Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restores weakened or separated muscles creating an abdominal profile that is flatter, smoother and firmer. Tummy tucks have become increasingly popular in today’s society to help reduce loose or sagging abdomens caused by heredity, major fluctuations in weight, the aging process and post-pregnancy stretching.

Who are tummy tuck candidates?

You might consider having a tummy tuck if:

  • you have lost a lot of weight and have loose skin as a result
  • you have lax abdominal skin and muscles because of a recent pregnancy
  • you have abdominal scarring as a result of injury or an earlier surgery
  • you are having another operation like a hernia repair and want to combine it with a tummy tuck

How is tummy tuck procedure?

A tummy tuck procedure typically lasts between 2 and 4 hours depending on the degree of your excess skin and fat and the technique used. The technique is chosen based on your needs and expectations, which the doctor will discuss with you. You may also be recommended to have a liposuction at the same time to get the most satisfactory outcome.

An incision is made to the abdomen from hip to hip, along the public area or the so-called bikini line. A circular incision is then made around the belly button to free it from the surrounding skin. After tightening muscles, removing excess fat and skin and pulling down the skin, a new hole is created in the right position for the belly button.

The incisions are finally stitched up with sutures and a dressing and sometimes a compression garment are applied and the excess fluid is drained.

full tummy tuck

What to do before a tummy tuck surgery?

In order to have a better operation and heal faster after the surgery follow these instructions:

  • Stop smoking a few weeks prior to the surgery, as smoking slows down healing.
  • Lose as much weight as possible (reach your ideal weight) before undergoing a tummy tuck surgery, as losing further weight after the operation will undermine the final result and may create a need for another surgery.
  • Shave and wax for 3 days the area to be cut, to reduce the possibility of infection.
  • Arrange your transportation beforehand.
  • Finish your important tasks before going for the surgery, as you will need to rest for a few days and take care of yourself during your recovery process.
  • Make sure there will be someone to help and take care of your for at least a couple of days after surgery.

After tummy tuck surgery post-operative and recovery instructions

  • You may have dressings and drains for removing excess liquid in place before being discharged from the hospital.
  • Depending on the type of surgery you’ve underwent, you will be able to go home after 1-3 days.
  • Your doctor may prescribe painkillers for you to be taken during the recovery time.
  • Most patients are up and walking from day one and will be able to get back to work within at most 6 weeks or less if your work isn’t too physically taxing.
  • You should not lift heavy objects for the first 6 weeks after surgery.
  • You should avoid having sex until 3 weeks after surgery and after that it should be gentle.
  • The final results will be achieved gradually and over a period of 6 months.
  • You should keep to a healthy diet and exercise regularly to maintain the results of your tummy tuck.
tummy tuck

Risks and complications

Just like any other surgery, a tummy tuck may have some risks and complications which are often rare and temporary. Discussing your medical history with your doctor and following his/her instructions are very important in prevention possible risks and complications. Here are some possible side effects of an abdominoplasty:

  • Pain
  • Light Bleeding
  • Infection Blood clots
  • Scarring
  • Swelling
  • Numbness

Mini Abdominoplasty (mini tummy tuck)

Mini tummy tuck surgery is less invasive than traditional abdominoplasty. The mini tummy tuck, or partial abdominoplasty, is often an excellent option for people who have a small amount of abdominal skin to be removed and do not have a significantly protruding abdominal muscle wall. Individuals whose abdominal area is beginning to sag due to aging or who have slim abdomens that they wish to sculpt into a more desirable shape may find that a mini tummy tuck is ideal for them.

mini tummy tuck

In a mini tummy tuck, muscles are tightened and excess skin is removed from below the belly button only. There will be incision in the lower abdomen but the belly button will not need repositioning.