Answers to Your Tummy Tuck Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on August 17, 2015 by Cynthia M. Poulos, M.D.

People who need a little extra help with excess fat or skin in the midsection might opt for an abdominoplasty. I like to educate my patients about this surgery. These answers to the most frequently asked questions will prepare you to make an informed decision about the procedure.

What Patients Will Benefit?

Men and women who are healthy are the best candidates for a tummy tuck. People who have lost a large amount of weight and find themselves with excess skin in the abdominal area are prime patients for this procedure. Women who have been pregnant and experienced significant stretching of the abdominal muscles and skin are also ideal examples of people who would benefit from abdominoplasty.

Who Shouldn’t Get Abdominoplasty?

Some people are not good candidates for this procedure. Women who plan to have children should wait until after a final pregnancy to avoid the separation of vertical muscles in this area. Anyone who needs and wants to lose a large amount of weight should engage in the weight loss first before having a tummy tuck.

Though rare, those with poor circulation, diabetes, or disease of the heart, lung, or liver may experience complications after the procedure.

How is the Procedure Performed?

The surgery involves general anesthesia. A surgeon makes an incision immediately above the pubic bone. The idea of the placement of the incision is so that it won’t be visible under a bikini swimsuit bottom. The incision might stretch from hip to hip. The surgeon then carefully separates the skin and fat from the muscle between the incision and the bottom of the rib cage. The surgeon works to tighten muscles and removes excess skin and fat from the area. Careful work is performed around the belly button to redesign it after removing the skin and fat. In some instances, before closing, the surgeon may place drains under the skin to help drain excess fluids from the site. Depending on the state of your stomach, the amount of tissue the surgeon removes and the type of incision can vary. The doctor’s recommendations of these two aspects of the procedure will determine the price, the length of the procedure, and the amount of time it will take to recover.

What Is Recovery Like?

I always encourage my patients to be up and walking around as quickly as possible after the procedure. Walking around for a short time three or four times a day will help hasten healing. It’s common to walk in a bent-over position at first, but after four or five days, most people begin to walk more upright. I remove the drains anytime between four days and two weeks post-op. Patients also wear a compression garment around the abdomen for several weeks to support the surgical area.

Although the amount of pain after a tummy tuck varies for the individual, most people can manage the discomfort with pain relievers and by following post-op instructions carefully.