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Abdominoplasty - Tummy Tuck in Singapore

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Abdominoplasty or more commonly known as a tummy tuck surgery is a popular procedure to correct abdominal obesity.

As our population becomes more health conscious, more women are giving attention to the excess fat sitting around their tummy. There is a rising desire for a flat stomach. However, this becomes extremely difficult to achieve taking into account the numerous demands of the working class in Singapore. Enter abdominoplasty or the tummy tuck. Many misunderstand it as a procedure only to get rid of fat around the tummy. However, it is so much more than that.

There are four primary goals of the tummy tuck:

  • Removal of any lax skin and fat
  • Improving the tummy contour
  • Restoring core muscle strength
  • Correction of any herniation

A tummy tuck surgery not only involves the removal of excess fat, but it also requires the removal of excess skin which may provide the dual benefit of reducing the amount of skin marred by stretch marks.

Among the people looking to getting a tummy tuck are mothers experiencing excess skin and fat as a result of childbirth. The loose skin around the belly button area and sometimes upper abdomen can be hard to treat without plastic surgery. In such cases where cosmetic procedures have to be done to the abdominal wall or abdominal skin, patients are often left with a choice between a full tummy tuck or mini tummy tuck.

Tummy tuck surgery involves the removal of excess fat, stretched skin, correction of splayed abdominal muscles, and improving the appearance of the navel. This is especially so after significant weight loss, such as after bariatric surgery which may leave patients with unsightly, hanging skin. Tummy tuck surgery is also commonly performed for women who have completed their family planning and would like some assistance in the removal of not just the excess lower abdominal tissue, but also removal of the stretch marks that result from pregnancy and correction of any umbilical herniation. Often, these can’t be resolved through diet and exercise alone, although a healthy diet and regular exercise will greatly improve the aesthetic outcome of any tummy tuck procedure.

It should be noted that this is not a weight loss procedure, but rather to augment or correct the after-effects of weight loss, in combination with a healthy diet and a regular exercise regime.

Types of Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

There are various types of abdominoplasty, such as:

  • The mini-abdominoplasty
  • The full abdominoplasty
  • Lipo-abdominoplasty
  • Belt lipectomy and lower body/buttock lift.

The most common tummy tuck procedure chosen for post-pregnancy mothers would be the mini-abdominoplasty or a mini tummy tuck. This is so termed due to the much shorter scar that is required for a good result. The scar of the tummy tuck is well-hidden where a caesarean scar might be, and would not be much longer. It also helps to eliminate the problem of sagging skin, simple umbilical defects and splaying of the abdominal rectus muscles located at the lower tummy area.

Patients who are not suitable for a mini-abdominoplasty should undergo a full abdominoplasty or a full tummy tuck, with a long scar, to achieve the best body contours. Lipo-abdominoplasty, with the use of liposuction in combination with the abdominoplasty, is a very useful technique to achieve good results. The harvested fat from the liposuction can also be used to create a buttock lift, also termed a Brazilian Butt Lift.

Post-massive weight loss patients often require a much more extensive procedure, such as a full abdominoplasty or a belt lipectomy, also termed a circumferential abdominoplasty. This is when excess skin on the sides and back are removed along with the full tummy tuck. It can improve the contour and appearance of the thighs and bottom. This can also be done in combination with liposuction to achieve excellent results.

Am I suitable for this procedure?

A tummy tuck may not be suitable for everyone. Those who are planning to conceive are not a good fit as pregnancy would undo all the effects of the tummy tuck. Those who smoke have a risk of wound infections due to the chemicals in tobacco smoke. Those of unstable weight or are severely overweight are also advised against this procedure as they may have higher chances of complications during and after surgery. However, this does not mean that the option is entirely cut off. The doctors may advise patients on suitable lifestyle changes prior to allowing them to undertake the surgery.

The choice between the various types of abdominoplasty is reached depending on the patient’s characteristics and needs, and after a detailed discussion with the plastic surgeon.

It is important to follow Dr Samuel Ho's advice on post-surgical recovery. The procedure entails the alteration of the abdominal muscles. Hence, physiotherapy may be required to ensure that the muscles heal and stabilise correctly. It is also important to maintain a healthy weight to ensure that the effects are long-lasting in improving the appearance of the abdomen. This can be done by incorporating healthy eating habits and a regular exercise regime to one's daily life.

A Tummy Tuck Procedure

Generally, tummy tuck surgeries would require the patient to be put under general anaesthesia. The necessary incisions are made to allow for the skin and fat to be separated from the muscles. The splayed muscles are then pulled and stitched together and the skin is closed with stitches as well. Typically, tummy tuck surgeries in Singapore would require patients to stay in hospitals for a few days. However, Dr Samuel Ho's method for this surgery is such that all his patients only need to undergo day surgery. Patients would also be required to wear a compression garment for a duration of up to 3 months for optimal results.

It is important to understand that though Singapore has strict guidelines to ensure that practising surgeons are highly qualified, a tummy tuck is still considered a major surgical procedure and it is paramount that you give your surgeon as much information you can with regards to medical history. During a consultation, Dr Ho will also inform you of the complications with regards to tummy tuck surgeries.

In Singapore, only plastic surgeons are allowed to perform these tummy tuck procedures. When looking for a surgeon, it is important to find out as much as possible. Some potential questions to ask your surgeon would be:

  1. The number of years in practice and his accreditation
    According to Singapore’s regulations, he must be someone accredited by MOH. He must also have at least 6 years of experience after medical school specialising in general than plastic surgery. This would mean that the doctor knows what he is doing and would be able to handle most situations including complications during and after surgery.
  2. Before and after pictures of tummy tuck procedures he has done himself
    This allows for better visualisation of the final look and if the patient would be satisfied with this procedure.
  3. Expected Recovery Time
    This allows the patient to better plan their time and make necessary arrangements while they recover from the surgery.

During your consultation with Dr Samuel Ho, he'll share more on the tummy tuck cost, the complications involved, your suitability etc.

About Dr Samuel Ho

Dr Samuel Ho is the Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Medical Director of Allure Plastic Surgery. He specialises in Mummy makeovers, Tummy tucks, Eyelid surgery, delicate Rhinoplasty work and Breast surgery.

He is the first and only plastic surgeon in Singapore to be awarded a Health Manpower Development Programme aesthetic surgery fellowship by the Ministry of Health. He trained under top plastic surgery centres in South Korea, such as Hanyang University Hospital, 101 Plastic Surgery Clinic and BIO Plastic Surgery Clinic. Through his training, he adopted various novel surgery techniques, including the “under-through” levator aponeurosis plication technique for upper eyelid ptosis surgery.
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