What You Need to Know About Tummy Tuck Surgery


What You Need to Know About Tummy Tuck Surgery

If you have excess skin or fat on your abdomen that isn’t responding to diet or exercise, consider getting a “Tummy Tuck,” which doctors call “abdominoplasty” to flatten your abdomen by removing the excess fat and skin and tightening the muscles in your abdominal wall. This procedure has increased in popularity in recent years and is up 407% since 1997.

If you’re wondering if you would be a good candidate for a Tummy Tuck, try the “pinch test:” Hold your abdominal skin and fat between your thumb and forefinger; if you can pinch more than two inches, you’re a good candidate.

Below are some facts about the Tummy Tuck procedure, and what you can expect if you decide to have one:

Who Are the Best Candidates For a Tummy Tuck?

  • Men and women who are in good health.
  • Women who have has several pregnancies and would like to tighten their abdominal muscles and reduce skin.
  • Men or women who were once obese and have excess fat deposits or loose skin.


Who Should Not Consider a Tummy Tuck?

  • Women who are planning to get pregnant. During surgery, your vertical muscles are tightened, and future pregnancies can separate those muscles.
  • If you are planning to lose a lot of weight. A tummy tuck should be a last resort after you’ve tried everything else. It should not be used as an alternative to weight loss.
  • If you are concerned about the possibility of scarring. Discuss this with your surgeon before your surgery.

How to Prepare for Your Tummy Tuck Surgery


  • Meet with a surgeon of your choice for a consultation to discuss your goals, as well as the following options:
    • Complete abdominoplasty. The surgeon will cut your abdomen from hipbone to hipbone and then contour the skin, tissue, and muscle as needed. The surgery will involve moving your belly button, and you may need drainage tubes under your skin for a few days.
    • Partial or mini abdominoplasty. Mini-abdominoplasties are often done on people whose fat deposits are located below the navel. During this procedure, the surgeon most likely will not move your belly button, and the procedure may only take up to two hours, depending on your case.


  • If you smoke, your surgeon will request that you quit at least two weeks before the surgery and two weeks after. It is not enough to just cut down on smoking. You must stop completely since smoking makes complications more likely and slows healing.
  • Eat well-balanced, complete meals before your surgery.
  • Tell your doctor about everything you take, including prescription drugs, herbal medicines, and other supplements. Your surgeon may instruct you to stop taking certain medications for a time before and after the surgery.
  • Before getting the surgery, get your home ready. You’ll need:
    • Ice packs
    • Loose, comfortable clothing that can be put on and off very easily
    • Petroleum jelly
    • Hand-held shower head and bathroom chair.


  • You’ll also need someone to drive you home after the tummy tuck. If you live alone, you’ll want someone to stay with you for at least the first 24 hours.


How a Tummy Tuck Is Done

This surgery can take anywhere from one to five hours, and involves an incision around the navel. Excess skin is removed, muscles are tightened and liposuction may be used to contour the abdomen. You may need to stay overnight in the hospital, depending on your case. You will get general anesthesia, which will put you to “sleep” during the operation.

Possible Complications


  • You will have pain and swelling post-surgery. Your doctor will prescribe pain medicine and tell you how to best handle the pain. You may be sore for several weeks or months
  • You may also experience numbness, bruising, and tiredness.
  • Though they’re rare, complications can include infection, bleeding under the skin flap, or blood clots. You may be more likely to have complications if you have poor circulation, diabetes, or heart, lung, or liver disease.
  • You may experience insufficient healing, which can cause more significant scarring or loss of skin. A second surgery may be required if you do not heal properly.
  • A tummy tuck leaves scars. Your surgeon may recommend certain creams or ointments to use after you’ve completely healed to help with scarring.

Taking Care of Yourself After Surgery


  • Follow all your surgeon’s instructions on how to care for your bandages in the days following surgery.
  • You will have to severely limit strenuous activity for at least six weeks.
  • You may need to take up to one month off work after the surgery to ensure proper recovery. Your doctor will advise you on what you need to do or not do.

Returning to Daily Life


Generally, most people love how they look after this procedure. That can take time, though. You may not feel like your normal self for months after the surgery, but maintaining proper diet and exercise can help you feel better more quickly.

Does Insurance Cover a Tummy Tuck?


Cosmetic surgery that is performed without a medical reason is not covered by insurance companies. An exception is if you have a hernia that will be corrected through the procedure.  Be sure to contact your insurance company so you’re clear on what’s covered and what’s not.


For more information on Tummy Tuck Surgery,  visit our website or call us at 204-947-9322.


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