Liposuction Based Abdominoplasty After Weight Loss

Sculpt Tummy Tuck After Weight Loss

Congratulations! You’ve won the battle against obesity. You have probably spent hours in the gym, changed your diet, or perhaps recovered from bariatric surgery. You deserve to be rewarded for your efforts and feel confident in your new body. However, excess skin can get in the way of that.

Losing weight can make you healthier, but it can have an unwanted side effect: Loose skin. Many patients develop lax skin on the abdomen after whittling down to a healthy weight on the scale. The skin folds can be a source of physical discomfort and also make it difficult to look good in clothes.

Saggy skin is a common consequence of massive weight loss. The abdomen is one of the main areas affected. The lax skin can cause discomfort, friction during exercise & chronic rashes. If you have these concerns, a specialist surgeon at Body Contouring Surgery Clinic may suggest a Lipo-abdominoplasty.

This guide to post-weight tummy tucks covers useful information such as:

  • Causes of loose skin
  • What is a Lipo-abdominoplasty?
  • How does it differ from a standard tummy tuck?
  • What is VASER liposuction?
  • Who is a candidate?
  • Are there any risks?
  • What happens during the operation?
  • Recovery and aftercare
  • What kind of results to expect
  • Choosing a Lipo-abdominoplasty surgeon
  • Answers to FAQs

How Weight Loss Affects the Abdominal Skin

Spending years overweight puts wear and tear on the skin, specifically on the abdomen. The abdomen can store a lot of fat. As the belly expands, the elastin and collagen in the skin are damaged. These proteins give the skin firmness and elasticity. Without these structural components, the skin becomes weaker, thinner, and less pliable.

Usually, skin laxity isn’t apparent until an obese person loses weight. Without the underlying fat, the abdominal skin appears saggy and deflated.

As a general rule, the longer a person is obese, the looser the skin will become after weight loss. The amount of weight lost is another factor. Individuals who lose more than 37 kg typically have a greater amount of excess skin compared to those who shed just a few kilos. Age, genetics, diet, and smoking can also affect skin quality.

Many post-bariatric patients find themselves facing another problem once they reach a healthy weight. The sagging skin that’s left behind can detract from their physical appearance, erode self-esteem, and make it difficult to wear clothes. In severe cases, loose skin can even limit mobility as well as cause rashes, rubbing, and discomfort. Excess skin can feel truly demoralising—especially when you worked so hard to get fit.

Diet and exercise won’t tighten loose skin. In fact, the more kilos lost, the looser the abdominal skin may become.

What is a Sculpt Tummy Tuck

What is a Liposuction based abdominoplasty (lipo-abdominoplasty)?

After massive weight loss, many patients feel stuck in a body they don’t love. Some choose to accept their saggy skin and stubborn fat bulges. Others decide to take the next step and have a body contouring procedure.

The Lipo-abdominoplasty is designed to address the three main concerns patients have after bariatric surgery or extreme dieting:

  • Excess fat
  • Muscle separation
  • Sagging abdominal skin

An abdominoplasty and liposuction in one procedure

Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen. It can repair abdominal muscle separation as well. However, a standard tummy tuck only removes fat that is attached to the loose skin that is being removed. Adding liposuction to the procedure allows for target fat reduction so you can smooth out bumps and rolls in other areas as well.

For post-weight loss patients, our specialists at Body Contouring Surgery Clinic prefer the Lipo-abdominoplasty technique. ‘Lipo-abdominoplasty’ is a term coined by Dr Bernard Beldholm, FRACS. It refers to a tummy tuck with advanced VASER liposuction. The Lipo-abdominoplasty allows our patients to tighten lax skin and precisely target fat at the same time.

How does a Lipo-abdominoplasty differ from a standard tummy tuck?

Here are some reasons why our surgeons prefer the Lipo-abdominoplasty instead of a regular tummy tuck with liposuction:

It has a safer and easier recovery

During the Lipo-abdominoplasty, our surgeons minimise the amount of dissection needed to free the loose skin. They only dissect down to the scarpa’s fascia. They also repair the abdominal muscle through a small tunnel instead of opening up the whole area. As you can imagine, less dissection has several advantages. It reduces tissue trauma and nerve damage, so many of our patients have a safer, faster, and easier recovery.

You won’t have to wear drains after surgery

Many tummy tuck surgeons place drains in the abdomen. Drains are hollow tubes that remove pus, blood, and fluid that collects in the tissues after surgery. Drainage is necessary to avoid complications such as infection, seroma, and haematoma. Unfortunately, drains can be inconvenient and uncomfortable to wear for the patient. Instead of drains, our surgeons use sprayable fibrin glue when closing the incision. The glue reduces empty spaces in the tissues where fluid can collect. By eliminating drains, our patients enjoy a more comfortable recovery.

It removes more fat than a traditional tummy tuck

VASER is a fat reduction technology. Many surgeons around the world consider it the gold standard of liposuction. Adding VASER liposuction to your tummy tuck allows for greater fat reduction compared to standard liposuction. Our surgeons can get within millimetres of the skin surface to eliminate fat cells. This creates a toned tummy that highlights your weight-loss efforts.

VASER vs Standard Liposuction: Which is better?

Our surgeons have noticed that VASER liposuction has key advantages during a tummy tuck, such as:

  • Less bruising
  • Removing more fat
  • A lower chance skin irregularities
  • Reducing blood loss during surgery
  • Improving skin retraction around the abdomen

Who is a candidate for a Lipo-abdominoplasty?

If you have excess skin and fat on your abdomen after weight loss, a Lipo-abdominoplasty could be the key to a better body. You will need to be in good health, both mentally and physically. If you smoke, you should quit for several weeks before and after your surgery. It is not safe for pregnant or nursing women to have a tummy tuck.

Keep in mind a Lipo-abdominoplasty is not a weight loss procedure. You should wait until you are within 7 kg of your ideal weight. You will need to maintain a steady weight for at least six months before your operation.

If you’re considering a tummy tuck after weight loss, our highly experienced tummy tuck surgeons can let you know if you are a candidate during your consultation. Call Body Contouring Surgery Clinic today to schedule your appointment.

Possible Risks and Complications

Although the surgery is considered safe for healthy patients who do not smoke, no surgeon can eliminate all risks. Serious medical conditions and smoking greatly raise the risk of complications. At Body Contouring Surgery Clinic, our surgeons will review your medical history and discuss relevant lifestyle factors to ensure you can safely undergo surgery. They will also disclose all possible risks of elective surgery, such as:

  • Seroma
  • Infection
  • Necrosis
  • Blood clots
  • Asymmetry
  • Haematoma
  • Raised scars
  • Haemorrhage
  • Wound dehiscence
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Prolonged numbness
  • Dissatisfaction with results
  • Complications from anaesthesia

Our specialist surgeons provide exceptional patient care before and after your surgery. We are trained to handle nearly any complication that may arise. While choosing a highly qualified tummy tuck surgeon ensures the safest surgery possible, you can minimise your risk of complications by following aftercare instructions and coming in for routine check-ups with our surgeons. Most importantly, avoid smoking as nicotine impedes healing.

The Surgery: What happens during the Lipo-abdominoplasty operation?

Your surgeon will draw markings on your skin as you stand upright in the anaesthesia bay. You will then be wheeled into the operating room and receive general anaesthesia.

VASER Liposculpture - Dr Bernard Beldholm


A Lipo-abdominoplasty starts with your surgeon injecting tumescent fluid into your abdomen to prepare for VASER liposuction. They will make small incision points and pass the VASER probe into your abdomen. VASER rapidly vibrates to break apart the fat. Once liquefied, they will extract the fat through a suction cannula.

Dissection and Muscle Repair

Your surgeon will make an incision around your navel. Freeing the navel allows your surgeon to reposition the skin. Next, they will make a horizontal incision on your lower abdomen. They will dissect the tissue to free the skin. They will elevate the skin flap and dissect a small tunnel to access and repair the abdominal muscle if needed.

Lifting the Abdominal Flap
Repair the separated muscle

Excess skin removal

Now it is time to remove the excess skin. Your surgeon will pull your abdominal skin toward your pubis and trim off the excess.

Closing the incision

As they close the incision in layers, they will apply a special tissue glue. The glue reduces empty space in the tissues to lower the risk of serous fluid buildup, so you won’t have to wear drains when you wake up from surgery. Lastly, they will create a new hole for your navel. They will pull your umbilical stalk through the hole and artistically shape a beautiful belly button for you.

Tighten and remove loose skin

Lipo-abdominoplasty Recovery

Expect to feel groggy when you wake up from anaesthesia. Most patients feel sore and tired the first day. Your surgeon will advise you to take short walks to prevent blood clots. You will probably feel more comfortable walking bent at the waist for the first ten days. The first day usually isn’t too bad. Post-operative discomfort tends to peak in the first 24 to 72 hours. While the early stage of healing can be uncomfortable, remember the pain is temporary and your results will be worth it!

Hospital Stay

The length of your hospital stay depends on how much loose skin your surgeon removes. Some patients are discharged from the hospital the next day. Others spend up to ten days in the hospital. You won’t be able to drive, so someone must be present to take you home.


When you wake up from surgery, your incision will be bandaged with a PICO wound dressing. This is an advanced battery-powered dressing that applies negative pressure to speed wound healing. The PICO dressing can’t get wet, so you won’t be able to take a full shower until your surgeon removes the PICO dressing a week later. In the meantime, you can take quick bird baths, taking care to avoid getting the PICO dressing and battery wet.


Your abdomen will appear swollen after your tummy tuck. Most of the swelling resolves in the first few weeks to months. It can take 12 months for all the swelling to resolve.

Compression Garment

Your surgeon may ask you to wear a compression garment. The garment should be worn for 24 hours a day for several weeks. Then you will need to wear the garment 12 hours a day for a few more weeks. The purpose of a compression garment is to minimise swelling and help your skin retract around your new body shape.

Time Off Work, Driving, and Exercise

Our patients take two to four weeks off work and two to three weeks off driving after a Full Lipo-abdominoplasty. Our Extended Lipo-abdominoplasty patients usually take two to three weeks off work and driving. You can resume light exercise in two to three weeks. Avoid heavy lifting and vigorous exercise for six to eight weeks after your surgery.

Tummy Tuck Scars

The tummy tuck scar is permanent. Our surgeons will place the scar low on your abdomen so it is not visible when you wear undergarments or bikinis. Your incision should heal nicely by the time our surgeons remove your PICO dressing a week to ten days after your surgery. The surgical scar will be dark at first. Scar redness generally starts to fade at six months post-op. It takes 12 to 18 months for scars to fully mature. In most cases, the scar fades to a fine line that blends well with the surrounding skin.


Your abdomen may feel numb for the first 12 weeks. As the nerves heal, you may have brief, shooting pains. Do not be alarmed; This is normal.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips

  • Do not smoke
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid heavy lifting
  • Wear loose clothes
  • Take short walks daily
  • Keep the wound clean
  • Take medications as prescribed
  • Attend all follow-up appointments
  • Avoid getting the PICO dressing wet
  • Wear your compression garment as instructed
  • Call your surgeon if you have signs of infection
  • Stop vitamin E supplements and blood-thinning medications

Lipo-abdominoplasty Results

A Lipo-abdominoplasty leaves the abdomen smooth, firm, and free of loose skin. However, it takes time to appreciate the final results. Most patients see drastic improvement within the first three months. The results only get better as the swelling subsides. The full results are visible 12 to 18 months when the swelling has resolved and the scars have faded. Our surgeons will follow up with you regularly to monitor your progress. Once your lax skin is gone, it won’t come back as long as you maintain your weight.

Schedule Your Consultation for a Lipo-abdominoplasty at the Body Contouring Surgery Clinic Today

Losing weight is the first step toward a fit, toned body. If you have loose skin after weight loss, your next step could be a Lipo-abdominoplasty. Call Body Contouring Surgery Clinic on 1300588494 today to find out how a tummy tuck can help you.

Choosing A Tummy Tuck Surgeon

At Body Contouring Surgery Clinic, you will have access to some of the most qualified specialist surgeons in the nation. We specialise in tummy tucks after weight loss. You are welcome to speak with a few different surgeons before making your final decision.

Regardless of where you decide to have your tummy tuck, it’s wise to look for a surgeon with experience and training in post-weight loss body contouring. Credentials such as FRACS indicate that a surgeon has advanced training.

Lipo-abdominoplasty FAQs

Drains can be a real pain. Most patients and surgeons prefer to avoid them when possible. While many surgeons use drains after a tummy tuck, our surgeons at Body Contouring Surgery Clinic use a special surgical technique that avoids drains. That means a more comfortable recovery for you!

Most of our patients start driving two to three weeks after the surgery.

Most of our patients can return to desk jobs within three to four weeks. If you have a physically demanding career, you may need to take additional time off.

After recovering from your surgery, you should maintain a stable weight, exercise, and commit to a healthy lifestyle.

Our surgeons aim to position the scar so it is hidden in your underwear line. The scar is permanent, but it should fade substantially in 12 to 18 months.

Our surgeons may recommend scar gel, silicone scar sheets, or laser treatments to help the scar fade quicker.

This website contains adult content. You must be 18 years or over to read. All surgery carries risks. You should seek a second opinion before proceeding. Results vary from patient to patient. See our disclaimer.
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