desire for a more toned appearance: Some individuals seek abdominoplasty to achieve a flatter and more contoured abdominal profile.

Preparing for Your Consultation

  1. Research and choose a qualified plastic surgeon: Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon with expertise in abdominoplasty. Review their qualifications, experience, and reviews.
  2. Write down your goals and concerns: Prepare a list of questions and concerns to discuss during your consultation.
  3. Medical history and current medications: Provide your complete medical history, including any previous surgeries, current medications, allergies, and any known medical conditions.
  4. Be prepared to discuss your expectations: Clearly communicate your goals and expectations for the surgery. Your surgeon will assess your individual situation and determine if abdominoplasty is the right procedure for you.
  5. Obtain a GP Referral
  6. If you are on a weight loss journey it is best to be at your goal weight at the time of your consultation.  For reasons related to safety and results your surgeon will ideally want you body mass index to be under 30. Read more about this here

General risks of surgery

As with any surgical procedure, abdominoplasty carries general risks, which may include:

  • Adverse reaction to anaesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Poor wound healing
  • Scarring
  • Changes in skin sensation

Specific Risks of Abdominoplasty Surgery

In addition to the general risks, specific risks of abdominoplasty may include:

  • Seroma: Fluid accumulation under the skin
  • Skin or fat necrosis: Loss of blood supply to the skin or fat, resulting in tissue death
  • Numbness or changes in skin sensation
  • Unfavourable scarring
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Asymmetry or contour irregularities
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE)


  1. Full Abdominoplasty: This is suitable for individuals with significant excess skin and fat in the abdominal area. It involves a horizontal incision above the pubic area which typical extends from hip to hip and a second incision to free the navel. The surgeon will remove excess skin and fat, tighten the abdominal muscles, and reposition the navel.
  2. Mini Abdominoplasty: This is suitable for individuals with less excess skin and fat, usually limited to the lower abdominal area. It involves a shorter incision and focuses on improving the appearance of the lower abdomen.

Anaesthesia and Surgical Technique

Abdominoplasty is typically performed under general anaesthesia, ensuring you are asleep and comfortable throughout the procedure. The surgical technique involves the following steps:

  1. Incision: The surgeon will make an incision, usually horizontally, above the pubic area running from hip to hip. The length and shape of the incision will depend on the extent of correction needed.
  2. Tissue manipulation: Excess skin and fat will be carefully separated from the abdominal muscles. The abdominal muscles may be tightened and sutured together to create a firmer abdominal wall.
  3. Skin and tissue removal: The surgeon will remove excess skin and fat, reposition the remaining tissue, and create a smoother contour. Liposuction is open used for contouring.
  4. Navel repositioning: If necessary, the navel will be repositioned to ensure a natural appearance.
  5. Closure: The incisions will be closed with multiple layers of sutures, and drains may be placed to remove excess fluid and prevent fluid accumulation.

Recovery and Aftercare

  1. Hospital stay: A short hospital stay may be required, depending on the extent of the procedure.
  2. Initial recovery: You can expect swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the abdominal area. Pain medication will be prescribed to manage discomfort.
  3. Wearing compression garments: You will be advised to wear a compression garment to support the surgical area, reduce swelling, and promote healing.
  4. Activity restrictions: Strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and certain movements will need to be avoided for 6 weeks to allow for proper healing.
  5. Follow-up appointments: Regular follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your healing progress.
  6. Scarring: Incision scars will initially be visible but will gradually fade over time. Follow your surgeon's instructions for scar care and keep the incision areas protected from direct sunlight.
  7. Final results: It may take 12-18 months for the final results to fully emerge as the swelling subsides and the tissues settle.

Remember, each patient's experience may vary, and it is important to follow your plastic surgeon's instructions for pre and post-operative care to optimise your results and ensure a safe recovery.

While a tummy tuck can help you achieve a flatter stomach, it is important to note it is not a weight loss procedure. The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men or women who are already in good shape and close to their ideal weight but still bothered by muscle separation or loose abdominal skin.

For patient safety and the best aesthetic outcomes, the ideal candidates should have a body mass index of less than 30 where possible.

Key Questions about Abdominoplasty

Before Procedure

Am I a good candidate for a tummy tuck?

The best candidates for a tummy tuck are in good physical condition with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven't responded well to traditional diet and exercise. Tummy tucks can also be useful for women with stretched skin and muscles from pregnancy. Results from the tummy tuck procedure will likely diminish if women continue to bear children, so we advise patients who plan to become pregnant to consider postponing this procedure until they are finished having children.

We also encourage patients who intend to lose weight to delay surgery until they reach their goal weight, since skin in the abdominal area typically loosens after substantial weight loss. Ideally your weight should be stable for at least 6 months prior to surgery.

In terms of safety it is also important to consider your body mass index. Ideally your body mass idex should be less than 30 primary for safety and better aesthetic results.

Recovery after tummy tuck

After surgery, two surgical drainage tubes are inserted under the skin to drain excess fluid from the surgical site. Drains are usually removed after 3-7 days. A compression garment is worn consistently for 6 weeks. Recovery time ranges from 4-6 weeks to a several months. You should limit strenuous activities for at least six weeks, and may need to take up to a month of work depending on the nature of your occupation. Dr. Cheng will give you specific instructions for your individual recovery. Following these instructions can help speed up your recovery and reduce the risk of any post-surgery complications.

Will my private health fund cover my Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Tummy tuck surgery may be partially covered by private health insurance, however this will depend on your individual health insurance policy and specific medicare criteria. Please contact our office for more detailed information.

Can a tummy tuck help me loose weight?

A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program.

Is a tummy tuck permanent?

Although the results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent, results can be effected by significant fluctuations in weight or as a result of pregnancy.

Should I have a tummy tuck now and wait until after children?

If you may be considering future pregnancies Dr Cheng would advise you to postpone tummy tuck surgery until after you have completed your family.

Tummy tuck cost

Dr Cheng's fee for a full tummy tuck starts from $9,000 inclusive of:
Dr Cheng's surgical fee
Surgical Assistant
Compression Binder
Silicone gel for care of incision lines
Your post operative review appointments in your first post operative year.

Additional fees such as hospital and anaesthetist fees will be confirmed in formal estimate provided at the time of your consultation.

Will my private health fund cover my tummy tuck?

Private health insurance and medicare generally do not cover postpartum tummy tuck procedures, unless you meet particular medicare criteria relating to significant weight loss. Please ask our friendly team for more information about medicare criteria relating tummy tuck or abdominoplasty. Should you wish to check your health insurance policy - the relevant item number is item #30177.

How long should I wait to get a tummy tuck after pregnancy?

Ideally a minimum of at least 6 months to allow time to get back to your ideal body weight. Allow your body a chance to heal following the strain of pregnancy and child birth and give your skin an opportunity to recover from the sustained stretching associated with pregnancy.

Why do I need to wear a compression garment after a tummy tuck?

Following surgery and as part of your recovery, it will be necessary for you to wear a medical grade compression garment for 6 weeks. The compression garment will aid your recovery from the side effects of surgery, including bruising, swelling and general discomfort. It will also help to ease some pain as well.

How does it help?
1. By Reducing swelling or oedema:
The garment compresses and flushes potentially harmful body fluids away from the skin.
2. By minimising bruising by providing compression on small blood vessels and capillaries.
3. Reducing the possible risk of infection as potentially harmful fluids are not allowed to accumulate.
4.Aiding general body contouring and skin retraction by firm compression of the skin during the healing process.
5. Improved comfort by compression provided support.

How long do I need to wear a compression garment for?

On average this will be for a minimum of three weeks 24 hours a day and then until 6 weeks for as long as possible each day and overnight. It is recommended you purchase another garment so that one can be washed and air dried whilst you wear the other. This is extremely important in order to ensure the best possible surgical outcome.

During Procedure

After Procedure

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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Are you a candidate for surgery?

Are you a candidate for surgery?