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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.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: June 26, 2012

Treatment Basics

Other names: Abdominoplasty

Today's tummy tuck is designed to remove excess skin and fat and tighten the abdominal wall, thereby flattening the abdomen and tightening the muscles of the abdomen. Ancestors of the modern tummy tuck were performed as long ago as 1899.

The tummy tuck is not to be confused with liposuction, which removes fat from under the skin. While lipo can sculpt your midsection,it cannot remove excess skin and will not tighten the internal abdominal structures. The tummy tuck can.

What It's Good For

Tummy tucks are commonly performed on women who have excess skin and fat in their abdomen and laxity of the abdominal wall, which is common after pregnancy or weight loss. The procedure can work for anybody with excess fat on the stomach, however.

Who it works for: The best tummy tuck takers are within 30 percent of their ideal body weight; have good skin tone and elasticity; have been at a stable weight for at least six months; and want to remove diet- and exercise-resistant fat and loose skin that afflicts the abdomen.

Recommended age range: A tummy tuck can be performed on patients of almost any age depending upon their health status, but in general, the better the skin quality, the better the result.

The success of a tummy tuck relies on overall health and the quality of a patient's skin—elasticity of the skin tends to deteriorate with age, so the older you get, the less taut your tummy may be even after a tuck.

When will I see results?: You should notice a flatter contour and tighter skin almost immediately, but inflammation after surgery may mask the total results of a tummy tuck for four to six weeks. Your skin should continue to contract for about three to six months after surgery, though the scars can take a year or two to fully mature.

How long it lasts: Results are permanent with the right post-surgery diet and exercise routine.

Key benefits of tummy tuck (abdominoplasty): Abdominoplasty scars can be incorporated into existing scars from a c-section.

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