Matthew Schulman: A tummy tuck or an abdominoplasty is a procedure
designed to improve the abdomen. It removes excess skin, tightens the abdominal muscles and also removes fat from the sides of the abdomen or the flank area. The ideal patient for a tummy tuck is a woman in her 30s, 40s, or 50s who has multiple children. The skin has been stretched out from the multiple pregnancies. Possibly she has a lot of stretch marks. But like I said, it's really an operation designed to improve the abdomen by removal of the skin and also tightening of the abdominal muscles.

As the abdomen stretches with pregnancy, the muscles that go up and down your abdomen, the six-pack muscle tends to get stretched and moves off to the side so they're not in the middle. When I do a tummy tuck, I lift up the skin, I look at those muscles, and I sew those muscles back together in the middle so that the muscle is tight. That makes the abdomen much smoother, much flatter, and much tighter. And then I remove all the excess skin.

The incision is an incision that's low, hidden beneath the underwear or bathing suit so it's completely hidden. It can range anywhere from a small incision that's maybe twice as long as a c-section incision, and
sometimes it can go hip to hip in a woman who has significant excess
skin or skin laxity. So the incision itself is going to vary between patients. But again every attempt is made to make the incision heal as well as it possibly can and also to keep it low, so that it's completely hidden.The recovery from a tummy tuck does take some time because the important thing is to protect that muscle repair. When I tighten that muscle in the middle, there's a lot of internal stitches and any abdominal exercise or very heavy activity can potentially risk ripping those stitches.

So my patients are kept out of the gym, and they're told to avoid heavy
abdominal exercise for anywhere from six to eight weeks. There is pain
after abdonimoplasty, but again the pain is bearable. The improvement
clearly overrides the pain because if it was so terrible and people
really couldn't stand it then I would never do abdonimoplasties and it
certainly remains one of my most common procedures that I perform.

Tummy Tuck 101

Dr. Matthew Schulman discusses the ins and outs of a tummy tuck procedure: Who is a candidate, what the procedure entails, and what to expect during recovery.