Women often receive conflicting advice as to whether they should have a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) or liposuction only. The most common presentation is in women who have had children (post partum) where the tummy has expanded and stretched in pregnancy.
The surgeon’s assessment is critical. If the skin has stretched significantly then it is likely to need an abdominoplasty, where the lower part of the abdomen is cut away and the belly button is re sited. Liposuction may well be used in a tummy tuck to finesse the result. If the muscle wall has stretched or divaricated then that may need to be tightened too. Recovery is in the order of 2- 3 weeks.
If the skin has not stretched significantly and the abdominal wall is simply fuller, then the patient may be a candidate for liposuction only. This is significantly less invasive and as such, the recovery is much quicker. The scars are minimal.
Abdominoplasty used to attract a Medicare rebate but since January it no longer does, except in extreme weight loss patients who are symptomatic. The majority of abdominoplasties and liposuction do not attract a rebate and are considered cosmetic.