Abdominoplasty (‘Tummy Tuck’)

Abdominoplasty, commonly called a ‘Tummy Tuck’, is a very commonly performed procedure to correct abdominal wall laxity and ‘overhang’ by tightening the abdominal wall muscles and removing excess skin from the lower abdomen.

There are three varieties of this procedure:

  • Full Abdominoplasty
  • Mini-Abdominoplasty
  • ‘Crescenteric Tuck’


Who is suitable?

Both men and women of 30-55 years with good general health make the most suitable candidates. Women make up the great majority of ‘tummy tuck’ patients because of the stretching of the abdominal wall muscles and skin with successive pregnancies. The end-result of all this is laxity of the abdominal wall muscles, multiple stretch marks and loose, redundant lower abdominal skin.

Where is it done?

Being a long and extensive procedure, a Full Abdominoplasty requires General Anaesthesia and a 2-3 day stay in hospital.

However, if all you need is a Mini-Abdominoplasty or ‘Cresenteric Tuck, these can be done as ‘Day Only Cases’ in which event you can go home 2 hours after your procedure provided your home environment is conducive to rest and recuperation.

However, you cannot go home alone.  You must be accompanied by a responsible adult who can also be at home with you for the first 24 hours.

What is the technique?

In a Full Abdominoplasty, a long incision is made across the lower abdomen from hip to hip under your ‘bikini line’. The skin and underlying fat is then progressively lifted off the abdominal wall muscles right up to the lower ribs, detaching the navel in the process. The stretched abdominal wall muscles are then sutured together to tighten them and by doing so, your abdominal wall becomes ‘flatter’.  Next, the loose abdominal skin is pulled down, the excess is removed and the skin edges are sutured together. During this final stage, the navel is re-implanted in its new and correct position.

Usually one or two drains are inserted under the abdominal incision to drain away any collections of fluid and blood. These are usually removed the next day.

The procedure usually takes anywhere between 4 and 5 hours depending on the size of the abdomen.

If your abdominal wall also contains an excessive amount of fat, your surgeon may recommend that Liposuction be added to your Abdominoplasty procedure for a nicer result.

In a Mini-Abdominoplasty, the length of the incision is the same as a Full Abdominoplasty but the muscle tightening is confined to the lower abdomen below the navel and the navel does not need to be re-located.

If your abdominal wall also contains an excessive amount of fat, your surgeon may recommend Liposuction be included in your Mini-Abdominoplasty for a nicer result.

A ‘Crescenteric Tuck’ is the simplest variety with the smallest scar. It is particularly useful when there is only loose skin and minimal or no underlying muscle laxity.  An elliptical section of loose skin is removed leaving a scar approximately 25-30cm (10-12 inches) below your bikini line.


Frequently Asked Questions

What will it do for me?

An Abdominoplasty will deliver a flatter abdomen by tightening the abdominal wall muscles and removing the excess overhanging skin and fat.  Removing a large overhanging apron of fat, also called a “pannus”, will also cure any chronic skin irritation and dermatitis caused by the two skin surfaces rubbing together.  Surgical removal of a pannus is called by some an “Apronectomy”. 

What type of anaesthesia will I need?

Abdominoplasty is usually performed under General Anaesthesia.

Will I have to stay in hospital?

This depends on the extent of your procedure.  With a Full Abdominoplasty, you will need to stay in hospital for 2 or 3 days depending on your progress.  If, however, you are having a Mini-Abdominoplasty or ‘Crescenteric Tuck’, you should be able to go home after the procedure provided that you are under the care of a responsible adult and that your home environment is conducive to rest and recuperation.

What do I need to do before my surgery?

It is important that you follow all your Surgeon’s Pre-Operative Instructions in order to make your procedure safe and complication-free.  In particular:

  • Be as fit as possible by exercising and reducing excess weight
  • Do not smoke
  • Avoid excess alcohol
  • In the two weeks prior to your surgery, avoid all blood-thinning medications that could cause bleeding during surgery. These include but are not limited to:
    • Aspirin
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines e.g. Nurofen
    • Vitamin E and Multivitamins containing Vitamin E
    • Herbal preparations such as Fish Oil, Echinacea, Morning Primrose Oil, St John’s Wort and others.

Our Surgeon will provide you with a more comprehensive list of all medications that need to be avoided prior to your surgery.

How will I look immediately after surgery?

When you wake after surgery, you will find in place dressings over your incisions, a thin drainage tube to drain any blood or fluid from under the skin and usually a compression garment to reduce abdominal wall swelling as well as support your abdominal wall as it heals.

The drainage tube is usually removed after 1-2 days.

How will my scars look?

The scar in a Full or Mini-Abdominoplasty stretches from hip to hip but it is strategically positioned below your ‘bikini line’ in order to not show when you are wearing a two-piece swimsuit.

If your navel has also been re-positioned, there will be an additional fine scar around the perimeter of your navel.

The scar in a ‘Crescenetric Tuck’ is also positioned below your ‘bikini line’ but it is shorter in length.

All the above scars usually continue to fade and eventually become very inconspicuous.

Will I need to repeat a ‘Tummy Tuck’?

Almost always NO. However, minor adjustments to the scars are sometimes necessary to correct minor irregularities.

What costs are involved?

The total cost of your surgery will be made up of the following individual charges:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Anaesthetist’s fee
  • Hospital fees
  • Compression garment & compression stockings
  • Pre-operative blood tests, ECG and chest X-ray
  • Prescriptions

Our surgeon will provide you with a detailed quotation at your initial consultation once you’ve been assessed and it is known exactly what form of ‘Tummy Tuck’ you require.

Can I claim on Medicare?

Currently, Abdominoplasty provides a variable Medicare rebate for the Surgeon’s Fee in the order of $455 – $985 depending on the type of Abdominoplasty performed.  In addition, Medicare would also rebate a portion of the Anaesthetist’s Fee.  If you also have Private Hospital Cover, you could also claim all or part of your Hospital Fees, the exact amount depending on your particular Fund and your Level of Cover.



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

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an Abdominoplasty (‘Tummy Tuck’) correct?

An Abdominoplasty delivers a flatter and tighter abdomen by removing the excess skin and tightening the abdominal wall muscles. Liposuction may also need to be included to reduce excess abdominal wall fat.

Can abdominal liposuction alone replace a ‘Tummy Tuck?

No. Liposuction can only reduce the amount of fat between your skin and the abdominal wall muscles. If your abdominal protrusion is essentially due to weakness or stretching of the abdominal wall muscles, you need to have the muscle laxity tightened with sutures.  Liposuction can only reduce the degree of protrusion by the amount of fat that is removed. It will not totally flatten your abdominal profile if there is also muscle laxity.

Do I have to stay in hospital?

Yes.  You will need to stay in hospital for 1 or 2 nights depending on the extent of your surgery.

How much time do I need off work?

This will depend both on the extent of your surgery and the amount and type of physical work you do.  Our Surgeon will advise you once they have seen you.

What is the recovery after an Abdominoplasty?

For the first 2 weeks after you return home, you will need physical help and support from other family members in getting around. Initially, you will find that you are walking a little ‘bent over’ due to the tighter abdominal skin but this will disappear as the skin stretches out over the next 1-2 weeks.  In spite of this initial difficulty in walking, it is important that you get up and walk around as much as possible, especially in the first 24-48 hours, in order to reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (Leg Clots) and Pulmonary Embolism (Lung Clots).

For the first 4-6 weeks after surgery, you will need to wear an elasticised abdominal binder to provide support to your abdominal wall during its healing process.

How visible are the scars?

The lower abdominal scar in a Mini- or a Full Abdominoplasty is hidden below your ‘bikini line’. In a Full Abdominoplasty, there is also an additional but inconspicuous scar just within your navel as a result of its relocation.

Is Abdominoplasty eligible for a Medicare Rebate?

Yes, provided you satisfy all Medicare's criteria. If you so, and you also have Private Health Insurance, your Hospital charges could also be partly covered depending on your Fund and Level of Cover.

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