Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)


What is an Abdominoplasty?

  • This procedure will remove the excess skin and the excess fat from the middle and lower abdomen, and it will tighten the abdominal muscles to give a smoother appearance.
  • Abdominoplasty is not a surgical treatment for being overweight.
  • Patients who are overweight and who intend to lose weight should postpone all forms of body contouring surgery until they have reached their goal weight and have been able to maintain it for at least several months.

How is an Abdominoplasty done?

  • With a full abdominoplasty, a curved incision is made extending from one hipbone down to the pubic area and back up to the opposite hip bone (underwear usually hides this scar). There is a second incision around the navel. A second incision is made around the navel.
  • The skin and fatty tissues are then elevated off the underlying muscles from the level of the pubic bone all the way up to the lower part of the chest bone.
  • The navel is left attached to its stalk.
  • A permanent suture is used to tighten the main abdominal muscle from the level of the breast bone down to the level of the pubic area.
  • After suturing the muscles, the excess skin and fat are removed and a new opening is made for the navel.
  • The deep tissues and skin edges are then closed with sutures and usually surgical tape is placed over the sutures for two weeks.
  • With a mini-abdominoplasty, a similar incision is made but all of the work is limited to the area below the navel.
  • Consequently, there is no need to place an incision around the navel.

Am I a good candidate for an Abdominoplasty?

  • There are two types of liposuction performed. These include tumescent liposuction and ultrasonic liposuction.
  • The best candidates are men and women who are relatively good shape, but bothered by large amount of lose abdominal skin or fatty deposit that will not respond to diet or exercise.
  • The surgery is especially helpful to women who have had multiple pregnancies and who have stretched their abdominal muscles and skin beyond the point where they will return to normal.
  • If you intend to lose a lot of weight, you should postpone the surgery until after the weight loss.
  • Women who plan future pregnancies are encouraged to wait until they have had all of their children. The abdominal muscles are tightened during surgery and will separate with pregnancy.
  • Whether an individual is a good candidate for a full or mini-abdominoplasty depends on their unique anatomy and areas of concern. This decision can be made only after a complete examination by a qualified plastic surgeon.
  • Smokers should stop smoking as this may delay the healing process and cause unnecessary complications. The length of time that an individual should stop smoking depends on the extent of their exposure.

How do Abdominoplasty scars heal?

  • Although plastic surgeons use a number of methods to decrease the extent of scarring, individuals are unique in terms of their potential to form thick scar tissue.
  • The majority of patients heal quite well with a very fine incision, but there are individuals who form thicker scars requiring a several years to fade.

Is there significant pain with an Abdominoplasty?

  • Most patients experience abdominal muscle spasms and pain for the first three to five days. This is usually the most difficult period after surgery.
  • Some patients may feel slightly weak after surgery. Eating a healthy diet is important during the healing phase.
  • Drinking lots of fluids during the first week after surgery is also helpful.
  • Constipation is common and many patients will require over the counter medications to help with this.
  • Sleeping in a reclining position provides the greatest degree of comfort since it minimizes the stress on the abdominoplasty incision and allows the patients to get up more comfortably.
  • Some patients need assistance at home with getting up-and-down as well as changing their dressings.
  • Most patients feel much better after the first two weeks following surgery, but it can take up to a month before they feel like themselves again.


Iliana Sweis, MD, FACS
1535 Lake Cook Rd, Ste. 201
Northbrook, IL 60062
Phone: 847-291-3200
Fax: 847-562-0670

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