An abdominoplasty is the best way to remove skin and fat from the lower abdomen. This approach allows us to remove a large amount of skin that may have stretch marks, scars, or other indentations, and restore a beautiful aesthetic contour. We frequently combine abdominoplasty with liposuction of the flanks and upper abdominal area to further improve shape. We place the scar as low as possible, so that it can be concealed in undergarments.

Types of procedures

  • Mini tummy tuck: This technique involves removing only extra skin from the lower central abdomen. It does not address tightening of the six pack or rectus muscles. This is only used in very specific situations.
  • Panniculectomy: This involves removing a wide area of skin and fat from the lower abdomen to address skin irritations and infections in the groin area. It is sometimes done at the time of large hernia repairs.
  • Full abdominoplasty: This approach involves removing skin and fat from the lower abdomen, tightening the rectus muscles (rectus diastasis repair), and repositioning the belly button, after the skin from the upper abdomen is pulled down and tightened. This is the most common type of procedure.

Procedure details

  • Prior to surgery the patient is examined and the appropriate procedure is chosen
  • The patient is marked prior to surgery, helping to plan the position of the scars, and additional areas that are going to be targeted during surgery with liposuction
  • Surgery is done under general anesthetic, usually on an outpatient basis
  • Skin and fat are cut out and removed. If present, rectus diastasis (or separation of the six pack muscle) is repaired by stitching the fascial layer above the muscle
  • Skin from the upper part of the belly is stretched down towards the groin area
  • Numbing medicine is used to facilitate painless recovery
  • One or two drains are placed in order to wick away any postoperative fluid accumulation
  • The skin and underlying tissues are stitched together with dissolvable stitches
  • A dissolvable glue or tape is placed on the skin edge
  • A post surgical garment is applied
  • The patient leaves the facility approximately one hour after surgery
  • The drains are removed 1 to 2 weeks after surgery

Risks & Benefits

While rare, postoperative bleeding may occur and may require an additional trip to the operating room in extreme cases. Infection can occur on occasion but usually resolves with oral antibiotics.

The surgical scar extends from hip to hip in most cases. It is usually very thin and concealed but maybe wider, thicker or discolored, depending on how each individual heals. Persistent issues with surgical scars can be addressed after recovery is complete. Temporary or permanent partial or complete numbness in some areas of the belly may occur.

Fluid may accumulate after the drains are removed. This is called a seroma and is usually easily addressed by aspirating the fluid in the office. On rare occasions, a new drain may be placed. If multiple procedures are combined, such as extensive liposuction or breast surgery, other risks of prolonged surgery may be present. One suck risk is blood clots in the legs that travel to the lungs (DVT, or PE). To avoid this your surgeon may prescribe a blood thinner injection for several days after surgery.

In the right patients, a tummy tuck is generally a very safe operation with a very high satisfaction rate. Stretched out skin and/or muscles will not resolve without surgical intervention; abdominoplasty is the best way to address these issues. Most patients are pleased to trade unsightly, extra skin and fat for a low concealed scar that heals very well overtime.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I am a candidate for a tummy tuck or just liposuction?

Your surgeon will tell you if you are a candidate for one of these procedures. In general, if you notice that your skin folds over in the groin area, you may benefit from a tummy tuck. If you just feel like you have extra pockets of fat without extra folds of skin, you may be satisfied with liposuction alone.

Will my scar fade away completely?
Anytime skin is cut, there will be a scar. If the appropriate techniques are used, and you heal well, the scar will fade to almost nothing over the course of a year and a half. If the scar is lighter than the surrounding skin, we can offer a scar tattoo to camouflage it.