What is abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty (also known as a tummy tuck) is surgery to remove the excess skin and fat on the abdomen that may accumulate after pregnancy, obesity, or age. In a full abdominoplasty, abdominal muscles that may have become stretched out or lax over time are tightened.
At what age is abdominoplasty usually performed?
There is no "normal" age or time in one's life to have an abdominoplasty, but it is most often done after a woman has given birth and does not plan to have more children, or after someone has lost all the weight he or she intends to lose. Age is no bar as long as the patient is fit for anaesthesia.
How is abdominoplasty performed?

A full tummy tuck is usually performed under general anaesthesia. The surgeon makes a cut across the lower abdomen just above your pubic bone and pubic hair. This incision may go from hip to hip, but it is usually placed so that it will be hidden by the undergarments. Then, excess skin and fat is separated and removed. A cut is made around the belly button to loosen the skin and detach it from the belly button; which is then properly repositioned.

In a full abdominoplasty, the abdominal muscles are tightened. The skin above the belly button is pulled down toward the pubis and stitched into position as the cuts are closed. A new hole is made in the skin to bring the belly button out.

If required one or two plastic tubes called drains are placed under the skin to allow fluids to drain from the site for a few days. The drains are removed by the third post-operative day.

What should I expect post operatively?

You are usually able to walk the very next day after abdominoplasty surgery and you will be encouraged to do so. You should take a short walk three or four times a day for a few minutes each time. You will most likely not be able to stand completely straight and you may be a bit hunched over for few days. The skin of your abdomen may feel tight. You may be instructed to remain bent over a bit for the first 4 to 5 days after surgery.

If drains have been inserted, they are usually removed 3 to 4 days after tummy tuck surgery. You should take it easy for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Take it easy, but walk a bit every few hours every day. You will be told to wear an abdominal pressure garment for several weeks after your surgery to hold everything in place while you heal. This is a girdle or a band that fits around your abdomen and holds everything in place during healing.

Some swelling and bruising are normal, but the amount varies from person to person.

Is there pain associated with abdominoplasty?
The amount of pain with an abdominoplasty is quite variable. Some people report a moderate amount of discomfort and some say it is more intense. But there will be some pain. Your surgeon will give you a prescription for pain relievers to keep you comfortable.
Where are the scars located in an abdominoplasty?
The abdominoplasty scar extends from one hip bone to the other just above the pubic bone. This scar is well hidden within the normal creases that are located in the lower abdomen and can be completely covered within the undergarments or the bikini.
When can I return to work?
While the drains are in, you should rest in bed or on a couch, but get up to walk frequently. You may be told to wear a compression garment, usually a girdle or a wide band of elastic material. You may be instructed to wear this for 3 to 6 weeks. Many patients can return to work after 2 weeks after tummy tuck surgery, but this depends on how extensive your surgery is and what you do for a living. In some cases, you may need to be off work 4 weeks.