Both excessive fat and loose skin can accumulate in the abdomen and be resistant to exercise and dieting. In women, this is common after the stretching of pregnancy, and often associated with a separation of the vertical (6-pack) muscles in the midline (this generalized bulge is called divarication or diastasis to distinguish it from a true hernia). In men, this is more common after significant weight loss.
Overhanging tissue (“the apron”) can spill over trousers, get caught in waist-belts, and drag or swing when walking. Personal hygiene can suffer due to odour, rashes or infections where skin rubs against skin (Intertrigo) or when the buried umbilicus (belly button) is difficult to clean. Cosmetic concerns stem from the distracting appearance, from stretch marks, and sometimes from the scars of previous abdominal surgery, which can lead to tethering, contour issues or asymmetry.
Many operations have now been refined for eliminating the surplus tissue and simultaneously improving the muscle tone of the abdomen. It is good to have a basic discussion of all the options available to you, and for the Surgeon to carefully tailor a mutually agreed appropriate operation for your specific condition. Put simply, these procedures in increasing order of complexity include:
Apronectomy Tummy Tuck
Mini Abdominoplasty Tummy Tuck
Full Abdominoplasty Tummy Tuck
T Abdominoplasty (=Fleur-de-lys, Trifoliate or Anchor)
Special situations arise after massive weight-loss, and may require more extensive Body Contouring such as Belt Lipectomy and Reverse Abdominoplasty. These situations are best discussed individually. Whichever procedure is selected, one must realize that none of them are a substitute for losing excess weight, and that they need an average 4 weeks off work.
BAPRAS (British Association of Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgeons) patient information page at BAPRAS
BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) information page at BAAPS