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An abdominoplasty (or ‘tummy tuck’) is a cosmetic operation to improve the appearance of your abdomen.  It may involve removing excess skin and fat and tightening the abdominal muscles.

Is it suitable for me?

It is common for the skin of the abdomen not to shrink back after pregnancy or losing a lot of weight. Your surgeon will carry out a detailed assessment before deciding if surgery is suitable for you.  This may include taking photos for your medical records.  They will examine your abdomen and ask you questions about your medical history.

Your surgeon will check if you are the right weight for your height.  If you are overweight, it may be better to lose weight before having surgery.

You should let your surgeon know if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant in the future.  Pregnancy can change the appearance of your abdomen and may affect the long-term results of surgery.

What can I expect?

Your abdomen should be firmer and have a better shape.  Most people who have a successful abdominoplasty are more comfortable with their appearance.

What does the surgery involve?

The operation can be performed under a local or general anaesthetic and usually takes between two and five hours.
The following are the main techniques that your surgeon may use and they will discuss with you which technique is most appropriate for you.

Standard Abdominoplasty

This technique is suitable if you have a lot of excess skin.

Your surgeon will make a curved cut from one hip to the other, going down to just above the pubic area.  They will remove any excess skin and fat between the pubic area and your umbilicus.  He will then cut under the skin above your umbilicus, pulling it downwards and tightening it.

Your surgeon will need to make a small circular cut for your umbilicus.  Sometimes they will need to reconstruct your umbilicus. It may be necessary to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall and use liposuction to remove excess fat.


This technique is suitable if you only have a little excess skin.  Your surgeon will only need to make a small cut just above the pubic area to remove the excess skin.

Your surgeon may need to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall.  They will not need to cut under the skin above your umbilicus and will only use liposuction if they need to remove any excess fat.

What happens after surgery?

After the operation you will be transferred to the recovery area.  Your abdomen will look discoloured and feel firm and swollen.  You should try to keep your knees bent to reduce the tension on your stitches.

You should rest and only do light activities for the first two weeks.  You should be able to return to work after the second week depending on your type of job.  For the first six weeks after the operation do not lift anything heavy or do strenuous house work.

You will wear a support garment for 4 – 6 weeks after surgery.

Do not drive until you are confident about controlling your vehicle and always check with your doctor and insurance company first.

What is the recovery time?

Your surgeon will arrange for you to have follow-up visits to check on your progress.  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.  If you put on a lot of weight and then lose weight, or get pregnant, you may develop too much skin on your abdomen again.  However, you should not get as much excess skin as you would have done without the operation.

For further information on any surgical procedures or
to book a consultation, please contact us at:

Fitzwilliam Clinic, 70-72 Lisburn Road, Belfast
Tel: 028 9032 3888