About the Procedure

The best candidates for a tummy tuck are men and women who are in good physical shape, but have large fat deposits or loose skin in the stomach area that don't respond to diet or exercise. This procedure is particularly helpful to women who have had multiple pregnancies and whose abdominal muscles have been stretched beyond the point where they can return to normal.

The most common approach to a tummy tuck involves an incision along the abdomen just above the pubic area. In a full tummy tuck, the surgeon also makes an incision around the belly button to free it from the surrounding skin in the area. The skin is then separated from the abdominal wall. Loose tissue from the left and right of the abdomen is pulled together and sutured. The procedure tightens the muscles and strengthens the abdominal wall.

Excessive skin from the area is then removed, and a new opening for the belly button is made. The incisions are then closed and dressed.

A pain pump is then inserted into the area of the delivering numbing medication on a continual basis to the operative site.

A support garment is then worn for 6 weeks after the surgery.

Patients will notice their flatter, firmer stomach immediately after a tummy tuck. The scars will fade over time.

Some patients find they don’t need a total tummy tuck and choose instead to have a partial or mini tummy tuck. During a mini tummy tuck, the skin is separated only between the incision and the navel. The skin flap is stretched down, excess skin removed, and the flap stitched back into place.

Liposuction is sometimes used in conjunction with a tummy tuck to remove fat deposits on the hips.

Recuperation from a tummy tuck varies among patients; however, the normal down time is two weeks. Normal activity may be resumed after six weeks.