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What is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck, medically known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that aims to reshape and flatten the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat while tightening the abdominal muscles. This approach helps achieve a smoother and more toned appearance in the abdominal area.

Tummy Tuck Benefits

After a tummy tuck, patients typically experience a significantly flatter abdomen, improved abdominal contour, and enhanced muscle tone. This procedure also reduces the appearance of stretch marks and excess skin after significant weight loss or pregnancy. Many individuals experience increased self-confidence and a rejuvenated sense of body image.

Good Candidates for Tummy Tuck

Ideal candidates for a tummy tuck include those with excess abdominal skin and fat that do not respond to diet and exercise alone. It is particularly beneficial for women post-pregnancy looking to restore their pre-pregnancy figure and individuals with weakened abdominal muscles due to aging or fluctuations in weight. Candidates should be in good overall health and have realistic expectations about the procedure’s outcomes.

Tummy Tuck Options

There are several abdominoplasty options tailored to address varying degrees of abdominal laxity and aesthetic goals:

Mini Tummy Tuck

This procedure targets the lower abdomen below the belly button with a smaller incision. It is suitable for individuals with minor excess skin and fat in this area.

Traditional Tummy Tuck

The traditional approach involves a longer incision that allows for comprehensive upper and lower abdomen correction. It is ideal for patients with more significant skin laxity and muscle separation.

Extended Tummy Tuck

 This variation extends the incision to address excess skin and fat on the sides (flanks), providing a more extensive contouring of the entire abdominal area.

Tummy Tuck Alternatives

While a tummy tuck is highly effective for addressing excess skin and fat, there are alternative procedures depending on individual needs and preferences:


This technique removes excess fat deposits from specific body areas, providing contouring benefits without addressing loose skin or muscle laxity.

Body Contouring Treatments

Non-surgical options such as laser treatments and radiofrequency therapy can help improve overall body shape and skin texture, with less dramatic results than surgery.


This non-invasive procedure freezes and eliminates fat cells through controlled cooling, making it suitable for individuals seeking minor fat reduction without surgery.

Preparing for Tummy Tuck

Preparation for a tummy tuck involves thorough consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon. Patients discuss their medical history, current medications, and any lifestyle habits, such as smoking, that may impact surgery and recovery. Pre-operative instructions typically include dietary guidelines, medication adjustments, and planning for post-operative care to optimize healing.

Tummy Tuck Procedure

During the procedure, the surgeon makes precise incisions to remove excess skin and fat, tighten underlying abdominal muscles if necessary, and reposition the belly button for a natural appearance. The incisions are carefully closed to minimize scarring and promote a smoother contour.

Tummy Tuck Recovery

Recovery from a tummy tuck involves wearing compression garments to support the newly contoured abdomen, managing discomfort with prescribed medications, and gradually resuming normal activities under the guidance of the surgeon. Swelling and bruising are common initially but diminish over time, revealing gradual improvements in body shape and abdominal firmness.

Results of Tummy Tuck

Patients typically notice a firmer and flatter abdomen shortly after surgery. Final results become more apparent as swelling subsides and the body adjusts to its new contours, typically within several weeks to months after surgery.

Risks of Tummy Tuck

Tummy tuck risks may include infection, bleeding, adverse reactions to anesthesia, scarring, numbness, and changes in skin sensation. Patients are advised to follow post-operative care instructions meticulously to reduce these risks and optimize healing.

Tummy Tuck Combination Procedures

Combining a tummy tuck with other cosmetic procedures can enhance overall aesthetic outcomes and streamline recovery. Common combination procedures include a breast lift to address sagging breasts, a mommy makeover that may consist of breast augmentation or reduction along with body contouring, and buttock enhancement procedures such as fat transfer or implants. These combined approaches allow patients to achieve comprehensive rejuvenation of their body contours in a single surgical session tailored to their unique aesthetic goals and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are tummy tucks dangerous?

In the right hands, an abdominoplasty is a very safe procedure. When moving forward with this procedure, we highly recommend selecting a board-certified surgeon.

Can a tummy tuck cause stomach issues?

An abdominoplasty will not typically cause stomach issues. More commonly, many patients find they feel full faster when eating meals. This is due to the tight muscle plication. Otherwise, there are no changes to the stomach.

Can I walk after tummy tuck?

Yes, an abdominoplasty is considered an outpatient surgery. This means there is no overnight hospital stay required, and patients leave the surgical center on the same day as surgery. With assistance right after anesthesia, our patients can walk on their own the day after their tummy tuck procedure.

Can you lose weight after tummy tuck?

Yes, you can continue to lose weight after an abdominoplasty. Many patients find that their body responds to exercise in a new and improved way. For some patients, weight loss after an abdominoplasty can provide an even better aesthetic result.

Do tummy tucks work?

Abdominoplasty is a great procedure to address one or multiple aesthetic concerns of the abdomen. Tummy tucks can address excess abdominal skin, loose abdominal skin, and/or loose abdominal muscles after pregnancy or weight loss. Through skin excision and muscle plication, abdominoplasty can transform an abdomen that has undergone major changes. Patients can generally consider their results to be “permanent” if there are no major lifestyle changes (major weight fluctuations, pregnancy, etc.)

Do you get a scar from a tummy tuck?

Because abdominoplasty includes skin excision, there is a scar associated with the procedure. Most often, it is a low-positioned, transverse incision that is typically covered by most underwear and swimsuits. In some cases, there may be other incisions needed to provide a better aesthetic outcome and maximum improvement. Because every patient has a different skin tone and heals differently, scars can sometimes be difficult to predict. However, with proper care, most scars tend to heal quite well.

Do you have to be skinny to get a tummy tuck?

Prior to any cosmetic surgery, we want patients to be the best versions of themselves. We encourage realistic goals for our patients. We strongly recommend patients be at or near their goal weight prior to moving forward with any elective cosmetic surgery.

Does a tummy tuck tighten muscles?

Yes, an abdominoplasty procedure includes a corset tightening and repair of the diastasis recti. This gap between the vertical muscles of the abdomen widens with childbearing or weight gain and does not typically go away. An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, corrects and tightens abdominal muscles that have been stretched.

How are tummy tucks done?

At CARE Plastic Surgery, our double board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Brian Coan, performs abdominoplasty as an outpatient surgery. This means that patients can go home on the same day as their surgery. We have two AAAASF-certified operating rooms where the procedures are performed. We utilize both local anesthetic and MAC anesthesia (IV sedation) to provide the ultimate comfortable experience for the patients perioperatively. Dr. Coan lifts the abdominal flap, plicates the abdominal muscles with sutures, excises any excess skin, and pulls the abdominal skin as flat as possible to provide an optimal aesthetic appearance.

How can I lose my stomach fat?

There are many methods of fat reduction, including invasive and non-invasive options. Some options include liposuction, a safe and minimally invasive surgical procedure, and CoolSculpting, the nation's #1 non-invasive fat reduction technology. In some cases, patients may have abdominal fat that only responds to diet and exercise.

How long after a tummy tuck can you drink?

After surgery, you should abstain from alcohol for several weeks. Alcohol can impede your bodys ability to heal, negatively affecting your results. Dr. Coan will give you the best estimate of when you can resume drinking alcohol after your surgery.

Is it easier to lose weight after a tummy tuck?

While abdominoplasty is not a weight loss procedure, our patients find exercise to be more enjoyable after a tummy tuck. Additionally, patients tend to prefer a slimmer waistline, less loose skin, and tightened abdominal muscles. Patients also report achieving better results with exercise when they resume a normal exercise routine after a tummy tuck. Finally, many patients report a feeling of satiety and early fullness after an abdominoplasty procedure. This comes from the narrowing and tightening of the abdominal wall. It is similar to how having a tight belt on could limit how much you feel like eating during a large Thanksgiving meal.

When can I start working out after tummy tuck?

We advise patients to wait until 6 weeks after surgery to resume normal activity and exercise.

Who is a good candidate for tummy tuck?

Patients with loose abdominal skin and/or diastases recti are good candidates for this procedure. Diastasis recti is the partial or complete separation of the large abdominal muscles. It is quite common after pregnancy, but it can also occur after rapid and dramatic weight gain. An abdominoplasty corrects these concerns, as they do not respond to normal exercise.

Can I walk or go up stairs after a tummy tuck?

Yes, our surgical patients are not only able to walk but encouraged to walk with assistance immediately after the procedure. In the following days and/or weeks, most patients will be instructed to walk slightly bent over at the waist to ensure a more comfortable recovery process.

Can you get a tummy tuck if youre obese?

We strongly recommend patients be at or near their goal weight prior to moving forward with any elective cosmetic surgery. We recommend surgical patients be at a body mass index (BMI) of about 30 or below for optimal patient safety and best outcomes.

Can you get pregnant after a tummy tuck?

Abdominoplasty does not impact an individual's ability to become pregnant post-operatively. However, due to the nature of the procedure, we recommend patients be certain they are done with childbearing to prevent recurrent diastasis recti which may warrant a second tummy tuck.

Do men get tummy tucks?

Yes, we have many male patients who undergo abdominoplasty procedures. Oftentimes, men who have lost a significant amount of weight can be candidates for abdominoplasty due to abdominal wall and skin laxity issues from previous weight fluctuations.

What is the recovery time for a tummy tuck?

Patients must refrain from any activity that will significantly increase heart rate or blood pressure, including exercise, for 6 weeks after a tummy tuck. Additionally, patients wear a compression garment during this time. After the six-week mark, patients are cleared to resume all activity restrictions.

What are the potential risks and complications of a tummy tuck?

While complications are rare, they are possible, which is why we strongly recommend patients comply with postoperative instructions. Possible complications include delayed wound healing, localized infection, swelling, bruising, sensation changes, and minor asymmetries. Our CARE team will be with you every step of the way during your post-operative journey.

Will a tummy tuck remove stretch marks?

A tummy tuck surgery does not address all stretch marks directly. However, by removing excess skin and tissue from the abdomen, stretch marks in that area may be incidentally removed.

How long does a tummy tuck surgery take?

The duration of a tummy tuck surgery can vary. On average, an abdominoplasty can take approximately 2-3 hours but can vary depending on the patient’s anatomy, Dr. Coan’s recommendations, and the addition of other procedures performed at the same time. Keep in mind procedures times must also take administering anesthesia into account.

What kind of anesthesia is used during a tummy tuck?

At CARE Plastic Surgery, we use monitored anesthesia care, or MAC anesthesia for all procedures, including abdominoplasty. MAC anesthesia differs from general anesthesia in that sedation is controlled through intravenous administering of medications through an IV, allowing the patient to breathe on their own without intubation. Patients awake from anesthesia easier and have a much lower likelihood of post-operative nausea.

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Real Testimonials

Dear Dr. Coan, Heartfelt thanks for your TLC and excellent skills ~ especially your knowledge and appreciation of micro-surgical techniques! Your feedback gave me a lot of confidence and assurance regarding my healing process. I am slowly re-introducing activity, and feeling great. Mary Ann

- Verified Care Plastic Surgery Patient

Good Morning I am wanting to send my biggest thank you to the entire staff at Care. Dr. Coan along with all of the ladies have been amazing… I feel so beautiful… happy… thankful… And confident thanks to your support and services… I am awake taking my meds and I just can’t stop smiling… Thank

- Verified Care Plastic Surgery Patient

April is one of the best aestheticians. She never recommends anything that is not needed. Care plastic is great in their service.

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Additional Treatments to Consider

Procedures can be combined to maximize your benefits and target multiple concerns in one treatment. Customize your procedure at CARE with the following treatment options.

New Patient Resources

Need to know more about our process? Check out a few of our blog posts below.

Stubborn Belly Fat? Here’s What to Expect from a Tummy Tuck


Full Tummy Tuck vs. Mini Tummy Tuck: Which One Do You Need?


What a Tummy Tuck Can and Can’t Do


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