Tummy Tuck Terminology You Need To Know

First time on the RealSelf tummy tuck forums and feeling confused about why you'd have to 'milk your drains' to have a flat stomach? Don't worry. This quick, alphabetical list will help you sort it all out. 

Abscape (noun)

A term for a male tummy tuck procedure (medical name: abdominoplasty) coined by a male RealSelf community member. Creating a new term helped him feel better about moving forward with the procedure.

The term 'tummy tuck' grossed me out. As soon as I created the new terminology I was more apt to move forward... - ABSCAPE

Apron (noun)

When you lose a lot of weight or have a baby, sometimes stomach skin can hang loose over your bikini line.

I want to know if I could have my "apron" fat removed now, as it hangs pretty low and prevents me from wearing smaller pants. - Natalee K.

tummy apron of skin

Binder (noun)

An article of clothing worn around your belly after surgery to minimize swelling and help your skin keep its new shape. Many doctors recommend wearing a binder for at least the first week after your operation. Also called a 'body binder.'

He sent me home in a binder yesterday, and I was ready to change.- Silversunshine

See also: Purpose of Binder After Tummy Tuck? Q&Atummy tuck binder

CG (noun)

CG stands for 'compression garment.' It's another name for a binder. Sometimes also occasionally called a 'torture device' because wearing it isn't some peoples' idea of a good time.

I'm fairly fit and thin so I'm wondering if I need to keep wearing the torture device (CG)? - ckg

Cybil Hour (noun)

This refers to the mood swings you're likely to get while you're recovering from surgery. Some days you'll feel amazing, and others, probably not. Gets its name from the 1976 miniseries starring Sally Field, in which she plays a character with multiple personalities.

I called it the "Cybil Hour."  Happy then sad and all over again. -Kimmers25

See Also: 9 Feelings You Have Before, During & After Tummy Tuck

Drains (noun)

After a tummy tuck, your surgeon will insert anywhere from 1 to 3 small tubes attached to little plastic bulbs outside your body. They're there to keep fluid from building up inside the area that was just treated. You'll have to empty or "milk" them a few times a day, and measure how much fluid you collected. They stay in anywhere from 3 to 15 or more days.

My drain keeps getting clogged so I have to milk it often. - helenes transformation

tummy tuck drains

Elective (adjective)

Electives are a type of surgery, including tummy tucks and all 'cosmetic' procedures, that can be scheduled in advance because they don't involve a medical emergency. Wanting to change the way you look, however, can sometimes feel like an emergency. 

It's best to overnite in a facility that has a lot of experience caring for "electives." - ABSCAPE

See also: Complication and Revision Policy after Undergoing Elective Surgery

Fleur-de-lys TT (noun)

Some people have skin that's loose from side-to-side, in addition to a vertical 'apron' of loose skin. These folks might be candidates for a fleur-de-lys tummy tuck. The scar from this style TT looks like an upside down T.

I got a fleur-de-lys tummy tuck and I'm wondering if these results are normal? - chosela

fleur-de-lys tummy tuck

Girdle (noun)

This is another name for a binder. It's a type of CG or 'compression garment' that some doctors recommend wearing after the tummy tucks or liposuction procedures.

After my drain comes out I can wear a Spanx-type girdle. - Jessesgirl1977

See also: Removing Girdle After Liposuction.

Hip-to-hip (adjective)

Tummy tucks typically leave a scar that runs from one hip to the other, just below the public bone. Usually, the scar is low enough that it won't show in a bathing suit.

Do I really need a fleur-de-lys TT, or will I have almost the same results with a regular hip-to-hip incision? - bluestar

Lipo (noun)

It's pretty common for people to get liposuction or 'lipo' in addition to a tummy tuck. Lipo is a procedure that helps remove extra fat, and can help enhance TT results.

I am seven days post-op of a tummy tuck with lipo. I was an unlikely candidate due to my height & weight. - Loving Me Even More Now!

See also: 20 Essential Questions About Liposuction.

Man package (noun)

Your pubic area is so swollen after surgery that it looks like you have a man package.   Takes 2 - 4 weeks to go down and is extremely strange looking.

Stuffing it with sox on the incision line will definitely make you look like you have a man package! - Kimmers25

Marble Trick (noun)

This is where you place a marble in your new belly button for several weeks in order to shape it.

I did the marble trick. I placed gauze over it so it wouldn't fall out. I noticed a difference in about 3 days. - paulianna

See Also: Can The Marble Trick Improve the Depth of a Belly Button?

ML (noun)

This stands for 'milliliters.' This is the unit you use to measure the amount of fluid you're collecting in your drains. 

I recommend stripping each drain and recording each drain's output 2x a day in MLs. - C. Bob Basu, MD

Muffin top (noun)

A muffin top is fat that spills out over the top of your pants. They're one of the reasons lipo is commonly performed alongside a tummy tuck. Once the stomach skin is removed, many people will want the skin around the hips gone too.

What can I expect my doctor to do about my sides? They look horrible, I have a bad muffin top. - ChristinaS

Muscle separation (noun)

Massive weight gain or having kids can cause the two vertical muscles running across your abdomen to separate and stretch. That results in a "pooch" in your stomach area. Having a tummy tuck helps fix this.

I can't tell if I have a torn abdominal muscle. No matter how much I exercise and do ab work, I still can't get the old belly back. - TravelingCat

Muscle tightening (noun)

Tummy tucks can tighten the lining of your abdominal muscles, in addition to removing extra skin and fat.

My plastic surgeon said I only required a limited tuck since he would not need to tighten my abdominal muscles, only remove the excess skin and reposition the belly button. - Lotus5

See also: Tummy Tuck Q & A

Pain pump (noun)

The pain pump does the opposite of it's name. It pumps medicine to your abdominal muscles to take away the pain. The pump on the outside is filled with several days worth of anesthetic that slowly drips onto the sore areas. Sometimes, this helps take away the need for other pain medications.

My PS offered a pain pump during my surgery. He said it helps numb the area for the first 3-4 days and will reduce the amount of pain. - youngmomof4

See Also: Are Pain Pumps for TT Recovery Worth the Extra Cost?

PO (adjective)

This stands for post-operation.

Was advised to stop wearing compression at 6 wks PO and allowed to start running for exercise. - Gracey

Scarring (noun)

One of the big concerns many people have before tummy tucks is whether the scar will be visible after, and where it will be. Most people want their surgeon to place the scar low enough so that you won't see it under a bathing suit.

The doctor marked where I wanted the scar given the underwear I wore, but the scar is about 1" higher than that now, so not concealed by my underwear. He says it will drop over the next few months. - KSP2

Seroma/hematoma (noun)

A seroma is a buildup of fluid in the area of the operation, and a hematoma is a buildup of blood. Both can be resolved by removing the fluids and blood with needles. But you have to watch out for them - especially a hematoma because it can lead to an infection.

I just had a TT and my doc thinks I have a hematoma - can it be reabsorbed? - Girlsx3

Spitting stitches (verb)

Some of the stitches you'll get after a tummy tuck are meant to dissolve. Occasionally, one of these stitches could poke or "spit" through your skin. It might hurt a little, but it can be taken out safely.

I have a small spot on my scar that is still spitting stitches/disolvable staples 7 months out. Is this normal? - mauimommy808

Swell hell (adjective)

Your stomach could be swollen after surgery, and the amount of time is different for everyone. But no one likes being swollen, especially after a procedure to make you flatter and fitter. Thus, the swelling period post-operation is called 'swell hell.'

I am expecting swelling but do not want to be in swell hell forever. - Lil_Gunz

TT (noun)

TT is just an abbreviation for tummy tuck.

Will I get good results from a TT even though I'm so thin? - Jennifer6645

Water bed effect (noun)

This is related to seroma (fluid collection) after your TT. An easy way to test if this is happening, from Dr. Christopher V. Pelletiere: "push on the area while resting your hand on the other end of the swollen area.  If you feel a wave, or what feels like a waterbed effect of fluid moving, then there is a fluid collection.  This effect does not always occur, but if it does happen, it means that their is trapped fluid in the area that probably needs to be drained."

Water bed effect

Are there any terms we missed? Let us know in the comments section, below!

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