Our bodies take a beating from life. Natural ageing, significant gain and loss of weight, pregnancy, lack of exercise and even our genetic makeup contribute to a loss of youthful, well-toned body shape; this is often most visible in a protruding abdomen – a ‘belly’. Strong muscles hold this important part of your body trunk in place, but over the years, they become weaker and, in some cases, damaged. Pregnancy literally pushes the muscles to each side to give the developing foetus space to grow. They gradually migrate back to their original place after childbirth, but they are weakened and never quite achieve their original position. Massive weight gain has a somewhat similar effect on the muscles.
Not only does this weakening of the muscle structure give you a protruding stomach that doesn’t look good, it has an impact on your body structure. These muscles actually support your spine and maintain the right alignment of your chest, abdomen and pelvis. You might experience this as constant low-back pain and decreased abdominal strength, making it difficult to accomplish many daily tasks. You might also be self-conscious about an unsightly stomach, feeling that it makes you look older and less healthy.
The operation to address this problem is called Abdominoplasty, or commonly, Tummy Tuck. Unlike some other cosmetic surgery procedures, this deals with an underlying problem (the separated support muscles of your stomach area), as well as the cosmetic appearance of a bulging, overhanging stomach.
The prerequisite to choosing this surgery is careful consultation with your surgeon. Dr Georgina Konrat, of Brisbane Cosmetic Clinic, Queensland, has a comprehensive pre-operation process, which begins with a consultation. Not everyone is a candidate for this surgery: your physical state, your general health, and your expectations will all be taken into account when determining exactly what is right for you. Dr Konrat believes in the importance of listening to your wishes and expectations and is always committed to the best possible individual outcome for each patient.
Most importantly, Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) is not a substitute for weight loss or an ongoing program of healthy living and physical fitness. People who are overweight will be encouraged to undertake Brisbane Cosmetic Clinic’s Medical Weight Reduction program to come close to their optimal weight before undergoing surgery. The Tummy Tuck surgery will be significantly more successful as a result. Likewise, a woman who is planning to become pregnant will be encouraged to postpone a Tummy Tuck until she has completed her pregnancies.
During a Tummy Tuck, which is performed under general anaesthetic administered by a fully accredited specialist anaesthetist, Dr Konrat will make a fine incision right across your abdomen to allow for the repair and tightening of the underlying muscles. She removes excess skin and fat and often repositions the navel to ensure your body appears balanced.
This is complex surgery, but in the hands of an experienced, careful surgeon, carries a high degree of satisfaction. As with any significant surgery, there are risks. Dr Konrat believes it is important to discuss these clearly with all patients before their surgery. Expect some discomfort during the first part of your recovery. This is normal, and Dr Konrat has adopted a number of excellent, leading-edge techniques to enhance recovery and maximise the results.
As with all the surgeries she performs – such as breast enlargements and reductions, liposuction/liposculpture, labiplasty and otoplasty – Dr Konrat believes that patients achieve the best results from their surgery when they are physically healthy, have achieved an appropriate, stable weight, when they do not smoke, and when they fully understand the procedure and have realistic expectations of it.