Can I Get a Tummy Tuck While Awake?

would any doctor actually do a tummy tuck while you're awake? What about a mini tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 26

Tummy tuck awake

there are a lot of answers to the question you did not ask. ie can it be done under local? the reponse to your question can it be done awake is yes. usually with a spinal and mild sedative. not my choice but to each his own. a better question is "Is it safe to not use general anesthesia? I would argue yes, sometimes even safer to choose an alternative. trust your surgeon and do your homework. Look up the really good work by Mustoe et al.

Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

General anesthesia best suited for Tummy Tuck

General anesthesia is the better suited anesthesia technique for your particular operation. It will leave you feeling more comfortable during the operation, and as mentioned preiously, protects your airway. The importance of a board-certified anesthesiologist cannot be emphasized more.I also believe a better and more precise result is achieved with general as opposed tointravenous sedation, where surgeons will often incorporate a fair amount of tumescent fluid for patient comfort. The exception would be a smaller tummy tuck or a mini-abdominoplasty. I would recommend that you ask your physician for his preference and ask him to explain his reasoning.

Jeffrey D. Hoefflin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Tummy tuck anesthesia

Tummy tucks are normally done under general anesthesia, meaning the patient is "asleep". I personally have not had any patients ask to be awake, and I would not recommend it. There is a lot of dissection involved, and it is ideal to perform this in a controlled environment.

If all you needed was surgery on a small or limited area, then performing this while you were awake would be reasonable. In that case, you could be given "local anesthesia" where the area that was worked on could be numbed up with injections, and you could be given medications for sedation to make you more comfortable. Another type of anesthesia is "regional anesthesia" such as an epidural, where a numbing medication is injected directly into your spine.

Keep in mind each type of anesthesia has risks and benefits, and the decision should be made between the patient, anesthesiologist (or trusted certified anesthetist), and the surgeon. In any case, you will still have a cost for the anesthesia, and it is best to have your surgery under conditions that are ideal for you and your surgeon.

I would recommend consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon to determine what procedure you really need, and what type of anesthesia would be the safest for you.

Good luck!

Anita Patel, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Safe anesthesia for tummy tucks

The simplest answer to your brief question is that yes, performing abdominoplasty / tummy tuck (including mini) under local anesthesia would be possible. Your question raises a number of other questions.

First, consider the training, board-certification, and experience of the surgeon performing the procedure. This is the most important factor in obtaining a good quality outcome. An experienced plastic surgeon would be best.

Second, consider the quality of the anesthesia provider. Is the surgeon suggesting being awake in order to enhance the quality of your result? Are cost considerations being weighted too highly? A board-certified MD anesthesiologist is the highest standard you can expect.

Next, you should expect that the procedure will be performed in an accredited surgical facility, whether an office-based, out-patient or hospital facility. Such facilities have a higher standard of safety and quality.

Do your research and choose carefully.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Anaesthesia choice for tummy tuck surgery

Tummy tucks can be done under local anaesthetic but not routinely. They are either done under general anaesthesia which is most common or under regional anaesthesia such as an epidural or spinal where the lower part of the body is the only part under anaesthesia and it is usually combined with sedation to keep you comfortable for the duration of the procedure. Using only local anaesthetic means you are completely awake and this is not good for a big procedure like this.

General anaesthesia done under controlled environment and by an experienced board certified anaesthesiologist in an accredited facility is very safe -- safer than driving your car home today. In addition, your surgeon can do more to give you a better outcome. If you can't tolerate a general anaesthetic from a medical standpoint, then may be you should question whether or not you are a good candidate for any elective procedure. Discuss your options with your surgeon and make sure safety is number one.

Bahram Ghaderi, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Tummy Tuck while awake

"Tummy tucks" can be done under a well placed epidural anesthesia similar to that used in Caesarian delivery. It's best for patient comfort to have some intavenous anesthesia to increase pt. comfort because these take longer than Cesarians do. When I do these, I prefer an anesthesiologist who does a lot of Obstetrics.

Barry H. Dolich, MD (Retired)
Bronx Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Tummy tuck under local anesthesia

Anlost any procedure can be done under local anesthesia.  It may not be comfortable or pleasant, but it can be done.

Generally it is better to perform this procedure under general anesthesia because the airway can be protected from stomach contents, an unlikely but possible scenario.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

Anesthesia Required for Tummy Tuck

You must be administered some type of anesthesia during any type of tummy tuck to ease pain associated with the surgery and to allow your surgeon a wider range of access. In the great majority of cases, tummy tuck surgery is performed with the patient under general anesthesia. You will be asleep if general anesthesia is administered and, in my opinion, will find the procedure to be more comfortable and pleasant. Still, it is possible for a mini tummy tuck to be performed under less intensive local anesthesia, with the patient “awake,” should find this option preferable for you. These are options you should discuss with your surgeon at a consultation or pre-op appointment

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Tummy tuck often done under epidural anesthesia.


In New York City, we often do a tummy tuck under epidural anesthesia. We use sedation with it, but you can pretty much be as awake as you want, because there is no pain.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Tummy Tuck under local anesthesia

As with many questions about plastic surgery my answer is : "It depends".

It really depends upon the extent of the procedure that is necessary. For instance a minor tummy tuck without muscle plication and just liposuction with skin excision can be performed under 'local anesthesia". In some cases a lower rectus plication can be performed in some individuals under local anesthesia with the help of pills. Doing a procedure like this with local anesthesia and pills also depends upon the pain tolerance level of the patient.Careful selection is absolutely necessary.

One other consideration is to perform Slim Lipo in cases where skin tightening is desired. In some cases the patient can have a great result without skin excision.

A full tummy tuck with extensive undermining, umbilical transposition and rectus plication is best performed with general anesthesia.

Joel B. Singer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
3.4 out of 5 stars 34 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.