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Tummy Tuck Abroad - Cosmetic Surgery

Procedure Summary
Estimated time of arrival 2 Days prior to surgery
Duration of hospital stay 0-2 Days
Estimated length of stay in Cape Town 14 days at least
Cosmetic surgery in Cape Town owes a great deal to the tummy tuck. Tummy tuck surgery (or abdominoplasty) is done to flatten the abdomen by the removal of excess fat and skin and tightening of the muscles of the abdominal wall. Patients are selected carefully for this procedure as it is a major operation. In the case of a woman wanting to undergo a tummy tuck following pregnancy, it is recommended that she wait until she has had her last child. If you want to have the surgery done to remove excess skin and fat after major weight-loss, it is advisable to have reached your ideal weight before undergoing surgery.

Patient selection for a tummy tuck abroad is very important as, complications are potentially serious [even though this situation is exceedingly rare]. The procedure is contra-indicated in patients with generalised obesity, smokers, previous venous thrombosis (blood clots) or generalised ill-health. The ideal candidate is in good physical, mental and emotional health and must have realistic expectations of the outcome of the procedure. If you have good skin elasticity, this will generally be in your favour. Plastic surgeons in South Africa have had much practice in perfecting this procedure and complications will be minimal.

As with many plastic surgery procedures, there are various reasons for surgery and also various types of surgeries to solve the problem. Abdominoplasty takes the form of three types of surgery. Should the patient simply have a relatively small accumulation of fat in the interior abdominal wall (without excess skin) liposuction is usually sufficient. A mini-tummy tuck is performed when problems of excess skin and muscle weakness are present (often following pregnancy). Lastly, in the case of muscle weakness along the full length of the abdomen with significant excess fat and skin, a full tummy-tuck is indicated.

Once you have decided that this is a procedure that you wish to have done and one that you want to have performed at our in house surgery in Cape Town by one of our highly recommended surgeons, please submit an enquiry form so that we can initiate the consultation process between yourself and your surgeon. You will be required to fill in a detailed medical enquiry form and submit it together with digital photos as required by the surgeon. You will have the opportunity to communicate with your surgeon when deciding on the procedure.

Once you arrive in South Africa, you will meet by your surgeon in Cape Town for a pre-operative consultation where the final decisions will be made regarding your surgery. Your doctor will advise you on the extent of the tummy-tuck that needs to be performed, as well as if any additional liposuction to your flanks should be considered. Measurements and pre-operative photos will be taken and the surgeon will advise you on the realistic expectations of your procedure. You will also have an opportunity to meet with the anaesthetist to discuss your anaesthetic options before surgery.

Should you be undergoing a mini tummy-tuck, your surgery in Cape Town will generally be done under spinal anaesthetic (with sedation) as a day case. It is not likely that you will need to overnight in hospital. The procedure will take two to three hours. The entire tummy area will undergo liposuction, followed by removal of a variable amount of lower abdominal skin. While the muscles are exposed, they are tightened from the belly-button down to the pubis, giving a favourable contour and long-lasting result. During this procedure, the belly-button will not be moved. What will be removed will be you caesarean section scar and you will be left with a new (longer) scar which is well hidden in a bikini.

A full tummy-tuck is a major surgery. It too is performed under spinal anaesthesia (with sedation), and you will be required to stay in hospital for two to three days. This operation entails the removal of all the skin and fat between the belly-button and the pubic region and the tightening of the muscles from the breastbone to the pubis. Finally, the skin is closed and the belly-button is 'repositioned'. You will be left with a long lower abdominal scar (horizontal) and a small scar within the belly-button. Following a full tummy-tuck you will experience pain, but this will be well controlled with medication. Surgeons in Cape Town are well versed in this procedure and will leave minimal scarring.

You will probably be sedated the first night after surgery, but the next day you will begin moving around in order to facilitate good blood circulation. A drain will be placed under the skin exiting below the incision on the pubis. A physiotherapist will likely assist you with mobilising initially, with most exercise taking the form of short walks. It probably won’t be easy to stand up straight, but this will get easier within a few days. You will be advised on activities that you need to avoid, especially bending or lifting as these could cause a rupture of your stitches.

Your dressings will be changed during the first week, and removed along with the stitches within two weeks of your surgery in Cape Town. You will be monitored for infection, bleeding or blood clots during this time. Other possible side effects of the surgery are temporary pain, swelling, soreness, numbness of abdominal skin, bruising and possible tiredness for several weeks. You should be able to resume normal daily activity, excluding strenuous exercise, within three weeks. It is advisable to remain in Cape Town for ten days after a mini tummy-tuck, and for three weeks after a full tummy-tuck. Our surgical facilitators will do their utmost to accommodate you while you relax and recover at one of our Cape Town guest houses or houses.
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