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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

In an abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, the surgeon will firm and flatten the abdomen by removing excess fat and skin and tightening the muscles and tissues of the abdominal wall. An abdominoplasty is often done after pregnancy or major weight loss when people are unable to flatten the abdominal area through exercise and diet alone. A board-certified cosmetic surgeon can custom-design an abdominoplasty procedure for each patient, utilizing liposuction contouring and appropriate muscle tightening with minimal scarring.

Who Is a Good Candidate?
A good candidate for abdominoplasty is physically healthy, at a stable weight and a non-smoker. The results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent; however, significant weight fluctuations can make the outcome less than optimal. For this reason, people who are planning substantial weight loss or women who may be considering future pregnancies should postpone abdominoplasty surgery. Previous abdominal surgery may limit the potential results of this cosmetic surgery.

Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program. A tummy tuck operation also cannot correct stretch marks; however, if the stretch marks are on the areas of excess skin that will be excised, they may be removed or somewhat improved. For women who have undergone cesarean section, often the existing scars can be incorporated into the new scar.

What to Expect
During an abdominoplasty, your cosmetic surgeon will make a horizontal incision low on the stomach. The length and shape of the incision will be determined by the degree of correction necessary. Through this incision, weakened abdominal muscles will be repaired and sutured while excess fat, tissue and skin are removed. Sometimes a second incision around the navel is used to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen.

The incision will be closed with sutures, skin adhesives, tapes or clips. Dressings or bandages may be applied. Often an elastic bandage or compression garment is used to minimize swelling and to support the abdomen as it heals. A small, thin tube (drain) may be temporarily placed under the skin to remove any excess blood or fluid.

Recovery Information
You will be given specific instructions after plastic surgery, including:

  • How to care for the surgical site and drains
  • Medications to apply or take orally
  • Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
  • When to follow up with your surgeon

For the first week or two after surgery, you may experience some abdominal swelling, and until the internal healing is complete, you may be unable to stand fully upright.

For more information about this cosmetic procedure, visit The American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Find a Doctor
To locate a board-certified cosmetic surgeon affiliated with Gwinnett Medical Center–Duluth, search the online physician database or call 678-312-5000.