Experiences of women undergoing abdominoplasty in the public sector: a qualitative study

Nicola R. Dean, Kristen Foley, Randall Long, Paul Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: This study was designed to improve understanding of the experiences of women un-dergoing abdominoplasty in a public hospital setting, including their experience of processes of care, surgical treatment and outcomes of surgery.

Methods: This was a prospective, qualitative study, with one-to-one interviews with women, tran-scription of interviews and development of themes.

Results: Twenty interviews were carried out with 16 women, with four women being interviewed before and after surgery and the remaining 12 being interviewed one time only. Messages emerging from the interviews included gratitude for treatment in the public sector, uncertainty associated with waiting times and surgeon allocation, and varied satisfaction with outcomes. This article also explores the evidence for the association between physical symptoms and rectus diastasis (separa-tion of the rectus abdominis muscles) as well as mental health improvement.

Conclusion: Women undergoing abdominoplasty in the public sector are not a homogenous group, either in their motivations for surgery or their reported outcomes. This qualitative study found evidence for improvement in physical symptoms and psychological wellbeing in women undergoing abdominoplasty, which supports existing quantitative studies, but also highlights a need for clear information for public sector patients, especially relating to scars, and for liaison psy-chiatry. Criteria-based assessment contributes an additional burden for these patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-67
Number of pages12
JournalAustralasian Journal of Plastic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • abdominal wall
  • abdominoplasty
  • back pain
  • delivery of healthcare
  • lipectomy


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