Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Natural processes such as pregnancy, weight fluctuations and ageing can cause changes in our bodies and can sometimes result in an accumulation of skin or a change in abdominal muscle strength. For those seeking a surgical option, an abdominoplasty may be a suitable option to adjust the skin and muscles in your midsection.

What is an Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)?

Abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck is a procedure designed to tighten the abdominal muscles and remove excess skin and fat. In nearly all patients, additional liposuction is required to provide optimal results.

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General Anaesthesia in Hospital


Inpatient, with average hospital stay of 3 days

Length of surgery

3-4 hours procedure


Light activities in 2 weeks when swelling and bruising resolves. Avoid strenuous activity for 6 weeks.

Compression garment for 6-12 weeks for optimal results.

Post Operation

Regular follow up visits. Scar management protocol for 3 – 6 months


Within three to six months and can vary depending on the patients age, quality of skin, weight and complexity of the procedure

What Can Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Surgery Do For You?

Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck is best suited for women who are at their best in terms of health and physical fitness and close to or at their ideal body weight.

If dieting and exercising haven’t helped to tone the abdominal muscle separation or tighten loose skin, surgery can help.

Some of the other benefits of abdominoplasty surgery include:

  • Relief from removal of excess skin and fat from the abdomen
  • Better core strength and posture from tightening abdominal muscles
  • The freedom to choose clothes that fit well
  • Reduce irritation, chafing and infections in lower abdominal skin fold
  • Improve exercise tolerance and assist with health and wellness

Types of Abdominoplasty

At Forme Institute, there are 4 main types of Abdominoplasty that we perform

  1. Mini Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
  2. Full Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
  3. Full Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) with Liposuction
  4. Fleur De Lis

Mini Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

A mini abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is focused on the area below the belly button. The incision is shorter and a lesser amount of skin is removed as compared to a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). This procedure is recommended for patients who still have abdominal muscle integrity and definition above the belly button, but extra fat or skin below the belly button.

Full Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

A full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is carried out in two layers.

  1. The first layer (superficial repair) removes extra fat and skin of the abdominal wall and reshapes the belly button.
  2. The second layer (deep repair) repairs the separated muscle layer which underlies the skin and fat layers. This type of procedure an option for women who have had children. In pregnancy, the skin is stretched to accommodate the growing baby. Once the baby is born, sometimes skin doesn’t spring back to how it used to be and, in some cases, the stretched skin will spill over the underwear line (known as an ‘apron’).

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) and Liposuction

An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and liposuction is used in cases where extra fat, extra skin and muscle separation occur. The belly button is also reshaped during an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and liposuction procedure.

Liposuction removes the extra fat underneath the skin and involves no skin
removal. The incisions are small and the procedure is used in cases where
the patient is unsatisfied with the appearance of their stomach due to fat
rather than muscle separation or extra skin.

The Fleur de Lis Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Is designed to remove extra excess skin that cannot be achieved with just a conventional abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). In addition to the horizontal incision created from a traditional abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), there will also be an incision that runs vertically up the middle of the stomach.

How Many Abdominoplasty Procedures Have You Performed?
The Specialist Plastic Surgeons at Forme have performed 100s of abdominoplasty procedures.
How Many Years of Experience Do You Have?

35 Years of Combined Experience in Plastic Surgery


If you are eligible for Medicare cover and your private health insurer has confirmed coverage.

Your total out of pocket costs are from $15,000 This includes the surgeon’s fee, surgical assistant’s fee, anaesthetis fee, garments and after care.

The cost of an Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck), if I am not eligible for Medicare or health fund cover

The cost will be from $23,000 and this includes the surgeon’s fee, anaesthetist, 3 nights in hospital, garments and after care. Soon after the consultation we will request a formal quote from the hospital and send it to you.

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Recovery and Scar Minimisation

After Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) surgery, your skin will not be in the same place after surgery. The re-arrangement of skin also changes the area’s blood vessels and lymphatic drainage. In addition, your body will require some time to recover from the new changes in your body.

There will be some abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) scarring; completely removing the scars is impossible. However, we can implement some methods to hide and minimise their appearance. At Forme Institute, we have recommendations and therapies to minimise scarring.

Our Clinics For Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Surgery Consultation in Sydney

Castle Hill,  The Barwell Centre Suite 25, 7–9 Barwell Avenue Castle Hill, NSW 2154   Directions

Westmead, Westmead Private Hospital Suite 2, Cnr of Mons and Darcy Road, Westmead NSW 2145  Directions

Bondi Junction, Suite 1305, 101 Grafton St, Bondi Junction
NSW 2022 Directions

Bella Vista, Suite 212, Level 2, 10 Norbrik Dr Bella Vista
NSW 2153 Directions

Are You An Ideal Candidate?

The best candidates for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) are those whose excess abdominal skin and separation of the abdominal six pack muscle causes health issues such as infection, restricted movement, skin rashes, low back pain and as a result they are unable to engage in activities of daily living and physical activities.

Abdominoplasty Assessment Tool

Frequently Asked Questions

The Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Operation - What is involved?

Tummy tuck surgery or Abdominoplasty is a plastic surgery procedure performed under general anaesthesia in a hospital.

The abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) involves

  1. Removal of excess abdominal skin and fat to reduced discomfort and the risk of skin irritation or infection
  2. Tightening of the separated or split rectus muscle (six pack muscle) to improve core strength, improve abdominal muscle tone and narrow the waist
  3. Repositioning the belly button
  4. Liposuction to adjust the abdomen and the mons area to achieve overall balance.

During the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) operation, while the surgeon will go ahead and perform the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) operation, your specialist anaesthetist will monitor your safety throughout the duration of the operation. The abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) operation usually takes between three to four hours, with three to four days of inpatient hospital stay. After the operation you will have drains that are removed in about three to four days, depending on the amount of draining fluid. A postoperative abdominal binder that supports the operative area.

Currently the NSW Government has mandated that all cosmetic surgery operations are performed in accredited hospitals licensed and accredited to perform cosmetic surgery. As with every cosmetic surgery operation, across Australia majority of the tummy tuck operations are performed by specialist plastic surgeons all operations are performed by specialist plastic surgeons, who have years of experience in the field of cosmetic surgery.

Do I need a full general anaesthesia, or would twilight anaesthesia be adequate for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)?

Yes, you will need a full general anaesthesia for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) as a twilight or local anaesthesia is not adequate to give you the safe level of sedation or pain relief during the procedure. The only exception is if you have a mini abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).

It is important to understand the difference between a mini abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). A mini abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is when only a small amount of skin is removed from the abdominal area. Mini abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) only provides very minimal tightening of the skin and no true tissue tightening of the abdominal muscles. In a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), a longer incision from the hip to hip to remove a significant amount of skin that is then vertically stitched up taking a large amount of fat with it. The muscles are tightened substantially, creating a flatter, more stable abdomen and the skin is trimmed and tightened in the midline.

A mini abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) that involves excising only the excess skin can be performed under sedation with local anaesthesia supplementation. But this depends on a case-by-case basis and your plastic surgeon will be able to give you that information at the time of the first consultation.

Can I have an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) a day surgery case and go home?

If you have a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), you will need to stay as an inpatient for a few days to help the healing process. So, it is not appropriate for the full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) to be performed as a day surgery case. If you have a ‘mini abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)’ you will be able to go home the same day. A mini abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) involves removal of a small amount of excess skin only and no repair of the separated muscle.

The NSW government has mandated that all cosmetic surgery operations (like tummy tucks) are performed in accredited hospitals and day surgery facilities that are licensed and accredited to perform cosmetic surgery.

Will I have drains after my abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)? And when do they come out?

Yes, you will have a minimum of two drains after your abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) to help with the drainage of the excess fluid. In the first 24 hours, the drainage fluid volume will be very low because you will be resting a lot. Once you start to mobilise and walk about a bit more, the amount of fluid that will drain will be quite significant; this initial rise in output will gradually taper and settle down. When the amount of fluid drainage is less than 25 mls in 24 hours, your plastic surgeon will recommend the drains can come out. This usually occurs around day 3 or day 4 post op. Occasionally, the drainage will persist beyond the usual 3 days. In that case, your plastic surgeon may make a provision for you to go home with the drain, with daily recording of the fluid volume once this daily volume reduces to under 25 mls, the drains will be removed. You will require antibiotics while the drains are in.

Do you use dissolving stitches after abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)?

Most of the sutures in an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) will be dissolving. The successful results of abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) depend on meticulous suturing of multiple layers, the choice and strength of the suture materials.  There are specialised barbed sutures that are used to repair, tighten, and reinforce the separated six pack muscle layer. There are specialised deep sutures used to repair, tighten, and reinforce the strong fascial layers. And the final layer of skin closure will, is usually done using dissolving sutures. That means you do not need to take them out.

There will invariably be a special dressing on the skin wound that will be removed in two weeks to reveal a well healed wound of the abdomen.

Will you need antibiotics after abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery?

Yes, you will need a course of antibiotics after abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery, and often plastic surgeons will put you on oral antibiotics if you have a drain. Once the drains come out there is usually no need for antibiotics to continue.

Will there be much bruising after abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery?

You will have bruising after abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery because the surgery is quite extensive and involves a large body surface area. In addition, as a part of the body contouring operation liposuction is usually performed to remove excess fat to contour the abdomen and the flanks. Liposuction will cause bruising, but the bruising will settle down over the course of 10 days. Bruising is basically the blood staining of tissues. The blood cells that leak out of the blood vessels are responsible for staining the tissues. Bruising often starts dark blue or blackish in colour and over 10 days will go through lighter shades before turning light pink, yellow and finally disappears.

What is a hematoma after an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery?

A hematoma means there is an excessive amount of bleeding for abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery that can cause a very large clot under the skin. This clot, unlike clots in the calves or the lungs, does not spread, does not get into veins, and does not enter the lungs or the heart. However, the hematoma will need to be addressed. The outcome will depend on the size of the hematoma.  If it is a large one you can end up with a contour deformity or an infection or both. Large hematomas need to be evacuated and removed under general anaesthesia in the operating theatre where you need to open the wound, remove the clot and resuture the skin. Thankfully this is quite rare.

How long before I can stand straight after an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)?

It is natural that you will feel like stopping over after the operation. This is a normal response to the surgery. Fortunately, this does not last for very long and your body will adapt very quickly. In fact, within the first few days, you will be able to stand straight. And even if you don’t manage to stand straight in the first week because of your body’s protective posturing mechanisms, you’ll be able to feel more comfortable within two weeks when you stand straight and do not feel too tight.

How long does the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) operation take?

The abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) operation will take on average about three hours. It can take less than three hours or more depending on how complex the operation is and what needs to be fixed during the operation. For example, if the patient is a very large person who has lost a lot of weight and needs extended abdominoplasty or a fleur de lys abdominoplasty, then the operation will take much longer than say somebody who needs a mini abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), or a very small full abdominoplasty. If there is the need to reposition the belly button, to tighten and correct muscle separation, to body contour by liposuction it all adds to the operating time of the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery.

How do you sleep after abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) operation?

The most comfortable position is to lie on your back with bent hips and bent knees. And this can be facilitated by the simple action of placing two pillows under your knee, so that the backs of your knees rest on those two pillows. When you are lying-in bed, this will reduce the tension on the tummy area especially the hip-to-hip scar.

The other important fact to consider is getting in and out of bed. Rotational movement of your body is hard because your abdominal muscles have been repaired and they will feel tight and uncomfortable.  Getting in and out of the bed will be a bit slower for the first 4 weeks then with practice you’ll be able to achieve this seamlessly. Similarly, getting in and out of a car will be slow during the first two weeks and will gradually get easier.

Is lymphatic massage necessary after the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)?

Soon after abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery, your abdomen, flanks, and pubic area will swell as a response to surgery and liposuction.  The swelling is a natural response to any surgical operation. The lymphatic circulation either becomes extremely sluggish or comes to a standstill temporarily after surgery. Therefore, the fluid drainage becomes slow and sluggish. In addition, the production of fluid in the surgical site increases after the operation due to fluid leaking from the leaky and dilated blood vessels. This response is essential for the healing of tissues, but the side effect is the swelling.


The production of fluid and the accumulation of fluid usually overwhelms the ability of the body’s lymphatic system to drain the fluid and therefore, there is swelling and fluid pooling at multiple levels. This results in feeling tight, swollen, and bloated.

Compression garments used after the surgery are effective in reducing the swelling and promoting healing. Once you start mobilising and walking, the lymphatic circulation will start functioning that will help resolution of the swelling.

You can fast track the swelling reduction by lymphatic massage done by a specialist lymphatic massage therapist. The therapist will use short, swift, and gentle strokes rather than deep tissue massage, to start to mobilise the fluid that has been pooled in the areas around the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgical site. Lymphatic massage can be done soon after the surgery.

Ideal Candidates for abdominoplasty

Patients who have attained their ideal weight and who are fit and healthy and are prepared to go through an operation and be diligent in following all the post-operative instructions for 4- 6 weeks are ideal candidates.

It is equally important that patients must remain committed to a healthy lifestyle post-surgery to maintain the results for a very long time. Patient should have completed the family. Because if you do fall pregnant post abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), there’s a risk of undoing the structural repair performed at the time of the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).

Patients who are concerned about their abdominal skin and contour changes post pregnancy, post weight loss changes or changes due to ageing of the abdomen are good candidates.

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