Getting rid of fat in the abdomen is often the hardest when it comes to losing weight as that is where stubborn fat tends to settle, especially for women. From physical changes as we age, weight fluctuations, and childbirth, excess fat and skin can accumulate around our stomach. Excess fat, skin or drastic weight loss is why people tend to consider a tummy tuck surgery or abdominoplasty.
Many new mothers also consider a tummy tuck, as it helps get rid of post-pregnancy woes such as excess skin, the tummy pouch and C-section scars.
Understandably, getting a tummy tuck is a big decision and it’s always important to do ample research before deciding on the surgery. Hopefully, this guide will help you in your decision-making process.
While some individuals may lose a few pounds from this procedure, a tummy tuck should be seen as a way to sculpt and shape the body.
Ideally, you should only consider a tummy tuck when you are close to your desired weight from a minimum of six to twelve months from your goal weight or are already at your ideal weight. This is a crucial step as gaining or losing too much additional weight can undo the contoured shape you have achieved from the tummy tuck; the main worry is too much excess skin laxity after a huge amount of weight loss after the procedure. Your weight fluctuations can also stretch the abdominal tissues that may require a revision procedure to restore the initial results.
If you’re looking to get rid of stubborn fat, perhaps liposuction would be a better option. You may even undergo a combination of liposuction and abdominoplasty for the best results.
Depending on the type of tummy tuck done, you might have a different scar from another individual depending on the location and size of the abdominoplasty. For example, a traditional tummy tuck will have a scar from hip-to-hip that is hidden under the bikini line. If you only need a small amount of skin removed, a mini tummy tuck will have a smaller scar. The scar will also be permanent and will be visible for about 12 weeks before fading off nicely.
C-section scar after pregnancy
If you’ve just undergone a C-section, your plastic surgeon can work with you in performing a tummy tuck that tightens your abdominal muscles, removes the excess skin and creates a new, cleaner scar.
A tummy tuck is an outpatient day surgery, which means you’ll get to go home right after the tummy tuck is done. However, you will need some time for recovery. As your wound is situated in an area that might limit movement, you will need help for about a week to prepare food and keep the house clean.
Some patients will need some assistance to sit up or grab anything far for the first couple of days for the full tummy tuck, although many of the patients will feel it is an easier recovery as compared to the C-section. Mini-tummy tuck patients are usually very mobile even the next day after the surgery. Heavy lifting should also be avoided for the first month or so, so mothers with young children should consider this as well; carrying your young child after the first 5 days is usually not an issue.
As a result of your stomach muscles being tightened, excess skin removed and skin pulled tautly, you’ll be bent over for a few days. It is more psychological than an actual physical need to, and I usually advise patients to keep their back as straight as possible after the 3rd day post surgery, to avoid backaches.
You might have difficulty reaching for things and it will impact the way you rest. Plan on sleeping in a recliner, with a wedge pillow or with a bunch of pillows that allow you to prop up your legs until you are able to lie flat comfortably.
A tummy tuck wound takes 12 days to heal on the superficial surface, but the deeper tissue will take 4 to 6 weeks to heal. You may feel fatigued, swollen, sore and some pain during the first few days. It is crucial to focus on rest and healing for up to six weeks. As the swelling can linger over four to six months, it can take up to a year to see the full results of your surgery. Results will be most obvious when the swelling has subsided.
It is also important to remember to wear the compression garment provided to you religiously for the first 4 to 6 weeks, as this will help greatly in facilitating the healing process.
There are various types of abdominoplasty, such as:
Based on your needs and concerns, your plastic surgeon will recommend a type of abdominoplasty suited to you.
For example, for post-pregnancy mothers with not a lot of skin excess/laxity or a very large bulge, a mini-abdominoplasty or mini tummy tuck is often recommended. This is because it creates a much shorter scar and provides good results. The scar formed from this type of tummy tuck would be well hidden where a caesarean scar might be. It also helps eliminate the problem of sagging skin, simple umbilical defects and splaying of the abdominal rectus muscles. 
To find out more about abdominoplasty, click here.
A tummy tuck procedure is not cheap, so doing your research on a certified surgeon is important as it may affect your results. In Singapore, only plastic surgeons are allowed to perform this procedure. They must be accredited by the Ministry of Health Singapore (MOH) and have at least 6 years of experience specialising in general surgery — this ensures that they are capable of handling complications during and after surgery. If possible, during your consultation, request pictures from other tummy tuck procedures done by the surgeon to have a better idea of his skills.
The right surgeon would also be able to advise you on whether you’re suitable for abdominoplasty based on the characteristics of your body and your needs. For example, those planning to conceive or have unstable weight are advised against this procedure. If so, they would also be able to provide you with alternative options that would be safer for you.
At Allure, Dr Samuel Ho performs the tummy tuck as a day surgery, without needing to stay in the hospital for a few days. Patients are required to wear a compression garment for optimal results and follow Dr Ho’s advice post-surgery that entails the alteration of abdominal muscles for the best results.
If you’re looking at considering a tummy tuck, it would be good to check in with a doctor on your suitability. When discussing your options, it is important to inform your doctor of your lifestyle and any kind of medical history you have for an accurate evaluation.