Is There a Way to Determine What You Will Look Like Before Your Actual Tummy Tuck?

Is there a way to visually tell what your outcome will be before you have surgery? I've heard others say that how you look laying flat is how you will look after your tummy tuck. Is this true? If not, is there a way to tell at all?

Doctor Answers 14


There is no way of accurately imaging a post operative result. Actually all imaging techniques are really just simulations and not a guarantee of results. If you have excess hanging skin and fat you will look better 

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Computer Imaging Does Not Show The True Result Of A Tummy Tuck

Simply put there is no way that computer imaging can really replicate the effects of a tummy tuck. How flat you may get depends on what you have to start with and what tummy tuck technique is used. (mini- vs full) I would not say that laying flat exactly replicates what a tummy tuck does although in some patients that may be true. The best method is to look at before and after pictures and see if you can find someone that looks somewhat similar to you before surgery.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

How to Tell How You Would look after a Tummy Tuck?

       There is no reliable way to give an exact picture of this.  First, everyone scars differently.   Second, not everyone has the same tummy tuck - shorter scar vs extended.  Third, the techniques for performing a tummy tuck by the surgeons are different.  The best thing to do is consult with a board certified plastic surgeon who has done hundreds of these procedures.  Look at pictures on the website or in the office.  Good luck.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

What you will look like after tummy tuck

What you will look like after a tummy tuck depends on how much tissue needs to be removed, your bone structure and the surgical techniques used.  Every surgeon has a variation in technique which can change the final result.  There is no way to predict how you will look after a tummy tuck.  If you have all the proper indications for a tummy tuck there is an excellent chance that you will be happy.  It is important that you trust your surgeon and feel comfortable with what will be done.

Dev Wali, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Is There a Way to Determine What You Will Look Like Before Your Actual Tummy Tuck?

Video imaging is of limited usefullness here, because it requires a fair amount of guessing by the surgeon operating the software. Looking at photos of patients of similar body shape is more helpful.

Laying on a bed is somewhat helpful in that you are not likely to get more abdominal flattening than this. The skin will drape favorable in this position. But you won't see the scars this way.

When you ready for an in person consultation, RealSelf has listings of surgeons in your area. You should consider cross referencing the listings from the The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery dot org). A listing in the ASPS website assures you that your surgeon is not only board certified,  but also is a member in good standing of the major plastic surgery organization in the U. S.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Computer Imaging Helpful In Body Contouring

A surgeon experienced with computer image simulation should be able to give you a reasonable approximation of your final tummy tuck result in the lateral position. The incision cannot be simulated but the change in contour can be estimated. It is also helpful to look at before and after photos online of patients with a similar height and weight. The supine method you mentioned should approximate muscle tightening, but it will not give you a good indication of skin excision. Best wishes. 

Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Is There a Way to Determine What You Will Look Like Before Your Actual Tummy Tuck?

The answer is NO, but there is a way to have a pretty close idea:  Look at before and after photos of previous tummy tucks your chosen surgeon has done.  Find one or more that look similar to you.  Ask your surgeon if they are indeed similar from a surgical standpoint, and if you can expect that the results shown are approximately what you will have after surgery. 

In my opinion, the surgeon's work on past patients, provided he or she is applying the same technique, anticipates your expected result most closely.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Tummy tuck

Although before and after photos cannot guarantee results for specific patients, I think looking at before and after photos in your surgeon's office during your consultation should give you a reasonable idea of what to expect.

Gregory Sexton, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Laying down will not anticipate your result

When you lie down, your musculature relaxes (your breasts also change in contour) so this is not indicative of the postop result. There are many variations in the tummy tuck, but any plastic surgeon who performs a lot of these procedures will have a collection of before and after photos which will give you an excellent idea of the anticipated result.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Visualize before and after using iLipo app

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately at the present time the best way to show you how you're going to look after an abdominoplasty would be with your clothes on and a profile view using my iLipo app. Of course the best way is to have an in person consultation as well as looking at goal pictures of patients similar to your body habitus before surgery.

Kevin Tehrani, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 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.