Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Latest update: April 19, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD


A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that involves tightening the muscles and removing excess skin and fat from the abdomen. It helps to create a more contoured and toned abdomen. 

Some patients may also opt for liposuction and tummy tuck to target excess fat in the waist and flanks. The procedure requires general anesthetic.Surgeons can choose from various tummy tuck methods. The technique depends mainly on the patient’s issues.

During a full abdominoplasty, surgeons perform muscle repair and excess skin reduction. At first, they loosen the skin from the abdominal wall before tightening the muscles with sutures. After this, surgeons remove the excess fat either surgically or through liposuction. They stretch the remaining skin over the abdomen and remove the redundant skin. The navel is then repositioned. Surgeons cut a hole through the redraped skin and suture it around the navel. After this, they close the incisions using stitches or tissue glue. They may insert drains to avoid fluid build-up.

A mini-abdominoplasty requires a single incision made close to the pubic region, as low as possible. The surgeon will remove excess skin and fat under the umbilicus through this incision while tightening the muscles.

An Extended Lateral Tension Abdominoplasty is for patients with excess skin and fat around their hips. The incisions needed are much longer. The procedure requires a deeper tissue technique to support the tuck. Once the tummy tuck is performed on the abdomen, the sides of the hips and thigh are lifted to create a more slender and contoured shape. 

Circumferential abdominoplasty or body lift fixes skin laxity and excess fat on the abdomen and back region. Surgeons perform a lift, liposuction and skin removal on the front and back of the body to create contours all around.

Recovery can take up to 8 weeks, depending on the type of surgery. Most people need to take around a month off from work. Patients need to avoid strenuous activities during this time.

The cons of a tummy tuck include scarring and a lengthy recovery. Most tummy tuck scars can be hidden under the bikini line, but some remain visible. Weight fluctuation after the surgery can affect the results. Women are also recommended to opt for a tummy tuck once they have completed having children, as future pregnancy can re-stretch out the skin. Complications include poor scarring, infection, asymmetry, and blood clots.
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
0-1 day
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
2-6 weeks

5 Things About Tummy Tucks You Should Know

Dr. Danielle Andry, a plastic surgeon from Houston lets us know five things we need to know about tummy tucks. She explains the safe areas for liposuction, explains the anatomy, and talks about scarring. She discusses aftercare and the recovery process.

Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction: Which Is Most Effective?

Dr. Robert K. Segal talks about the differences between tummy tucks and liposuction. He explains how a surgeon decides which is the better procedure for the patient.

Is a Tummy Tuck Worth It? Everything You Need to Know About This Body-Contouring Surgery

Dr. Franziska Huettner, a plastic surgeon from New York, guides us through the journey of a 51-year-old patient that is looking for a change. Lady, the patient, explains why she is considering a tummy tuck and talks about what she feels the difference would be to her. The video talks about finding encouragement in the way we look at ourselves.