Abdominoplasty (Tummy) FAQ

What is an abdominoplasty?

An abdominoplasty is also known as a tummy tuck is a surgical procedure to remove the excess skin and fat on the abdomen after pregnancy, obesity or aging.

What should I expect for my recovery?

The first week after surgery you will be sore and you will be walking hunched over. You will eventually straighten your posture after about a week. Your abdomen will feel very tight. This sensation does go away as you heal.

  • It is highly recommended that you take at least two weeks off of work to recover.
  • You are encouraged to get up and walk around immediately after surgery to help prevent blood clots.
  • You will have drains in place for weeks after surgery.
  • You cannot lift, push, or pull anything over 10 lbs. for at least six weeks.
  • You will be an a compression garment that wraps around your abdomen for about 4-6 weeks.

Where are the incisions located?

The standard abdominoplasty procedures include two incisions.  One is around the belly button and the other is a horizontal one that varies in length according to the amount of skin removal needed. The skin and abdominal fat are lifted.  The abdominal muscles are tightened and the excess skin is removed and the incision closed. The length of the scar is based on the amount of skin that needs to be removed.

Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?

You are a good candidate if you are currently at a stable weight, not planning to have any more children or if you have lost a lot of weight.  Both men and women are candidates for a tummy tuck.

How long will my results last?

The results from your tummy tuck can last for several years if you maintain a stable weight, eat healthy, and exercise on a regular basis.

Can a tummy tuck get rid of my stretch marks?

A tummy tuck can help to remove the majority of your stretch marks, but you may still have some stretch marks after the surgery.

What is a mini-tummy tuck?

A mini-tummy tuck is for patients who have issues below their belly button. This is not a procedure for tightening the abdominal wall. The incision is generally shorter with a mini-tummy tuck.

Why do I need drains?

A tummy tuck creates a large space above the belly button down to the horizontal incision. Fluid can accumulate in this space. The drains are used to remove fluid that collects in the space. If that fluid is not drained from the body you may develop a seroma (an accumulation of fluid) that will cause swelling and need to be removed by needle aspiration. Seromas can become infected and cause delayed wound healing. Typically the drains are in place for about two weeks. Another option is to use progressive tension suture technique which eliminates the need for a drain but takes a little longer to perform.

What are the potential complications associated with a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck is a safe operation, but with any surgery you have the risks of bleeding, sensation changes, infection, seromas, DVT (blood clots), contour irregularities and hematomas.

What type of anesthesia is used for a tummy tuck?

You will be under general anesthesia for approximately 120-240 minutes. The surgery is done in an ambulatory surgery center. It is a same day surgery, so once you are fully alert, awake and walking you will be discharged home.