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What Is Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)?

Abdominoplasty, or a 'tummy tuck', is one of the five most common cosmetic surgery procedures in the UK, accounting for just over 10% of all cosmetic procedures in 2018 alone.

Following significant weight change it is common to be left with excess, sagging skin in the abdominal area. This is particularly common for women after pregnancy, and can also occur naturally as a result of the ageing process.

An abdominoplasty removes the excess skin from above the waistline, tightens the muscles and fascia of the abdominal wall, and restores a tighter, flatter-looking stomach. The procedure is often combined with liposuction to remove fat and improve the contours of the abdomen.

At A Glance

Tummy Tuck

At A Glance

  • Surgery Time

    2 - 3 Hours

  • Exercise Including Gym

    8 weeks

  • Time Off Work

    2 - 3 weeks

  • Bras & Garments

    Binder day and night for 2 months

  • Hospital Stay

    Day case

  • Sexual Activity

    Restricted activity after 6 weeks

  • Washing

    Shower after 2 days

  • Full Recovery

    8 weeks

  • Reasonably Mobile

    4 - 5 days

  • Driving

    3 weeks

  • Sleeping Position

    Sleeping on back recommended for 4 weeks

Before & After
Tummy Tuck Gallery

See what is possible by clicking the button below.

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Patient Stories

" I was so happy with results and thought the overwhelming feeling that the impact was only going to look better as time goes on. "

Read Sairah Khan's Story
My Face My Body Awards Winner 2019 Aesthetics Awards Highly Commended 2018 Highly Commended 2018 My Face My Body Awards Winner 2020

Prices for Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Included in this treatment

  • Up to two 30 minute – 60 minute consultations with a leading specialist plastic surgeon at our award-winning premises in Chelsea
  • Your procedure carried out at London’s leading specialist cosmetic surgery centre of excellence
  • Return home on the same day to recover in comfort in your own home
  • 24/7 on call nurse assistance
  • Dedicated Patient Co-ordinator, as a personal point of contact through your journey with Cadogan
  • A pre-operative medical assessment to ensure you are fit for surgery
  • Comprehensive post-operative aftercare courtesy of our specialist cosmetic nurses

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Abdominoplasty Surgeons

We have invited a selection of the country's very best consultants to join us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever the nature of your treatment, you will be seeing one of the top practitioners in the country.

Mr. William Van Niekerk

Aesthetic Plastic And Reconstructive Surgeon / GMC: 4362791

Mr. William Van Niekerk is a consultant plastic, reconstructive, aesthetic, and burn surgeon with over 20 years of medical experience ...

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Mr. Hazim Sadideen

Aesthetic Plastic And Reconstructive Surgeon / GMC: 6143207

Mr. Hazim Sadideen is a Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. He graduated from Guy's, King's and St. Thomas' (London, UK) with double distinctions, the Riker's award, the George Leach Cup and King's College London Laurels ...

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Mr. Edmund Fitzgerald O'Connor

Specialist Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons

Mr Edmund Fitzgerald O’Connor is a fully qualified Specialist Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon. He focuses on providing the highest quality of care to all his patients. Putting patient safety, patient experience and patient outcomes first in all that he does...

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See all Plastic Surgeons

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Types Of Abdominoplasty Proceedure

A traditional Full Tummy Tuck or Abdominal Reduction is now obsolete. Brazilian Abdominoplasty is the most advanced and desired form of treatment.

Traditionally, a full abdominoplasty is a large procedure with potential complications such as bleeding, fluid collection, poor healing and scarring, sometimes requiring multiple large drains and multiple visits to see your surgeon.

The Cadogan Clinic Brazilian Abdominoplasty removes the same amount of skin, tightens the rectus abdominis muscles and repositions the belly button the same way a full abdominoplasty would, however, the technique is refined by incorporating liposuction to mobilise the skin in such a way that allows for significantly quicker, better healing.

Sometimes there is confusion because this seems like an easier way to have a tummy tuck, when in fact you’re getting more than you would with a traditional tummy tuck. It’s far a more advanced surgical technique. This technique takes longer to perform, as it is a highly precise surgery, resulting in better results than you would have with the traditional tummy tuck.

This procedure can also be carried out as a day case and does not come with the same complications as the full abdominoplasty. 

Benefits of The Cadogan Clinic Brazilian Abdominoplasty:

  • Less pain
  • Less downtime
  • 30% less risk of hematoma seroma (blood or fluid filling up in the area operated on)
  • Often carried out as a day case
  • No need for drainage
  • More of a nipped-in waist
  • Quick recovery
  • More liposuction

To compare with the risks of a traditional tummy tuck:

  • Normally stay several nights in hospital
  • More downtime
  • 30% higher chance for hematoma seroma (blood or fluid filling up in the area operated on)
  • Longer recovery time
  • Connected to drains from the surgery area, highly unpleasant!

A mini tummy tuck only removes the loose skin and bulge of fat below the belly button to sculpt the lower abdominal wall. The abdominal muscles below the navel can also be tightened if necessary. If you are not a candidate for a full abdominoplasty, then a mini tummy tuck - also called mini-abdominoplasty or mini stomach correction - can offer a good solution. We use the same techniques as for the full Brazilian Abdominoplasty and perform the procedure as a day case, avoiding drains and reducing complications.

This is for the unsightly fold of skin that so often develops above a caesarean section scar. It is due to tethering of the scar and any loose skin and fat will bulge above it. This is unsightly and visible through tight clothing and swimwear. We treat this by simple excision, with or without liposuction. It is normally carried out under local anaesthesia as a day case.

This is for patients who are left with a bulging abdominal wall after pregnancy without a surplus of skin and is due to an over-stretching of the muscles and the fascia retaining the vertical rectus muscles. We introduce a telescope through small incision in the pubic area and at the umbilicus to repair this weak fascia. It is very important that patients do not overexert the muscles of the abdominal wall for at least three months following this surgery.

Sometimes patients have an extra surplus of skin vertically and laterally and it is desirable to remove some skin centrally to tighten the waist. Here as well as the long horizontal cut of the standard abdominal reduction there is a vertical cut too, so that the resulting scar looks like an anchor with a small vertical element extending from the lower scar upwards towards the umbilicus.

This is a modified mini tummy tuck for patients who have a lot of skin and fat hanging down over the pubic area, here only extra skin and fat is removed. This leaves a long horizontal scar. If there are scars from previous operations the usual tummy tuck may be modified to incorporate them.

This is for patients who have surplus skin and fat extending right around the abdominal wall into the flanks and beyond. In these cases, the low horizontal scar is extended laterally into the flanks.

In the body lift the surplus skin and fat extends from the abdomen around the flanks and across the back. It is possible to remove a strip of skin all the way around the abdominal wall in the shape of a tyre. However, if this is carried out tightly the tension is too great to allow proper healing both on the front and the back at the same time. At the Cadogan Clinic we prefer therefore, to carry out a body lift in two stages, with an extended abdominoplasty on one occasion and then the tissue of the back removed separately on another occasion.

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Why Do People Have It?

Abdominoplasty is a very common procedure for both men and women looking to achieve a flatter and more toned abdominal area.

Abdominoplasty primarily targets excess skin (not fat) and is therefore a remedial procedure following body weight and shape changes, as opposed to targeting actual weight loss itself (unless combined with liposuction).

Abdominoplasty is a safe and highly effective procedure that can achieve immediate changes with very little downtime, and the treatment can deliver both an improved physical and psychological sense of wellbeing.

Abdominoplasty patients tend to have one or all of the following symptoms:

  • Uneven fat distribution
  • Excess, sagging skin
  • Loss of elasticity in the skin and stretch marks
  • Stomach muscle weakness

Who Is Suitable?

Cadogan Clinic considers individuals fit for the procedure, if all of the following are true of them:

  • Physically and psychologically fit and healthy
  • Bothered by the appearance of their abdomen and have a stable weight
  • Have realistic expectations of what can be achieved by surgery

Testimonials

The Process

The first step for all of our patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation. At the consultation you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing abdomen profile.

Your surgeon will take you through the various options (Full/Mini/Extended) and which is most suitable and preferential for you. Having established this, several key abdominal measurements will be made and standard clinical photography will be taken.

Finally a comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding the post procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.

If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two week 'cooling off' period.

Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.

If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure. Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:

  • In the 6 weeks before your procedure we recommend smoking is discontinued as patients who smoke have a higher risk of healing more slowly and complications
  • In the week before your procedure you must cease taking Aspirin or any medication that contains Aspirin
  • In the 6 hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid (e.g. still water, black coffee, black tea) which are allowed up to 2 hours before admission

On the day of your procedure we ask that you arrive for your admission an hour before the agreed start time of surgery. At this point a nurse will come and record blood pressure and other relevant vitals, you will meet with your anaesthetist and your surgeon who will make the final mark-ups.

The procedure itself takes place under general anaesthetic over the course of two to three hours. An incision is made across the underwear line to ensure inconspicuous scarring, and the abdominal skin lifted to allow the surgeon to tighten (and if necessary repair) the weakened muscles underneath. The skin itself is then pulled back down over the wall, excess skin is trimmed away, and the skin is then sutured back to original incision line with increased, but not excessive, tension. A new opening for the naval (belly button) is then created.

Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between two to three hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.

Once home you will have access to our dedicated oncall nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post operative phase.

Post procedure pain can take one to two weeks to fully subside and tightness may be felt for several weeks. You will be fitted with a post surgical garment to provide support and help with bruising and swelling. This should be worn day and night for 4 – 6 weeks. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for 6 – 12 weeks, with results improving for up to 12 – 18 months after the procedure.

We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture we also recommend you meet with one of our on site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing and scarring process.

We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 6 - 8 weeks for a final check up.

Why come to The Cadogan Clinic for your Abdominoplasty?

What are the benefits of day case surgery?

What are the risks

Complications are rare although, as with all surgery, possible. Your surgeon will discuss each of these risks comprehensively at your consultation. Read our FAQ section for more information.

What can I Expect from my surgery

Our Surgical Patient Advisor, Ellie, answers our patients most frequently asked questions.

What can I expect from my surgery?

Frequently Asked Questions

Tummy tuck surgery is a stomach tightening and stomach reduction procedure designed to remove extra skin, scars, stretch marks and fat from the tummy, and sometimes to tighten the tummy muscles.

Tummy tuck surgery is far more at achieving this than simply losing weight and exercising, and is the only option that delivers a stomach tightening effect, a tightening of the underlying muscles and an overall stomach reduction.

For some younger patients, liposuction (where fat is sucked out through a tube inserted into small cuts) can also help. This can be done on its own, or with a tummy tuck.

The abdominal reduction or "tummy tuck" is a surgical procedure to tighten the skin of the abdominal wall, frequently performed following childbirth and weight loss.

Plumper patients will require liposuction to reduce the fat following the procedure and, where the muscles are stretched, some tightening of the fascia that holds them together will be required.

There are four main different abdominoplasty procedures:

  • The Cadogan Clinic Brazilian tummy tuck.
  • Mini or partial abdominoplasty.
  • Full Abdominoplasty or traditional tummy tuck is now obsolete at the Cadogan Clinic.
  • Cadogan Caesar Correction (CCS) - post C-section scar revision

There are other techniques used in particular situations and these are described elsewhere on this website.

As the name suggests, this is a lesser procedure than the Full or Brazilian Abdominoplasty and is designed to treat a lesser problem. A mini-abdominoplasty focuses on rejuvenating the abdominal wall below the umbilicus (tummy button), the area most commonly affected by pregnancy.

The procedure consists of liposuction of as much of the abdominal wall as is required and excision of surplus skin. Frequently, the recti muscles will need to be tightened to give a taut, flat tummy. Unlike the Brazilian or full abdominoplasty, the umbilicus (tummy button) is not moved and is therefore unscarred.

There is only a single scar running across the lower abdomen. The longer the scar, the more skin is removed and the tighter it is. Very often it is not much longer than a caesarian section scar and easily hidden. We should remember that transverse scars are of better quality than vertical ones. This scar can be kept low through the pubic hair. In this case, the skin removed can include pubic hair extending upwards towards the tummy button. The downside is that patients who tend to make bad scars may form keloid scars where the incision passes through hair follicles.

The mini-abdominoplasty is particularly appropriate for patients who have had a caesarian section, and are left with a fold of skin above the scar visible through clothing.

The mini-abdominoplasty can be carried out under Local or General Anesthesia as a day case without drains.

A Brazilian abdominoplasty – or Brazilian tummy tuck – is similar to the traditional abdominoplasty technique, in that the same amount of surplus skin is removed and the tummy button or umbilicus is repositioned; however, all the undermining is achieved by very careful liposuction, avoiding cutting blood vessels and nerves. This procedure therefore avoids multiple drains and can very often be carried out as a day case.

The full abdominoplasty is the traditional Tummy Tuck or Abdominal Reduction. At the Cadogan Clinic, we consider it to be obsolete. It is, however, the common procedure carried out countrywide to remove excess skin and fat. All the skin and underlying fat of the abdominal wall from the umbilicus (tummy button) is removed allowing the muscles beneath to be tightened. The skin of the upper abdomen is freed up as far as the ribs and pulled down and stitched leaving a long scar across the lower part of the abdomen to be hidden beneath panties or bikini. The freed-up tummy button is brought through at the appropriate level.

This is a big procedure requiring several nights in a hospital and, because of the undermining (freeing up) of all the skin and soft tissues of the abdominal wall, carries risks of blood and serum collecting under the wound. This issue is solved to some degree by using multiple drains, which remain in place for some days. These drains are uncomfortable, inconvenient and only partially reduce these risks.  This is the traditional Abdominoplasty.

At the Cadogan Clinic, we can produce a tight, slim contoured abdomen without using drains and allowing patients to walk out of the clinic the same day. The risk of blood and serum collecting under the wound is small. The key is liposuction used both to thin and contour the abdomen, but also to mobilize the skin without cutting its blood supply.

There are three main candidates of people who require tummy tucks.

People with good skin elasticity - no loosening inside the abdominal walls and only sub-dermal fat accumulation that they want to have removed. Often times it is possible to achieve the desired results for these patients using liposuction or laser liposuction.

People whose skin elasticity is intact, but they have an enlarged abdominal wall. For these patients, the desired result is obtained by making an incision of 3 to 4 cm and entering to do an endoscopy in order to repair the abdomen wall.

People with loose and sagging skin. For these patients, it is necessary to remove the loose skin and then repair the deformed muscles.

A tummy tuck operation may be required for various reasons when patients have a deformation in their abdomen. This operation is often needed for women who gain and lose large amounts of weight frequently during and after pregnancies.

There are several ways to perform a tummy tuck, and your surgeon will determine during your consultation what the best method of surgery is for your case. If your skin is fairly tight, without too much sagging, then an endoscopic tummy tuck may be all that is needed. This can be performed with an endoscope just by narrowing the abdominal wall from the inside. For patients with excess loose and sagging skin, a mini tummy tuck will be enough for the lower parts of the tummy. If there is a hernia in the abdomen, then it will be necessary to perform a full tummy tuck.

People have this surgery to take away extra skin and fat, or get a flatter tummy, often after pregnancy or gaining and losing weight. It can help re-join the muscles of the abdominal wall if they have been pulled apart in the middle (known as ‘divarification of the recti’). Stretch marks can sometimes be cut away or tightened to make them less obvious. Ideally, your weight will be normal before the surgery. A tummy tuck is not for people who are very overweight, or carried out in order to lose weight. For the right person, a tummy tuck can make a big difference to their confidence and quality of life.

Love handles, or back fat, are excess fatty deposits that develop at the waistline

What causes back fat and love handles varies between person to person, with factors prompting the development of love handles including genetics, diet, exercise and age.

Tummy tuck surgery is perfectly designed to eliminate these love handles, particularly when combined with the stomach tightening and fat reduction effects of liposuction.

As with all surgical procedures generally,  patients must abstain from taking blood thinners, limit drinking alcohol and smoking as much as possible and ideally, stop altogether in the last couple of days preceding surgery.

The tummy tuck operation is best undertaken after pregnancy if possible. So if you are planning to have more children, it may be best to wait until afterwards to have a tummy tuck. There are no upper age limits in this surgery. It is possible to operate on people who are healthy and take good care of themselves, at any age.

The right time for a tummy tuck operation for those who have given birth is the end of the first year. At the end of this period, the patient can lose as much extra weight as she can and the degree of sagging and stretchmarks settle. Ideally, any weight-loss should reach completion before the tuck since they are performed to correct the end results of a weight loss program. Best results are achieved if the patient has reached their ideal weight.

There is no harm in getting pregnant one year after a tummy tuck surgery. If the person does not gain too much weight during pregnancy, the tummy will return to how it looked right after abdominoplasty.

During the tummy tuck operation, the abdomen is narrowed and an inner corset is built. Patients usually lose weight after the surgery, but in the case of weight gain, the abdomen area does not return to its shape before the operation in any way, but maintains its proportion.

Yes. For the right patient and with the correct planning, a tummy tuck and liposuction can be carried out simultaneously.

The belly-button is extracted from the skin without any change, so the shape stays the same. A replacement belly-button is made that will look the same as you had before. 

Abdominoplasty scars are inevitable given the scale and invasive nature of the procedure. As such, the key is to manage scarring by ensuring the abdominoplasty scar is well positioned and easily hidden behind the trouser line.

Abdominoplasty scars are equivalent to a caesarean scar (thin and white after the healing period) when executed properly by your surgeon.

After the abdominoplasty surgery, the patient comes to the hospital room dressed in a compression garment. We recommend this compression garment is used for three weeks. Light walks can commence immediately after surgery but it is wise to wait one and a half months before undertaking heavy exercise or returning to the gym or working out. You should refrain from lifting anything heavy for 4-6 weeks following the surgery as well.

Abdominoplasty recovery times depend on the type and technique of your procedure. A C – Section Tummy tuck recovery, for example, will vary with that of a full, mini or Brazilian equivalent.

In general, however, abdominoplasty recovery is swift and straightforward. You should expect to be off work for at least two weeks, with normal daily routine resumed after this period. You will need to wear a garment for 6 weeks, and avoid strenuous exercise for 8 weeks. Driving after abdominal surgery is not advised in the UK for three weeks after surgery.

Pain is moderate after surgery and will if necessary be controlled by simple over the counter painkillers. It may be advisable to arrange for a friend or relative to stay with you during the first day or two of your abdominoplasty recovery time at home.

There is no particular preparation for you to do other than what you would expect, that is washing generally and particularly the genitalia and tummy button.

Immediately before surgery, your surgeon will mark up the skin with you standing as you will be lying down to have the operation. He/she will mark the incisions and areas of liposuction. There will then be a photograph so that both you and the surgeon can refer back to check that you have achieved the expected improvement. We expect this to be an interesting and happy moment.

Tummy tucks are usually carried out under Total Intravenous Anaesthetic (TIVA) and therefore the procedure can be carried out as a day case. The operation usually takes about three hours, and when you wake up from your operation you may have a drip to give you fluid while you are not drinking. You might be given antibiotics to keep the wound clean. Also, you may have drainage tubes in your lower tummy to drain away any fluid or blood. These tubes will be taken out when the fluid or blood has stopped draining, usually before you go home. Drainage tubes are not required in a Brazilian Abdominoplasty. You are safe to go home the same day, but a responsible adult should stay with you for the first night to ensure you come to no harm as movement may be restricted. Your tummy will feel tight and a little sore. Simple painkillers should be enough to keep you comfortable.

Dressings - You will have some dressings on your tummy. You may need to wear a well-fitting support garment, usually for weeks after the operation. You will be asked to keep your knees and hips bent whenever possible to take the strain off your stitches.

Recovery - You will be out of bed on the same day as your surgery, and doing light activities after 10 days. You should be back to normal exercise in six weeks. If the abdominal muscles are repaired then severe exercise should be limited for three months. Whilst you are in hospital, you may be given blood thinning injections, and support stockings, to reduce the risk of a clot in the leg (DVT) or the lung (PE). Most patients take up to two weeks off work post operation, depending on their job. Your tummy will be sore and swollen for weeks to months after the operation. Do not lift heavy things for several weeks, and avoid sex for at least three weeks. With all activities, start gently. Do not drive until you feel safe and are comfortable wearing a seatbelt. Check your insurance documents if you are not sure.

Tummy tuck surgery costs start from £6,900.

The cost of a tummy tuck at the Cadogan Clinic includes all preoperative and post-operative assessment and care, as well as access to our 24/7 nursing on call service and bespoke scar management expertise.

How much a tummy tuck costs varies by procedure type and technique; combination tummy tuck surgery costs will be in excess of this quoted figure, with abdominoplasty prices typically correlated to the length of surgery involved.

You can view before and after tummy tuck images in our Before and After Tummy Tuck Gallery on this page.

At your consultation, your consultant will also share more extensive examples of abdominoplasty before and after results they have achieved.

It is very rare to be able to get your abdominoplasty on the NHS as it is considered a cosmetic surgery. It may occasionally be possible to get your abdominoplasty on the NHS if it is ascertained that the tummy tuck surgery is for health reasons, but this is very rare.

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This month two of our top surgeons feature in Tatler’s Best Surgeons line up, while sun protection is the lead topic heading into summer with Glamour Magazine.

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