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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Tummy Tuck procedure, also known as abdominoplasty, is a common plastic surgery procedure performed to remove excess fat and skin and restores weakened muscles to create a smoother, firmer abdominal profile. more refined and athletic silhouette.

Who are suitable candidates for tummy tuck? Is Abdominoplasty surgery only for females?

You would be an ideal candidate to consider a tummy tuck procedure if you have:
  • A loose, saggy lower portion of the tummy / abdominal region
  • Abnormal protrusion of the central tummy region, especially common after childbirth or weight loss.
  • A stable weight and exercise regime
  • Despite your healthy diet and exercise regime, you cannot get rid of excess skin and fat and achieve a flat, firm tummy contour.
  • Loss of self-confidence or difficulty in fitting into clothing/swimwear due to the loss of your previous figure / abdominal contour.

Types of tummy tuck surgeries that are available at Polaris Plastic Surgery.

Techniques for tummy tuck / abdominoplasty have significantly evolved over the decades. Recent refinements of surgical technique help improve contouring without excessive scarring. However, the type of tummy tuck that is suitable for you would be related to the amount of skin excess below the belly button (infra-umbilical skin excess). Some of the possible options would include the following:
  • Minimal/no skin excess: liposuction with skin tightening procedures (i.e. SCULPT); muscle tightening with robotic/endoscopic techniques;
  • Mild skin excess: mini-abdominoplasty;
  • Moderate amount of skin excess: traditional abdominoplasty;
  • Large amount of skin excess and ptosis, extending to the flanks / back: advanced body contouring techniques – for example: extended abdominoplasty, lower body lift, belt lipectomy
  • Large amount of skin excess, including skin excess above the belly button (supra-umbilical skin excess): Fleur De Lis Abdominoplasty, Reverse Abdominoplasty 
 Most, if not all, our Abdominoplasty techniques are combined with various degrees / extent of liposuction contouring using the SAFE (REF) Liposuction technique to deliver optimal results in terms of waist definition and contouring. When there is a large amount of skin and fat excess, a staged liposuction / abdominoplasty approach may be adopted.
A summary of these options is in a table form below (2):


What to expect before a Tummy Tuck Procedure? What happens during the surgery?

Pre-operative preparation:

Our team will provide you with the necessary pre-operative instructions and preparatory steps before surgery. For example, cigarette / e-cigarette smoking would have to be strictly stopped for (at least) 1 month before and after surgery, as this severely impairs wound healing and recovery, and significantly increases the rate of complications. We would encourage you to maintain your good diet and exercise regime and set up a safe space at home or a home recovery area to optimise your healing. If you have young children at home, we encourage you to make childcare arrangements beforehand so that you may recover with complete peace of mind. 

Operative phase:

On the day of surgery, you and your plastic surgeon will mark out and discuss the areas which are to be addressed during surgery. Tummy tucks / abdominoplasty surgery can be performed under local/regional anaesthesia with sedation or general anaesthesia. MOH-accredited anaesthetists will be engaged to ensure you will be kept safe and comfortable throughout the procedure. The components of a typical abdominoplasty would include:
(1) Removal of the marked-out excess skin and fat,
(2) liposuction to sculpt the remaining abdominal wall,
(3) Repair of fascia to correct rectus diastasis
(4) Umbilicoplasty (re-siting or re-creation of the belly button).

Post-operative recovery:

Some tummy tucks / abdominoplasty techniques can be done as a day surgery procedure or with one night’s stay. More extensive procedures would require longer hospital stays (typically 3-5 days) where post-operative nursing requirements are higher. Compression garments will be applied after surgery, and you will be required to wear a compression garment for about six weeks to help reduce swelling. Sometimes, there would be surgical drains used after surgery to remove excess surgical fluid; drain care would be taught to you prior to discharge. 

Benefits of Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty

Physical / functional benefits:
(1) Repair of weakened / split muscles (AKA Rectus Diastasis), which indirectly strengthens the abdominal muscular core,
(2) Flatter, tight abdominal wall without unsightly bulges
(3) Improved fit of clothing/swimwear, and
(4) Improved self-confidence.


How bad is the scarring from a tummy tuck? 

The extent of the surgical scar would be directly related to how much skin excess needs to be removed.
For example, a conventional tummy tuck scar typically stretches from hip to hip, concealed beneath your undergarments.
If only a small amount of skin is removed, a mini tummy tuck can be considered, and this will have a consequently smaller scar.
If there are existing surgical scars from previous caesarean delivery or other abdominal surgery, we typically can incorporate them to improve overall scar appearance.


Is it safe to combine Tummy Tuck with other surgical procedures?

Yes. Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty surgery is commonly combined with other cosmetic or non-cosmetic (medical) surgical procedures. Some of the standard procedures commonly performed with a tummy tuck would include:


Medical (non-cosmetic):
  • Repair of abdominal hernia
  • Gynaecological procedures

The safety of combining surgical procedures is paramount, so not all surgeries can be combined. However, this list is non-exhaustive. Please feel free to discuss with your plastic surgeon if there are other procedures you would consider performing concurrently. Whilst a tummy tuck cannot be performed immediately during/after caesarean delivery, you may consider engaging your plastic surgeon to help to optimise scarring with precise and meticulous wound closure during the caesarean delivery.


What is the ideal timing for abdominoplasty after pregnancy?

The torso, more specifically the breast and abdomen, often suffer the brunt of post-pregnancy change and is the most disconcerting. It is not uncommon to feel more conscious about these changes, and it is important that we help to restore self-confidence and body image.
We’d recommend that all bodily changes stabilise for a few months (shrinkage of the abdomen, cessation of breastfeeding etc) prior to surgery. This would be at least six months to a year after delivery or beyond. Check out our Mommy Makeover page for more details.

I have lost a large amount of weight (either through a self-exercise / diet regime or bariatric/metabolic surgery), and I wish to improve my body contour. Is a tummy tuck / abdominoplasty suitable for me?  

Absolutely yes. The weight loss would result in a dramatic decrease in the amount of body fat, but there is minimal to no reduction in the amount of excess skin, leading to saggy, “flabby” skin. These changes often extend to the entire body and can simultaneously be symptomatic and unsightly. Speak to your plastic surgeon about addressing these changes holistically, and check out Body Contouring for more details.


Can I Use Insurance for Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty Surgery in Singapore?

If you have undergone bariatric / metabolic surgery and have had massive weight loss, certain abdominoplasty procedures can be covered by insurance on a case by case basis. Certain components of your tummy tuck that can be considered as functional correction may also be covered by your insurance as well. Speak with your insurance provider and plastic surgeon to find out more.

What is the downtime & recovery period for a Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty procedure?  

After your abdominoplasty, the early post-operative phase is described as above. The pain felt from surgery would be optimised with painkillers and typically subside within the first week or so; it is normal to feel “tight” thereafter. Wounds typically take 1-2 weeks to heal, and you can expose these scars once they have healed. We typically advise you to keep to simple daily activities during this healing phase. Upon request, massage and physiotherapy sessions can be arranged for further healing optimisation.

From thereon, you may be able to resume desk-based work comfortably and light exercise from 3 weeks onward, based on your comfort level. It is best to avoid heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks to allow internal healing without disruption. More intensive exercises can be resumed as early as 2-3 months after surgery, and we would be at hand to advise you on this during your follow-up consultations. It is recommended that the compression garments be worn for about 6 weeks, and gradually weaned off thereafter. 


What are some of the risks/complications of a Tummy Tuck procedure?

Soreness or tightness may last for several weeks after your surgery. You may also have numbness, bruising and overall fatigue during that time; these should all gradually resolve.

As with any surgery, there are risks. You may have an increased risk of complications if you have poor circulation, diabetes, heart, lung, or liver disease, or if you smoke.
Complications can include:
  • Suboptimal scarring,
  • Hematoma (bleeding),
  • Infection,
  • Seroma (accumulation of fluid),
  • Poor wound healing/wound dehiscence,
  • Blood clots,
  • Numbness or other changes in sensation.

For more extensive operations, especially with patients who are still obese at the time of surgery, some of the complications can include Fat necrosis, Wound separation, and Asymmetry (unevenness of contour).

It is also crucial to communicate with your plastic surgeon about your surgical goals or targets before any surgery, so that all your needs and expectations can be addressed adequately.
Lastly, long-term scarring after surgery can be minimized through optimal surgical design and technique, but the long-term result can vary greatly between individuals.  Overall, the complication rate would be related to the complexity of the surgery.

What is the Cost of a Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty Surgery?  

There are many variables to consider, including the exact approach and type of abdominoplasty that is suitable for you. Speak to your Plastic Surgeon to find out which components of your Tummy Tuck procedure can be covered by insurance and to get the calculation of the overall cost.


1. Saldanha O, Ordenes AI, Goyeneche C, Oyarce N, Paredes M, Filho OS, Saldanha CB. Lipoabdominoplasty with Anatomic Definition: An Evolution on Saldanha's Technique. Clin Plast Surg. 2020 Jul;47(3):335-349.

2. Matarasso A, Matarasso DM, Matarasso EJ. Abdominoplasty: classic principles and technique. Clin Plast Surg. 2014 Oct;41(4):655-72.
3. Shermak MA. Abdominoplasty with Combined Surgery. Clin Plast Surg. 2020 Jul;47(3):365-377. doi: 10.1016/j.cps.2020.02.001.


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