Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

What is abdominoplasty?

Abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck surgery, is a procedure performed to remove both excess fat and skin from the abdomen. Abdominal muscles weakened or separated by pregnancy can be tightened, flattening the abdomen. In most cases, the desire for an abdominoplasty is the result of excess fat, loose or stretched skin, or weak abdominal muscles, often secondary to pregnancy.

A mini-abdominoplasty procedure is performed on patients who require a more limited improvement. It involves a smaller incision and thus a shorter scar. Tightening of the muscles is usually limited to the lower abdomen. It is performed under local anesthesia with mild sedation.


Usually lasting about two to two and a half hours, an abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia. An ellipse of skin and fat between the pubis and the umbilicus is excised. The umbilicus is left in place. The tissue above the umbilicus is freed from the underlying musculature. If needed, the underlying muscles are tightened. The tissue that was freed from the underlying musculature is then re-draped, thus flattening the abdomen. Drains are placed for two to seven days.


After the surgery, there may be some discomfort for a few days. A compression garment is worn for six weeks. It is usually possible to return to work at three weeks. Vigorous physical activity can only be undertaken after six to eight weeks.

The scars usually fade, but do not completely disappear, over a period of six to twelve months.

Risks and Complications:

All surgeries expose patients to risks and complications. In cosmetic surgery, all efforts are made to minimize these risks, but they cannot be completely eliminated. A partial list of complications for abdominoplasty includes: scarring, infection, hematoma, skin necrosis, thrombophlebitis, and pulmonary embolism. It is important to discuss these risks with your surgeon as part of your decision making process.

Smoking significantly increases the risk of skin necrosis when undergoing an abdominoplasty.