Abdominoplasty - Tummy tuck

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Abdominoplasty – “Tummy-tuck”

Patients frequently ask what they can do to tighten or restore the shape of their abdomen. This may be following the birth of children or after significant weight loss. But whatever the cause of the problem, it seems that exercise and diet will often not be enough to reverse the damage. An abdominoplasty may be the answer.
It is necessary to first identify the extent of the problem and whether it involves skin only, skin and fat, or deeper structures such as the muscles and fascia of the abdominal wall. An operation can then be planned to correct the problems.


What is an abdominoplasty? Is it the same as a tummy tuck?
An abdominoplasty is primarily an aesthetic procedure used to correct deformities of the skin, fat, muscles and fascia of the abdomen. The procedure is sometimes called a tummy tuck.

How do I know whether I need a tummy tuck or just liposuction?
Sometimes the patient realizes only that their abdomen protrudes, fat and skin bulge and hang over their belt, or they have difficulty holding their stomach in. Your plastic surgeon will be able to quickly determine whether the problem is primarily fat or involves skin and deeper structures.
If the problem is mainly fat, and the skin is not significantly redundant, then liposuction may be all that is needed. A physical exam will give the answer.

Where is the incision for a tummy tuck?  How big will it be?
The typical abdominoplasty incision is a low transverse incision, individually designed so that the necessary operation can be performed, and the resulting scar can be hidden under minimal clothing. The length of the incision depends on the amount of skin that must be excised.

Will I have a belly button after having a tummy tuck?
Yes, the belly button or umbilicus will remain although it will be brought out through a new “button hole” in the now tightened abdominal skin.


How long will I need to take off from work?  When can I return to normal activity?  Will I have any limitations after surgery?
Most patients take 10-14 days off from work. Sedentary work can be done before then, depending on the patient. Limitations on straining, range of motion and running usually extend to about 2 months. Lighter exercise such as walking and light weights can resume after 2 weeks.

Is the recovery painful?
Post operative pain varies from patient to patient, but the new “Pain Pump” technology and good analgesics help.

Will I still need to diet and exercise after having a tummy tuck?
Absolutely! You will want to continue to improve your body and your health through exercise and diet.


Is the surgery performed in a hospital or in the office?
In my practice we do the procedure in a hospital with anesthesia given by board certified anesthesiologists.

How long does the operation last?  How long will I be in recovery?  Do I have to stay in the hospital over night?
Depending on the extent of the abdominoplasty, the procedure will take approximately 3 hours. We will be in the recovery room about one hour and we usually include one overnight stay.

Do I have to wear any special garments after surgery?
In addition to surgical dressings, you will probably be placed in an abdominal binder which is primarily used for postoperative comfort and support.


What are the risks involved with this surgery?
All surgical procedures carry some inherent risks, and abdominoplasty is no exception. Complications such as infection, bleeding and wound healing problems are very rare. Potential risks and complications will be discussed with you in detail prior to her surgery so that proper consent can be obtained.

What does a tummy tuck cost?
The cost for an abdominoplasty will depend on the extent of the surgery, length of the procedure and other considerations. As a general ball park figure, the cost including surgeon, operating room and anesthesia will be around $8,000.

Article by
Austin Plastic Surgeon