What Is an Abdominoplasty?

An abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic procedure to restore separated or lax muscles and to remove unwanted skin and fat around the abdomen. The result is a sleeker and firmer abdominal profile.

In certain circumstances, it can be difficult to achieve a flat, toned stomach even with diet and exercise. The abdomen may protrude, and the skin may sag even in individuals with normal body proportions and weight. This can be the result of:

  • abdominal surgery,
  • significant changes in weight,
  • heredity,
  • age, and
  • pregnancy.


What to Expect from a Tummy Tuck:

Abdominoplasty is not weight loss surgery or a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise regimen. The surgery also does not alter the appearance of stretch marks; however, some of these marks may be removed if they are on areas of the skin that are excised during the procedure. While abdominoplasty results are essentially permanent, they can be affected by future weight fluctuations. Women who may become pregnant and individuals who plan to lose significant weight should postpone the procedure.

What Does a Tummy Tuck Involve?

A tummy tuck is performed using general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. A horizontal incision is made between the navel and the pubic hairline. The actual length and shape of the incision are based on the amount of skin to be excised. The incision allows the plastic surgeon to repair and tighten the underlying abdominal muscles. If skin also needs to be removed from the upper abdomen, a second incision will be made around the navel. This allows the surgeon to pull the skin down so that it can be trimmed and sutured into place. The belly button is pushed through an opening that is created and secured into place with stitches. The incision is then closed with adhesives or sutures.

Recovery from Abdominoplasty:


Following the surgery, the doctor will provide detailed instructions for caring for the incisions and dressings. It is imperative to follow these instructions precisely to promote faster healing and to reduce the risk of complications. Compression garments may be used to support the abdomen and reduce swelling. It is also common to have temporary tubes placed beneath the skin to allow fluid and excess blood to drain from the surgery site. It is normal to have discomfort and difficulty standing upright for the first couple of weeks following surgery. Most patients start to notice a flatter abdominal profile within a couple of weeks once the post-operative swelling has resolved.