Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

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About Dr McHugh

Proper diet and exercise does not always result in a flat stomach. Loose skin, excess fat and lax abdominal muscle can sometimes limit your abdominal appearance.

If you are bothered by the appearance of your stomach, a tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) may be a good solution.

A tummy tuck surgically removes redundant skin and unwanted fat from the abdominal area and may also tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall.  The result is a sleeker profile and a tighter, flatter stomach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Abdominoplasty offers great benefits to health men and women of all ages. It is best suited to those in relatively good shape, but with loose abdominal fat that won’t respond to dieting or exercise.

​Men or women bothered by any of the following conditions are often good candidates for a tummy tuck:

– Excess fat in the abdominal area
– A protruding abdomen
– Abdominal muscles weakened by pregnancy or aging

​Because pregnancy and weight fluctuation can mar your tummy tuck result after surgery, many postpone their procedures until they plan no more children and their weight is stable. Abdominal scars from previous surgeries can limit your abdominoplasty result. In some cases, such as with many Caesarean section scars, the new incisions can be made below the existing scar which can then be removed at the time of your tummy tuck.

A personal consultation with your surgeon is the first step for any patient considering abdominoplasty. Dr McHugh will assess your physical and emotional health, discuss your aesthetic goals, and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Issues you should be prepared to discuss during consultation with Dr McHugh include:

– Medical conditions, both past and present
– Current medications, including nutritional supplements and herbal remedies
– Previous surgeries
– Weight loss history and goals

During your initial examination, Dr McHugh will evaluate:

– The quality and elasticity of your abdominal skin
– The status of the underlying abdominal muscles
– The amount of excess fat in the area
– The location of any existing scars

In men and women with limited issues to correct, Dr McHugh may suggest alternate treatment options, such as liposuction or a mini-tummy tuck. Patients are encouraged to ask any questions they might have while exploring their cosmetic treatment options before surgery.

Our clinic is conveniently located in Penrith. Simply contact us at our clinic on 02 4721 8838 to schedule an appointment.

Abdominoplasty procedures generally use a horizontal incision above the pubic area. When possible, the incision will be kept within average swimsuit lines. The incision length will depend upon the amount of loose skin to be removed.

Using this incision, Dr McHugh may tighten the abdominal muscles if needed, by pulling them together and stitching them in place. He will also trim any excess skin from the lower abdomen. Though it is not always possible to remove them all, stretch marks are often removed with the excess skin. A second incision around the navel is used so the skin can be pulled down and the excess removed. In this instance, the navel will remain intact in the underlying tissue, but will be exposed through a new section of skin.

Although the navel’s position remains unchanged, its appearance may be slightly altered and is often improved.

A full, traditional tummy tuck is not needed for all patients. Some patients will achieve the results they seek with a limited or “mini” abdominoplasty. Liposuction alone may also meet the needs of some. During consultation for abdominoplasty Dr McHugh will explain these options to you and evaluate whether they are viable options for you.


This procedure is used to correct issues in the lower abdomen only. It entails less scarring than a full tummy tuck, but will not address loose skin above the navel.


This option is viable only in those with good skin elasticity and muscle tone. Though liposuction can remove abdominal fat, it cannot smooth loose skin or tighten abdominal muscle. It is, however, a popular option for women who are planning future pregnancies.

Though thousands of women undergo tummy tuck surgery each year and experience no major complications, the procedure does carry some degree of risk. It is important you be well informed of these risks when considering an abdominoplasty.

The discussion of potential risks and complications is one of the most important aspects of patient consultation. During your consultation, Dr McHugh will discuss these potential complications with you, listen to your safety questions, and offer recommendations on how to minimise your risk.

It is important to follow Dr McHugh’s instructions when preparing for surgery to ensure the best possible results. Those instructions may include:

– Refraining from smoking for several weeks before and after surgery
– Avoiding certain medications
– Arranging for help following surgery, such as a ride home and in-home care for the first 24 hours after you leave the hospital

During surgery, medications will be administered to ensure comfort. General anesthesia is used to allow you to sleep during the procedure.

An anesthetist will administer anesthesia to you, and will carefully monitor your physical status throughout the operation and during your recovery.


Dr McHugh uses advanced techniques to foster faster recovery in all his patients. Directly after surgery, you’ll be taken to a recovery area. Dressings may be applied to your abdomen and covered with a compression garment.

To promote blood circulation, you will be encouraged to get up and move around soon after surgery. Bending and lifting, however, should be avoided at this stage. Sleeping on your back with your knees up may also be recommended for the first few weeks after surgery.

Though everyone heals at a different pace, your recovery will roughly follow this general time line:

Within the first 7-10 days

– Swelling and bruising will reach their peak
– Stitches may be removed

After several weeks

– Activity and exercise will gradually increase

– Non-strenuous work will resume
– Bruising and swelling will continue to subside
– Your results will begin to emerge

After a few months

– Your final results will begin to appear
– Tightness will disappear
– Sensation may slowly improve
– Your incision line may begin to fade

Soon after surgery, you may begin to notice an improvement to your abdominal shape. As you heal and your swelling subsides, your firmer, sleeker contour will begin to emerge. Though your tummy tuck scarring is permanent, it is generally easy to conceal beneath undergarments and will fade significantly over time.

Generally, you can expect long-lasting results from your abdominoplasty procedure. If you maintain a fairly steady weight, you can expect to keep your new contour for many years. Gravity, aging, and weight fluctuation may loosen the abdominal skin somewhat. If this occurs, additional surgical treatment can be used to restore your sleek contour.

Follow-up visits are important to answer any questions you may have and monitor your healing process. Your first post-operative visit will be scheduled after the initial healing period, during the first few days after surgery.

In the following months, Dr McHugh may ask you to return for periodic checkups. Keeping these appointments is important to assess your long-term results and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Dr John McHugh plastic surgeon
About Dr McHugh

Dr John McHugh is Australia's only surgeon qualified in both Maxillofacial and Cosmetic surgery.

His dual specialisations enable him to deliver excellence in surgical results, with an eye for aesthetic beauty.

With over 20 years of experience as a surgeon in the private sector and performing international aid work as a Surgeon Commander with the Royal Australian Navy, you can have confidence that Dr McHugh is uniquely qualified and trusted to deliver the results you seek.