I have 3 children and am 48 years old. My abdomen has extra skin and fat. What is the best way to get back my old, flat tummy?

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is probably what is needed to remove both the extra skin and fat.

Abdominal wall surgery is a procedure that improves the appearance of flabby, stretched-out abdominal (belly) muscles and skin. It can range from a simple mini tummy tuck to more extensive surgery. This procedure also tightens the abdominal wall muscles to restore your stomach to its former, more youthful state. This type of surgery is usually sought by patients with loose or sagging tissues after pregnancy or major weight loss.

Abdominal wall surgery is not the same as liposuction, which is another way to remove fat. But abdominal wall is sometimes combined with liposuction.

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Depending on the extent of surgery, a complete abdominoplasty can take anywhere from 1 to 5 hours. A partial abdominoplasty (mini-tuck abdominoplasty) can be completed between 1 and 2 hours.

Recovery from this surgery can take between one and four weeks depending on a number of factors and patients are advised to take at least a portion of this recovery time off from work.

Initially there may be bruising and discomfort but a supportive binder or compression garment can minimise the swelling/bruising, and support the repaired tissues. This garment also helps the skin in the treated area to conform to its new shape.

Full recovery takes between 3 and 6 months, with further fading of scars thereafter. Scars may appear red and prominent at first, but with proper care, they heal into a thin, silvery line.

Dr Chadi Jaber is plastic surgeon at Bloom Aesthetic and Laser Centre. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.