Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic procedure. It’s performed to remove excess fat and skin from the lower belly. Muscles and supporting structures in the belly may be tightened. This will give you a slimmer look.
Abdominoplasty is meant to make your belly look better. It may fix sagging or overhanging skin. It can also help with weak or protruding muscles that persist after diet and exercise. This can happen with:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review possible problems such as:
Talk to your doctor about how to lower your chances of problems related to:
You may have:
Your doctor will talk to you about what you expect from the surgery.
Leading up to the procedure:
This surgery is not for everybody. Talk to your doctor if your future plans are for:
Smoking interferes with wound healing, making the chances of scars higher. If you smoke, you will need to stop smoking before and after the procedure. Most surgeons advise stopping smoking for at least 4 weeks before and after surgery.
Talk to your doctor about how you can quit for successfully.
General anesthesia is often used. Some doctors use sedation. Sedation will help you relax. It may also put you to sleep.
The exact steps of the procedure will depend on your goals. Common steps:
Once the work is complete, drainage tubes will be placed in the belly. These tubes will work to drain fluid from the site.
The incisions are closed with stitches, adhesive, tape, or clips and covered with a bandage.
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You will be taken to the recovery room and monitored.
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Medicines will help with pain after.
In some cases, abdominoplasty is an outpatient procedure. You will be able to go home after you wake up from anesthesia. In other cases, an overnight stay is needed. You will need to stay longer if there are problems.
You will be in a recovery room where your vital signs are watched. Recovery may also include:
The healthcare staff may have you walk around as you are able. This will help keep blood moving in your body.
During your stay, the healthcare staff will take steps to lower your chances of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to lower your chances of infection such as:
Recovery depends on the extent of your surgery. Arrange for help at home for the first few days. You may need to avoid activities that cause strain. Walking will help with healing.
What to expect:
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Association of Plastic Surgeons
American Society of Anesthesiologists
Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Abdominoplasty. Encyclopedia of Surgery website. Available at: http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/A-Ce/Abdominoplasty.html. Accessed June 27, 2018.
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). University of Pittsburgh Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.upmc.com/Services/aesthetic-plastic-surgery-center/our-services/body-contouring-and-reshaping/Pages/abdominoplasty.aspx. Accessed June 27, 2018.
Tummy tuck. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/tummy-tuck.htm. Accessed June 27, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Donald W. Buck II, MD