Tummy Tuck: A RealSelf Urban Glossary

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 stomach skin hangs down over your bikini line, often after massive weight loss or pregnancy.

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 a tummy tuck. Also called a body binder, compression garmet (CG), faja, or girdle.

See also: How long does the average patient wear their girdle after a tummy tuck?
tummy tuck binder


CG (noun)

An abbreviation for compression garment, also known as a binder.


Diastasis recti (noun)

When your belly sticks out, causing a pooch that may make you look pregnant. It’s caused by the separation of the left and right stomach muscles and is very common after a pregnancy.


Drains (noun)

After a tummy tuck, your surgeon may insert up to three 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 empty or "milk" them a few times a day and measure how much fluid you collected. Drains typically stay in at least three days and up to two weeks or more.

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

tummy tuck drains


DR (noun)

The Dominican Republic is a popular destination for many plastic surgery procedures, including tummy tuck.


Elective (adjective)

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.

Elective cosmetic surgery is performed to reshape normal structures of the body in order to improve the patient's appearance and self-esteem. - Dr. Stanley Okoro


Faja/Fajate (noun)

A compression garment with a waist cincher. Fajas come in different styles: a simple waist cincher, a body suit including a waist cincher and half leg/shorts, or a body suit including a waist cincher and ¾-full length legs.


Fleur-de-lys (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.

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


Hip-to-hip (adjective)

Tummy tucks typically leave a scar that runs from one hip to the other, just below the pubic 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.


Lymphatic massage (noun)

A massage performed to help reduce swelling after surgery.


Man package (noun)

When your pubic area is so swollen after surgery that it looks like you have a man package.  It typically takes up to four weeks for the swelling to reduce.

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


Marble Trick (noun)

A marble is sometimes used to help shape your new belly button.

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)

Abbreviation 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)

The fat that spills out over the top of your pants. It's one of the reasons lipo is commonly performed with 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 pregnancy can cause the two vertical muscles running across your abdomen to separate and stretch. That results in a "pooch" in your stomach area. Also known as diastasis recti.

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 stomach 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


Pain pump (noun)

The pain pump sends medicine to your stomach muscles to take away the pain. The pump on the outside of your body is filled with several days worth of anesthetic that slowly drips into the sore areas. Sometimes, this helps reduce 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)

Post-operation.

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


Pre-op (adjective)

Pre-operation. Before surgery.


Recovery house (adjective)

A facility where patients go after the procedure to recover in privacy for a few days. Typically these facilities, which are staffed with nurses and trained caretakers who offer 24 hour care, are for people who have traveled to a different state or country for their surgery.


Scarring (noun)

One of the big concerns many people have before tummy tucks is whether the scar will be visible 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 (noun)

Your stomach could be swollen after surgery; the amount of time is different for everyone. No one likes being swollen, especially after a procedure to make you flatter and fitter, so 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


Travel buddy (noun)

Someone who will travel with you if you are having your treatment abroad. RealSelf community members often find surgery buddies with plans to travel to the same destination for treatment at the same time.


TT (noun)

An abbreviation for tummy tuck.

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


Waterbed 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 may mean there is trapped fluid that needs to be drained."

Water bed effect


Was this guide helpful? Thanks for your feedback

See what the community has to say about Tummy Tuck.

Still have questions about Tummy Tuck? Ask a doctor.