Aesthetic Surgery FAQ

Patient Information

Aesthetic Surgery Common Patient Questions

As you decide to undertake your aesthetic surgical journey, you’ll no doubt have many questions. And, I encourage you to ask as many and all of the questions that come to mind to ensure that your mind is at ease as you go through this process. 

Below I’ve answered some of the more common questions aesthetic patients ask me. This also helps ensure that you get the most out of your consultation and helps you think of other questions that you may contemplate asking. 

As you read the below, I have no doubt some questions will remain. I suggest that you write them down to discuss during our discussion. This way you’ll ensure that you don’t forget any questions you have now, at a later date. 

Aesthetic Surgery FAQ

Medicare will help provide a small subsidy if you satisfy the weight loss or muscle repair criteria for surgery.  If you satisfy this criteria, there is a Medicare item number associated with this tummy tuck procedure which you can claim back from Medicare (in uninsured patients).  If you are planning to have surgery and you are privately insured, it is important for you to check with your current health fund that you are covered for care in a private hospital for that particular item number, which would result in your hospital costs being covered also.
For massive weight loss patients, the Medicare item number relevant to this criteria is "30177".  You must demonstrate:
  • You have had significant weight loss (defined as a minimum of 5 BMI points, unrelated to pregnancy)
  • Your weight has been stable for at least 6 months
  • Degree of excess skin interferes with daily living (such as recurrent rashes or skin breakdowns from loose skin folds/friction)
  • Treatment of above skin irritation caused by excess skin has failed conventional or non-surgical treatment for 3 months
For post-pregnancy patients requiring muscle repair, there is an upcoming new Medicare item number announced in the 2022 Budget.  To be eligible, you must be:
  • Over 12 months after your lsat pregnancy
  • Have a diastasis (six-pack muscle gap) of at least 3cm demonstrated on diagnostic imaging
  • Documented symptoms: at least moderate severity of pain/discomfort at site of muscle separation during functional use, and/or low back pain, or primary symptoms likely due to the diastasis
  • Symptoms above have failed conventional or non-surgical treatment (including physiotherapy)

Some of the potential downsides to having an Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) include:

  • Long scar.
  • Sometimes if the amount of skin excess is big, there may be excess bunching of skin on the sides (what we call "dog ears") which may require revision surgery later on.
  • Depending on your skin quality, and general health status, you may be at a higher risk of post-operative wound breakdown.
  • If you put on weight after your operation, loose skin may return.
  • Recovery - 2-3 weeks to get comfortable enough to drive. 8 weeks for return to heavy activities/lifting/sports. This may impede return to work and ability to look after young kids and family at home.
  • For best results you should lose weight prior to having a tummy tuck. An abdomen which has little fat and lots of loose skin will heal much better and give a much more cosmetically pleasing result than a fatty abdominal wall. This is a contour restoration procedure, and not a weight loss procedure.

They are perfectly safe in healthy and fit, young individuals, in saying that:

  • A tummy tuck does take 2-3 hours to complete safely - it is not a "small" operation by any means, and certainly carries some risks.
  • Every operation will carry both surgical and anaesthetic risks and will be discussed during your consultation. If you are on any blood thinning and heart or lung related medications this may be an indication that you are not as fit as you can be for this type of aesthetics surgery, and may place you at a higher risk of post-operative complications (eg. bleeding, wound breakdown and blood clots in your legs/lungs).

A full tummy tuck generally involves removal of all the loose skin between the belly button to the pubic hair line. The upper abdominal skin is re-draped and pulled down to meet the lower abdomen at the pubic hair line to create a tightened look to the entire abdomen. The belly button is re-positioned through a new hole, and the abdominal muscles are tightened with sutures to give a long lasting result. This result will yield a much tighter looking abdomen with a more hourglass contour across the waistline.

A mini tummy tuck differs from this standard procedure by giving a shorter scar, with loose skin excised from the lower abdomen only. The belly button will not be repositioned and hence will not have a scar around it. This means the results will yield a somewhat smaller degree of tightening compared to the traditional, more radical technique as the upper abdominal region is not accessed and re-draped via this approach.

A tummy tuck can be combined with liposuction to the "love handle" region to give a better contour result. This is not necessary in every patient and will be tailored to your needs on an individual basis. Liposuction therefore works more like an adjunct to surgery.

Liposuction alone rarely (if at all) gives satisfactory results, and may even paradoxically cause more loose skin to become evident. The analogy I like to use would be like sucking mashed potatoes (fat) out of a bag, where the bag (ie. the skin) does not change size. The result would be the same sized bag, which then becomes more floppy as the contents of the bag decreases in volume.

You will initially be admitted to hospital overnight to ensure your pain is under control, and that you are able to care for yourself (toileting, eating and drinking, able to visit the bathroom) prior to being discharged home comfortably. Your recovery during the first week will be a little bit uncomfortable due to the tightened abdomen. As a result it is advisable to have someone stay and help you at home to ensure you are comfortable and safe with getting around the house. You will be able to move around with more ease during the second week, and most patients will be able to drive by the third week and be quite independent.

You will need to wear a supportive abdominal binder over your clothes for at least 6 weeks after the operation to ensure your inner abdominal muscles (which have been tightened during surgery) heal properly along with your outer wound. At 8 weeks you should be able to return to heavy activities and exercise.

The benefits you can expect after an abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) include:

  • Tighter abdominal skin.
  • Tighter abdominal muscles (often stretched from pregnancy).
  • A more flattering contour (esp around the waist).
  • Increased self esteem and self confidence as a result of all the above.
  • Most people are bothered by their loose skin folds rolling over their pants at the waist. This is one of the motivating factors to come and see a surgeon.

The First Step

Have A Different Question?

I encourage you to write any questions you have down for your consultation. This way we can ensure that every thought and concern that you have is addressed and answered for your piece of mind. 

If you have questions following your surgery, please contact the clinic on (03) 9988 1838 so we can address them for you promptly.