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Tummy Tuck

What is a tummy tuck?

Abdominoplasty is also called a "tummy tuck." It's a procedure that contours the belly (abdominal area). With this procedure, the surgeon makes a long incision from one side of the hipbone to the other. Extra fat and skin are surgically removed from the middle and lower abdomen. The muscles of the abdomen wall are tightened with stitches (sutures).

Possible complications linked to a tummy tuck

Possible complications linked to a tummy tuck may include:

  • A lot of scarring. If the incision area does not heal correctly, there is a chance of a poor quality scar. This can often be treated by a second operation. There can be delays in wound healing if you have problems with the blood supply in your skin. This can result in an open wound and longer period of healing. The scar may be worse.

  • Blood clots and infection. As in any surgery, there is a risk of bleeding, infection, blood clots, or reaction to the anesthesia.

  • Changes in how the skin feels. You may have numbness or pain in the area of surgery. This can be short term (temporary) or permanent.

Who is a candidate for tummy tuck?

The best candidates for a tummy tuck are men or women who are in good physical condition but are bothered by large fat deposits or loose abdominal skin that does not get better with diet or exercise.

People who intend to lose weight and women who plan future pregnancies should postpone the surgery.

About the procedure

Although each procedure varies, tummy tuck surgeries generally cover the following considerations:

Places where this surgery is done

  • Surgeon's office-based surgical facility

  • Outpatient surgery center

  • Hospital outpatient

  • Hospital inpatient

Anesthetic options

  • Local anesthesia along with IV sedation. This lets you stay awake but relaxed.

  • General anesthesia

Average length of procedure

  • A complete tummy tuck usually takes several hours, depending on how much work is needed.

Some possible short-term side effects of surgery

  • Abdomen is swollen

  • Abdomen is painful

Final results

  • Healing is a slow and gradual process. It may take weeks or months to reach a full recovery.

  • Scars may appear to get worse during the first 3 to 6 months as they heal. It may take up to a year for scars to flatten out and lighten in color. They may never completely disappear.

Online Medical Reviewer: David Lickstein MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ronald Karlin MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2023
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