Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck as it is commonly referred to, is an operation that is designed to reshape the abdomen. Often, through weight gain and loss, pregnancies, and aging, the skin stretches beyond its elastic limit or ability to return to normal shape. Muscles also get pulled apart but never go back to original position. An abdominoplasty removes excess skin and fat while underlying muscles are tightened.

The actual placement of incisions and design of the abdominal incision varies depending on the excess of the skin and the underlying tissues, the condition of the overlying skin, and prior scars.

For those women whose sagging skin is mainly in the lower abdomen, the mini-abdominoplasty is an option, however, the muscles do not get addressed with this procedure and is not as extensive as a full abdominoplasty due to a smaller incision that is easily hidden under a two piece bathing suit. This procedure offers a more rapid recovery, is done on an outpatient basis, and is often performed under straight local anesthesia.

Who is a Candidate for abdominoplasty?

  • Individuals with realistic expectations
  • Physically healthy individuals at a stable weight
  • Individuals with loose or sagging abdominal wall skin.
  • Individuals with abnormal relaxation of the anterior (front) abdominal wall muscles due to weight gain or loss, pregnancies, or prior surgery.

Intended Results of Abdominoplasty

  • A smoother flatter abdomen.

Procedure Description for Abdominoplasty

  • Anesthetic options include local anesthesia with oral sedation, conscious sedation, and general anesthesia.
  • Incisions
  • Mini-abdominoplasty can most always be performed under conscious sedation straight local anesthesia on an outpatient basis.
  • Standard abdominoplasty tightens all of the abdominal wall skin and abdominal muscles using a standard incision.
  • Mini-abdominoplasty tightens the lower abdominal wall skin only leaving a shorter scar where possible.
  • Small suction drains may be inserted with both procedures.

Recuperation and Healing

  • Discomfort is usually controlled with oral medications or nasal spray.
  • Recovery may be at home with a responsible adult caregiver, at a supervised recovery facility, or at the hospital with an overnight stay.
  • If placed, drains are removed in 2-7 days.
  • Most surgeons use sutures which are absorbable and do not need to be removed.
  • A compression garment with dressings over the incision sites is used.
  • Light activity may be resumed in 7-21 days. Sports will probably not be comfortable for about 6 weeks.
  • An abdominal binder (compression garment) is usually worn for 4-6 weeks.

Other Options

  • Liposculpture of the area.


The specific risks and the suitability of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare.

Reviewed by Victoria Karlinsky-Bellini, MD, FACS, www.newlooklife.com