This operation improves the tummy’s appearance after weight loss or childbirth. A full abdominoplasty will address skin excess, fat excess and bulging of the abdominal contents between the muscles of the anterior abdominal wall (divarication). This results in a scar from hip to hip, and another scar around the belly button (as it will need to be repositioned during the skin tightening process). You may need liposuction as well to improve your contours and augment your result.

You will be assessed in clinic for the presence of any or all of these features before tailoring the plan to the correct procedure.

In those with only a small amount of skin excess, then a mini abdominoplasty may suffice. This results in a much shorter scar above the hairline and will not involve the belly button.

In those with just a small amount of excess fat, but good skin laxity then liposuction alone may be enough.


As a general guide, a full abdominoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia, and usually takes around three hours to perform, depending on which combination of the techniques is necessary. You will usually have two temporary drains and should expect to stay in hospital for about 3 days (until the tissue fluid drainage decreases). It would be advised for you to take two weeks off from work, and to avoid strenuous activity and sports for 6 weeks.

A mini abdominoplasty or liposuction may be performed under general anaesthesia, or in some cases under local anaesthesia (with or without sedation), and you will be allowed home the same day.

After the operation compression stockings and early mobilisation reduce the likelihood of complications such as deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the leg) or pulmonary embolus (blood clot in the lungs). You will be given medication to thin your blood whilst you are in hospital to further decrease this risk. Wounds generally heal well, but in some patients delayed wound healing may occur.


These will be discussed with you during your consultation, including the risks that may be specific to you if you have a significant medical history.

It is important to take your time and consider them carefully. You will have the opportunity to return for a second consultation to discuss them further, as well as any other queries you may have.

These include

  • Bleeding (this is more common in those who previously had a very high BMI)
  • Infection
  • Seroma (collection of tissue fluid that may need to be removed with a needle in clinic)
  • Delayed wound healing and problematic scarring
  • Numbness around the scar
  • Fullness at the lateral edges of the scar (‘dog ears’ or ‘cones’ that may need revising under local anaesthetic if they do not settle)
  • Blood clot in the leg (Deep Vein Thrombosis) or lungs (Pulmonary Embolism)

You can find more information at the BAPRAS site

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