Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Surgery – Toronto
What is Abdominoplasty
Also known as tummy tuck surgery, abdominoplasty is a general term for procedures designed to tone and reshape the abdominal wall. Whether you have lost massive weight, or are simply tired of wearing ‘mom’ jeans after pregnancy has stretched out your abdomen, abdominoplasty may be your only option. Abdominoplasty is not just about correcting excess skin. It may be combined with liposuction to remove excess fat deposits, and it may involve tightening of the fascia and muscle of the abdominal wall to create a more appealing silhouette. Some patients also undergo breast surgery with an abdominoplasty, a combination referred to as a ‘mommy makeover’.
Who is a good candidate?
Best candidates for abdominoplasty have plateaued following weight-loss. Abdominoplasty results may be compromised if you later lost substantial weight (>20% body weight) or conversely gained weight (e.g. pregnancy). You need not be at an ideal weight-we have obtained beautiful results in over-weight patients. The key is that you have enough laxity in the skin and abdominal wall to justify the scar necessary from abdominoplasty. Beyond the obvious cosmetic benefits of this surgery, you may gain relief from skin chafing and rashes, and may achieve improved performance and enjoyment of athletics by relief from sloppy skin or from more effective alignment of your abdominal muscles. Many patients describe relief from back pain, and studies have demonstrated improvements in stress incontinence (peeing when you sneeze or laugh).
You should delay your consultation until you are done having children and have reached your realistic goals from weight-loss. Do not strain to lose maximum weight in the hope that we will permanently trap you in a smaller body with a tummy tuck.
The most significant negative aspect to abdominoplasty is the scar, so you should take the time to understand how noticeable your scars will be. You should gain an understanding for what effect tummy tuck will have on your actual size- depending on where they carry excess weight, patients can be disappointed that their belt size is unchanged after tummy tuck surgery. This surgery will firm and reshape your abdomen, but we aren’t removing the organs and fat inside your abdominal cavity and so your size change is limited to the amount of outer skin/fat we can remove.
You should consider what effect a trimmer abdomen will have on your opinion of other body areas (e.g. mons, hips, thighs), and be sure to ask us about these areas at your consultation.
Alternatives to Abdominoplasty
Liposuction would be our preference for reshaping your abdomen, but it has limited application where there are loose tissues. Laser liposuction is sometimes touted as a better solution for tightening loose skin, but we are impressed by studies that show no advantage when laser is used on one side of the body, and traditional liposuction on the other.
Fees for abdominoplasty at our Toronto Cosmetic Plastic Surgery office (including facility and anesthetist) range from $3000 to $9000, depending on the extent of surgery that is necessary.
Preparation for surgery
You should be healthy and at a stable weight before surgery. We provide detailed written instructions on preparation, and will review these with you well before surgery. We provide a compression garment (Velcro and fabric belt) for your use after surgery.
In abdominoplasty, an incision is usually made across the pubic area and around the navel. Skin in the shaded area is separated from the abdominal wall.
To tighten the abdominal wall, the surgeon brings loose underlying tissue and muscle together with sutures.
Abdominal skin is drawn downward, and the excess is removed. A small opening is made to bring the navel through.
The postoperative patient shown with resultant scars.
A feature of our technique is expertise in the use of progressive tension sutures for wound closure. Since adopting this technique over 10 years ago in our Toronto Cosmetic Surgery practice, we have eliminated our use of drains, we have avoided complications like venous thrombosis, we have achieved three-dimensional contouring of the abdominal wall and our improvement in scar location and appearance has been spectacular.
No two abdominoplasty procedures are alike, and achieving artistry in this procedure requires that we modify our plan to match your unique requirements. Some patients are offered the horse-shoe Abdominoplasty or a lower Abdominoplasty, some require additional liposuction, some need full Abdominoplasty with repositioning of the belly button, some also need tightening of the abdominal wall fascia, some need Abdominoplasty in combination with an insurance-covered panniculectomy, and some need a circumferential procedure that lifts the thigh and buttock tissues (see Body Lifts). Again, it all depends on your unique requirements.
Safety and Risks
The risks of abdominoplasty are those typical of surgery in general. Progressive tension sutures (see above) will eliminate the routine need for drains and decrease the risk of fluid collections under the skin (seroma and hematoma). They may also decrease the risk of clots forming in leg veins as mobility is easier after surgery and there is no need for a tight belt that may restrict venous flow from the legs.
If there is no fascial plication, the surgery is relatively painless, with tightness being the primary complaint. Most patients will return to normal work duties within two weeks.
Fascial plication can be painful, and the abdominal wall will be sensitive to sneezing, getting up from bed and other activities that strain the abdomen. Light duties will be possible by two weeks, but avoiding abdominal strain for six weeks is recommended.
You will be stunned by your results even at your first post-op visit, but your final beautiful results won’t be evident until 9 months after surgery because of swelling (some fluid gets temporarily trapped in the tissues above the incision). We recommend delaying beach vacations until 6 weeks after surgery.
We believe that we offer the best tummy tuck surgery results in Toronto. Come in for a consultation, and you will leave wiser, and perhaps scheduled for a beautiful transformation.