Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
Abdominoplasty, or better known as "tummy tuck",
is a surgical procedure designed to remove sagging,
excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen
and to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall.
It is important to understand that a tummy tuck is
not a weight loss procedure, or a substitute for exercise
or a healthy diet.
People considering a tummy tuck should be in relatively
good shape before undergoing this procedure. After
pregnancy, abdominal muscles may become weakened and
pulled apart in the midline area. Men may similarly
be affected by weight loss. Men commonly acquire stretch
marks after extreme stretching of the skin.
A tummy tuck can excise stretch marks and those remaining
are tightened, making them less noticeable. This procedure
creates an abdomen that is smoother, firmer and flatter.
This in turn generates smaller appearing hips.
How is abdominoplasty performed?
There are several different abdominoplasty techniques.
The most common procedure is a full abdominoplasty
in which an incision is made across the lower abdomen,
just above the pubic area. Another incision is made
around the belly button to free the surrounding skin,
and is separated from the abdominal wall. The surgeon
pulls the loose muscles from the left and the right
sides and sutures them together. This tightens the
muscles to create a stronger abdominal wall and a
smaller waist. Excess skin is removed and a new opening
is made for the belly button. The incisions are then
closed with sutures (stitches) or staples, and gauze
is placed over the incision area.
A less complex procedure, called a partial abdominoplasty
is performed if your problem area is below the belly
button. This procedure can often be performed on an
outpatient basis, under local anesthetic, or in conjunction
with liposuction to remove fat deposits from the hips,
for a better body contour. Sometimes liposuction by
itself is sufficient.
How long does abdominoplasty take?
Operating time is generally two to three hours depending
on the scope of your specific situation.
What type of anesthesia is used?
The procedure is performed using general anesthesia
causing you to be asleep during the whole procedure.
Where is the procedure performed?
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis,
in the surgeon's office-based surgical suite, an outpatient
surgical facility, or hospital.
When can I return home and resume
A full abdominoplasty requires an overnight stay.
However, a partial abdominoplasty can be done on an
outpatient basis. It is necessary that you have someone
take you home after the procedure and stay with you
for at least 24 hours.
It may take you several weeks to feel completely
back to normal. Depending on your physical status,
some people may return to work after two weeks, while
others may take four weeks to six weeks to recuperate.
Strenuous activities should be avoided for at least
six to eight weeks.
How do I prepare for abdominoplasty?
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will
discuss the changes that you would like to make to
your appearance. Since the appearance of your abdomen
is a matter of personal perception and preference,
you will need to discuss your concerns in detail so
your surgeon can determine the appropriate alternatives.
You also should make arrangements ahead of time for
someone to drive you to and from your procedure and
to assist you with your daily activities during your
Prior to your surgical procedure, the surgeon will
perform a complete health history and physical examination
to evaluate your overall weight, your skin and muscle
tone and the overall distribution of fat deposits.
In particular your surgeon will ask you about any
problems you have had with high blood pressure, blood
clotting or a tendency to develop large scars.
Knowledge of your allergies, medications and previous
surgeries should be brought to your surgeon's attention
at this time. Specific instructions to assist you
in preparing for this procedure will be given to you
after the health history and physical is complete.
Depending on your individual health status, the instructions
may include guidelines regarding your diet, alcohol
intake, smoking and which medications to take or avoid.
Your experience will be much smoother if you remain
compliant with your surgeon's instructions.
What precautions are necessary
You will receive specific instructions from your
surgeon, which will include guidelines about your
diet, drinking, smoking and what vitamins and medications
to either take or avoid. You will also need to arrange
for someone to help you with your daily activities
What are the possible complications
The most common complication is a collection of blood
or serum (seromas) under the skin of the abdomen (hematoma).
A suction drain is placed under the skin during your
procedure and left for about three days. Its removal
is painless. Rare complications include infection
and incision healing problems, including loss of skin
and excessive scarring. As with most surgical procedures,
small nerves to the skin are interrupted during a
tummy tuck. Portions of your abdomen will feel numb
or have less feeling.
Sensation returns over several months but some diminished
feeling may last indefinitely.
After a complete abdominoplasty, you can expect a
horizontal scar low on the abdomen and a circular
scar within the belly button. Partial abdominoplasty
does not leave a scar around the belly button. Your
scars will be red or pink for six months and will
gradually fade. You should be aware that all scars
are permanent and their height, width, and final color
are never completely predictable. It is always important
to be informed about the possible complications before
any surgery. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may
have with your surgeon.
What results can I expect after
You will experience some abdominal discomfort when
the anesthesia wears off. You can also expect some
pain in the incision, but this is alleviated with
medication and gradually subsides with time. Bed rest
for two to three days is recommended. You will be
provided with a firm abdominal binder to offer support
to the tightened areas. Your doctor will give you
instructions for showering and for applying your dressings.
Surface stitches will be removed in five to seven
days, and deeper stitches will be removed in two to
After about three days, you may begin light activities.
You should begin a light exercise program to reduce
swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and improve
muscle tone. However, vigorous exercise, especially
weight lifting, should be delayed until you make a
Your scars may appear to worsen during the first
few months, but this is normal. It may take up to
a year before your scars flatten out and lighten in
color. As long as you keep your weight relatively
constant, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly,
and follow your surgeon's instructions, the long-term
results from this procedure are typically excellent.
Choosing the right surgeon
To obtain further information regarding thigh liposculpture,
we advise you to consult with a qualified and experienced
board-certified plastic surgeon. Regardless of the
type of procedure you are considering, it is crucial
to choose the right surgeon for your individual goals.
To receive a complimentary consultation with a specialist
in your area, simply fill out our Online
Referral Form or call Toll