Body Surgery

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

at Cadogan Clinic, London’s Leading Cosmetic Surgery Specialists. 

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Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396) - founder of the Cadogan Clinic and one of the world's leading plastic surgeons

What is Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?

Abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a ‘tummy tuck’, is a surgical procedure which sees excess skin removed from the waist and the tightening of the muscles and fascia of the abdominal wall to achieve a tighter, flatter-looking stomach.

Tummy tucks are very popular, making up one in five of all the cosmetic surgery procedures carried out in the UK. 

Abdominoplasty is an effective way of getting rid of excess, slack skin, often left behind after significant weight loss. Excess fat causes our skin to stretch and when this weight is lost, the skin is not able to retract back to its original state. As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, meaning the skin loses its elasticity, making it more prone to wrinkles and sagging. This means that even a more modest amount of weight loss can leave sagging skin behind, particularly in older people with less collagen.

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Women are often left with surplus skin and slack, weakened stomach muscles following pregnancy and C-sections, meaning tummy tucks are a popular way to help restore the body back to its pre-childbirth state.

Abdominoplasty is often combined with other treatments such as liposuction and body contouring treatments such as breast augmentation. Our ‘mummy makeover’, a combination of surgeries involving the breast, abdomen, waist, hips and thighs designed to restore the body to its original contours, is particularly popular with women who have given birth.

Abdominoplasty delivers very long lasting results, but it is important you take care of your new body to ensure its longevity. You should maintain a stable weight, avoiding dramatic weight fluctuations. If you are planning another pregnancy, we would advise waiting until you have completed your family.

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
At a glance

Surgery Time

2 - 3 hours

Time off work

2 - 3 weeks

Hospital Stay

Day Case


After 2 days

Reasonable Mobility

After 4 - 5 days


After 8 weeks

Bras & Garments

2 months

Sexual Activity

After 6 weeks

Sleeping on back

Recommended for 4 weeks

Full Recovery

8 weeks


3 weeks

Before and after Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Why do people have it?

Why do people have it & Who is suittable

Abdominoplasty, otherwise known as a ‘tummy tuck’, is a popular procedure to create a more toned and flatter stomach. This procedure is suitable for both men and women.

Abdominoplasty primarily targets excess skin and loose muscles. Tummy tuck does not deal with problem fat, so therefore it is not a means of weight loss. An abdominoplasty can be combined with liposuction for fat removal.

Abdominoplasty is a safe and highly effective procedure which can achieve impressive immediate results with very little downtime. The treatment provides an instant boost to physical and psychological 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?

You are suitable for a tummy tuck if you have excess skin that has lost elasticity in the abdominal area or weakened or separated stomach muscles. 


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

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The cost of a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

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What are the options?

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

A traditional tummy tuck is a major procedure with the potential for a number of complications. These include fluid collection, poor healing, scarring and bleeding, meaning a number of large drains and multiple follow-up visits to the surgeon may be required.

The Cadogan Clinic Brazilian Abdominoplasty delivers better results than a traditional tummy tuck, minus the complications of the full abdominoplasty. The Brazilian technique removes the same amount of skin as a full abdominoplasty would, tightens the rectus abdominis muscles and repositions the belly button. Unlike its traditional counterpart, the Brazilian uses liposuction to mobilise the skin, speeding up the healing process. 

Although this technique provides improved results and quicker healing, the Brazilian is a far more complex and advanced surgery than a traditional abdominoplasty. Because it is a highly precise surgery, it takes longer to perform, but it achieves a superior result.

The Brazilian Abdominoplasty can be carried out as a day case.

Benefits of The Cadogan Clinic Brazilian Abdominoplasty include:

  • Far less pain
  • Shorter downtime
  • 30% less risk of hematoma seroma (blood or fluid collecting at the operation site)
  • Usually carried out as a day case
  • No drainage required
  • Improved ‘nipped-in waist’ appearance
  • Speedy recovery
  • More liposuction

In comparison with a traditional tummy tuck:

  • Several nights’ stay in hospital
  • Increased downtime
  • 30% higher chance for hematoma seroma (blood or fluid collecting at the operation site)
  • Longer recovery time
  • Highly unpleasant drains required for the surgery area. 

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. Unlike the Brazilian or full abdominoplasty, the tummy button is not moved. A mini tummy tuck leaves just one scar running across the lower abdomen. Very often it is not much longer than a caesarian section scar and easily hidden.

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. 

A mini tummy tuck is a popular choice for younger people who may not require the more invasive full abdominoplasty. A mini tummy tuck is also a great way of targeting smaller areas of lax skin following more minor weight loss. This includes the ‘pouch’ which can appear following pregnancy and doesn’t seem to be flattened by diet or exercise alone. 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.

One of the benefits of this technique is that it can target smaller, more specific areas of the tummy.

A mini tummy tuck is an effective way to flatten and tighten the lower stomach and the results are often permanent. It is important to maintain a healthy weight in order to maintain the result.

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.

The main difference between fleur-de-lis and a full abdominoplasty is the shape and size of the incision. The fleur-de-lis technique is the best option if the patient requires the removal of a large amount of skin. Good candidates for a fleur-de-lis procedure will have significant skin laxity.

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 (tummy button). It is this shape where the fleur-de-lis gets its name from.

A fleur-de-lis may take longer to heal than other abdominoplasties because of the area where the horizontal and vertical incisions meet.

This particular technique is perfect for people who may have undergone dramatic weight loss, but their new slimmed down figure is hidden beneath a large amount of surplus skin.

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.

Also known as a full abdominoplasty, or traditional tummy tuck, 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.

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. 

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.

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.

An endoscopic tummy tuck is a minimally invasive option which leaves no scarring and requires minimal downtime. The procedure is carried out internally.

The surgeon will create a small sideways incision in the abdomen, above the pubic hair. The procedure will stretch the abdominal muscles from the inside of the body. This will return the tummy to its original shape and form. An endoscopic tummy tuck is generally performed on younger patients who have experienced pregnancy. 

This procedure is perfect for patients with good skin elasticity but have issues with loose tummy muscles. This includes diastasis recti, the separation of the abdominal muscles, which occurs during pregnancy. It is very common in pregnancy, with about two-thirds of pregnant women experiencing diastasis recti. Men can also experience diastasis recti, often due to yo-yo dieting or doing certain exercises incorrectly, such as sit-ups or weightlifting.

If you are suffering from excess loose skin, you may wish to consider an alternative abdominoplasty treatment, such as a Brazilian abdominoplasty or fleur-de-lis tummy tuck.

There is no skin removal in an endoscopic tummy tuck as this is a treatment which focuses purely on the muscles. However, the procedure can be carried out in conjunction with liposuction to help improve body contours and help achieve an enhanced result. 

Tummy Tuck (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.

What to expect

Below you will find some key information to help you prepare for surgery and make necessary arrangements to ensure you have the support you need and that everything runs smoothly on the day.

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.

The Patient Journey. A breakdown of what you can expect on your journey with us

We are deeply invested in ensuring that every step of your surgical journey with us is as informative and reassuring to you as it can be. This article outlines what you can expect at each stage of the journey

The Patient Journey

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. It is a popular treatment, especially among patients who have undergone substantial weight loss and women looking to regain their pre-pregnancy bodies.

There are a number of different abdominoplasty procedures, depending on the patient’s anatomy and what they hope to achieve through surgery.

The tummy tuck is not a means of weight loss, but the procedure can be combined with liposuction if weight loss is your goal.

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.

You are suitable for a tummy tuck if you have excess skin that has lost elasticity in the abdominal area or weakened or separated stomach muscles. 

You must be a healthy weight and be able to maintain this weight post-surgery. If you gain a large amount of weight, this will have an adverse impact on the results of the tummy tuck.

You should not have abdominoplasty if you are obese, as any subsequent weight loss will leave a surplus of skin. You should not have a tummy tuck while pregnant or if you are planning to have more children. This is because your body will undergo major changes, undoing the benefit of a tummy tuck. It is best to wait until you have completed your family.

It is important that you have realistic expectations as to what can be achieved through surgery. 

A tummy tuck by itself is not a means of weight loss, but the procedure can be combined with liposuction. If you have good skin elasticity, you may be a more suitable candidate for liposuction than abdominoplasty. Your surgeon will discuss this with you.

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.

We do not recommend you do any exercise immediately after abdominoplasty. You can return to normal exercise after six weeks, or three months if you have had your abdominal muscles repaired. Your surgeon will be able to advise you further on this.

When you have recovered enough from surgery, it is important to focus on exercises which target your core muscles, tightening and strengthening your abdomen. This can include stretches, knee rolls and pelvic floor exercises. Daily aerobic exercises which stretch the whole body, such as brisk walking, jogging or cycling, will also help. Try to do one hour of aerobic activity each day. With a healthy workout regimen, you can enjoy the results of your tummy tuck for many years to come.

It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure the tummy tuck results last. Eating a healthy diet and avoiding unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking will also help.

There are a number of things you should consider when choosing a surgeon to carry out your abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).

There are a number of different abdominoplasty techniques, some which involve the removal of skin and fat and others which just see the removal of excess skin. Some techniques are more invasive and require more downtime. A good surgeon will run through the different methods and discuss which one will be best for you. They will also advise whether you will need liposuction alongside your tummy tuck.

A good surgeon should be able to explain the procedure in great depth, as well as the recovery period and any potential risks or complications. They will also be honest about potential outcomes and help you to manage your expectations for tummy tuck surgery.

You should check that the surgeon is a specialist in abdominoplasty and when you have your initial consultation, make sure the surgeon has an extensive portfolio of before and after photographs that they can share with you so you can get a good idea of how the results of your surgery will look. Be sure to check out testimonials from previous patients.

A good tummy tuck surgeon will always put the patient’s mental and physical wellbeing ahead of everything else. If you are not physically and psychologically fit and healthy, an ethical surgeon will not attempt to perform the procedure.

Only registered doctors can perform cosmetic surgery in England. You can check if a surgeon is a registered doctor or surgeon on the General Medical Council (GMC) online register.

Some surgeons may be members of professional associations, such as the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) or the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS). However there are some qualified surgeons who are experts in their field but choose not to sign up to a trade body for their own reasons.

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