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Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)

In the tummy tuck, a surgeon makes an incision from hip to hip, lifts the skin and fat from the abdominal wall, tightens the abdominal muscle wall with sutures and removes the extra fat and skin.

Before You Go

Questions to ask your doctor:

  • Do I have enough extra skin and abdominal laxity to justify a tummy tuck?
  • Will a tummy tuck significantly improve my stomach contour?
  • Taking into account my overall health and anatomy, can I expect to get a good result with minimal chance for complications?

Pre-procedure prep for tummy tuck (abdominoplasty): Tummy tucks require pre-surgery lab testing and a medical evaluation to ensure a patient's good health. Two to six weeks prior to surgery, stop smoking and taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements that increase bleeding. If you're unsure, ask your doctor!

On the day of treatment: On the day of a tummy tuck, wear a loose fitted buttoned shirt and loose pants that will be easy to get on and off after surgery.

What To Expect

During a tummy tuck, a surgeon makes an incision from hip to hip and lifts the skin and fat from the abdominal wall. An incision is made around the belly button and the skin is lifted away from it. The muscle layer in the abdominal wall is then tightened in order to provide a smooth abdominal contour. Excess skin and fat is removed in the process.

Liposuction may be used to further define the shape of the patient's midriff. Sutures are used to seal the lengthy incisions, and a new hole is made for the belly button. Drainage tubes are placed in the wounds that allow the excess fluids to drain from under the skin.

It may be possible to return home the day of surgery, but many patients prefer to remain in the hospital for rest and better pain control.

Who should do it: American Board of Medical Specialties board-certified plastic surgeons can perform tummy tucks. Experts recommend seeking a surgeon with extensive abdominoplasty experience as well as expertise in all areas of abdominal surgery.

Duration: Depending on the extent of your tummy tuck, the surgery can last between two and five hours. This can depend upon how much is being removed and the skill of your physician.

How Painful Is It?

A tummy tuck is a serious surgical procedure, and there can be significant pain during the recovery period. Pain is most often controlled with IV and oral pain medications. Tummy tucks are most commonly performed under general anesthesia.

Options for anesthesia: A tummy tuck is typically performed under general anesthesia to minimize pain during surgery.

Find experts who offer tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) near you