How do you perform a tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 10

Tummy Tuck Procedure

A tummy tuck procedure involves removing excess skin and fat, as well as repairing separated abdominal muscles resulting from pregnancy, and in some cases, weight fluctuation. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and the total duration is about 2-3 hours depending on the patient. An incision is placed in the lower abdomen, where it can be hidden underneath clothing and even swimwear. Any excess fat and skin is trimmed away, and the skin is then stretched tight to form a smoother, firmer abdomen. After a brief recovery period, patients are able to see their much flatter tummy. Once you have done your research on a tummy tuck procedure, find a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss any concerns and how it can be beneficial for you. Good luck!

How to perform a Tummy Tuck

I make a low abdominal incision, elevate the skin and fat, tighten the muscles together and then pull down the excess skin and cut it off. The original belly button is brought out through a hole in the abdominal wall skin.

Robert Kearney, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your question. During the 2-5 hour tummy tuck procedure, a horizontal incision is made beneath the bikini line. Loose skin is trimmed away, and the loose underlying tissues and muscles are tightened by bringing them together with sutures. A second incision may also be made around the navel to correct loose skin in the upper abdomen. It may be possible to improve the appearance of stretch marks if loose skin that has stretchmarks is removed from the lower abdomen, although a dramatic change should not be expected.Hope this helps,Dr. Newall

German Newall, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Tummy Tuck Procedure Details

This is an operation designed to improve the appearance of the abdomen, which may be overly protruding, or may have excess loose skin and fat. There are variations of the standard operation, including "mini-tucks," which may be of benefit to patients who require removal of a small amount of skin and/or tightening of the abdominal muscles below the umbilicus (belly button). This can be done in conjunction with an umbilicoplasty, improving the size/shape of the belly button. Most patients with massive weight loss require a more extensive operation. Frequently, additional enhancing surgeries such as liposuction to improve the waist line or other regions, pubis lift or breast surgery can be performed at the same time without delaying your recovery period. Please discuss with your doctor if this applies to you. Under general anesthesia, an incision is made across the lower part of the abdomen at the pubic hair line extending to your hips. A circular incision is made around the navel which stays attached to the muscle. The skin is then separated from the muscle up toward the ribs, so that it can be pulled down like a window shade. The tummy is then "tightened," (narrowing and flattening the abdomen) by stitching the muscles together to a position of youth and pre-pregnancy. "Mini" tummy tucks can benefit patients who have a small amount of excess skin and fat or protruding of the lower abdomen. Liposuction may be used alone or in conjunction with a tummy tuck to benefit selected patients. A pubis lift can reduce the redundant pubis skin or excess amount of hair bearing tissue.

Tummy tucks are customized

to what the problems are but routinely include muscle plication, liposuction of the tummy, discontinuous undermining of the upper abdominal skin, removal of the excess skin, and sometimes removal of the belly button with a planned reconstruction done at a later date.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Tummy tucks

if only skin needs removal, it would be a mini, if skin and tightening of muscle, a modified, and if skin, tightening, and moving the belly button, full tummy tuck. Lipo is usually part of the procedure in my practice.

Robert V. Mandraccia, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Haw a Tummy Tuck is Performed

A variety of tummy tucks are available. Patients who only need a tightening of the abdominal muscles or removal of a small amount of skin may be best treated with a “mini-tuck.” Patients who have undergone massive weight loss, on the other hand, will probably require more extensive surgery. An abdominoplasty is usually done under general anesthesia. An incision is made along the lower abdomen at about the pubic hair line, and another incision is made around the belly button which stays attached to the muscle. Mini-abdominoplasty tightens the lower abdominal wall and skin below the umbilicus, belly button, only (shortest scar). Modified abdominoplasty addresses conditions where just the muscle wall or just the abdominal skin requires repair. Standard abdominoplasty tightens all of the abdominal wall skin and muscles above and below the belly button. The scar can be altered or lowered to be hidden by most panty lines and bathing suits. (Standard scar). Extended abdominoplasty tightens the abdomen and the flanks or sides (longest scar extending around the flanks onto lower back.) A general anesthetic is most common, although mini-tucks may be done with local anesthetic and intravenous sedation. A standard abdominoplasty is generally an outpatient procedure, but extended abdominoplasty may require a short hospitalization of 1–2 days.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews


Thank you for the question and as every patient is different so are the types of abdominoplasties performed as they are costomized to give the best result to every patient.  So go on some complimentary consultations and find out what would give you the best result
Dr. Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

How do you perform a tummy tuck?

it's a good question.The first thing I do is make sure that the person is healthy and ready to undergo surgery. Ideally their BMI is less than 30 and they are at their goal weight. We discussed the surgery in detail ahead of time, so they understand that after a muscle repair patient lift more than 10 pounds for six weeks.Before the operation I have the patient wear underwear that they like, or a bathing suit, while making my marks. By outlining the underwear before I make my marks, I can make sure that the incision is hidden below there underwear. The incision is kept as low as possible on the abdomen, so that it is hidden. The incision is made, the skin is elevated from the abdomen, the abdominal muscles are tightened with sutures. Long-acting local anesthetic is injected into the abdominal wall to help with postoperative discomfort, drains are placed, the bed is flexed the skin is pulled down and trimmed. A conservative amount of tension is used so that the scar heals as a thin line. Liposuction is typically performed on their flanks. This helps give a hourglass shape.I see every patient the day after surgery, at one week, and at two weeks. The drains come out after 1-2 weeks. At six weeks, there are no restrictions and they can return to any activity.

"Bounce a Quarter Tight!"

A tummy tuck is performed by making an incision at the lower abdomen, usually from hip bone to hip bone. This is usually in a line covered by a bathing suit, so fairly low. An incision is made around the belly button, and then the skin and subcutaneous tissue (fat) is lifted off of the abdominal wall as high as necessary. The muscles are repaired, which is generally needed if a woman has had children. The patient is then placed in a sitting or flexed position, and the excess skin is cut off. The skin should be very tight and the patient will be bent over for a week or so until the skin relaxes a bit. This are the basics. Obviously there are numerous variations based on individual patient needs, and there are some excellent videos available that illustrate the operation.

Elizabeth A. Kinsley, MD
Covington Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.