Abdominoplasty (or tummy tuck) is the surgical removal of excess skin, fat and tightening of underlying tummy (abdominal) muscles. This is designed to help improve the shape and tone of the tummy region when other options (such as diet and exercise) have failed to work. Although this can immediately make you look and feel better, surgery does not help strengthen your abdominal muscles or ensure your muscles are working optimally.
Following surgery it is important to ensure your core (this includes your deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor) is working properly. Many plastic surgeons will recommend physiotherapy prior to and after surgery to help you learn to use these muscles correctly again.
Physiotherapy is important to:
- Help you achieve optimal results following your surgery.
- Teach your muscles how to work optimally to prevent problems such as back, pelvis or hip pain.
- Help you achieve your goals, whether this be to return to work, gardening, exercise or sport.
Physiotherapy can help by:
- Using real time ultrasound to check you are recruiting your ‘core’ correctly.
- Provide a safe, supervised exercise program to help your recover from your surgery.
- Provide individual, tailored advice.
What to expect when you see a physio?
On the initial visit, a thorough assessment will be completed to review any risk factors for pelvic floor weakness. This will include your obstetric, surgical and medical history, as well as an evaluation of your bladder and bowel health.
The physical examination will include an assessment of your pelvis, spine and abdomen.
Additional assessment will include:
- Real time ultrasound. This is a non-invasive procedure useful for evaluating muscle activity in the back, abdomen and pelvic floor. It is useful for both diagnosis, assessment and rehabilitation.
- You may also be offered a vaginal examination. This will provide a more detailed assessment of your pelvic floor.
Treatment may include:
- Pelvic floor muscle training.
- Bladder and bowel education.
- Safe, supervised exercise program (including back and abdominal exercises as appropriate).
- Individual tailored advice to address other concerns you may be having.