A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat tissue of the abdominal wall. During a tummy tuck, the surgeon also tightens the muscle and fascia of the abdominal area.
A tummy tuck can improve bulging muscles in the abdomen due to pregnancy, weight fluctuations, and genetics. Tummy tucks are suitable for people in good health. It’s important to choose a trusted surgeon who understands your goals and has your best interest in mind.
To help get a better understanding about this procedure, Jeffrey Gusenoff, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon at UPMC, answers some frequently asked questions.
Q: Who Is a Candidate?
A: Anyone who has some loose abdominal skin and desires to have a smoother, flatter, tighter contour would be a good candidate. Many people who’ve successfully lost weight — either by diet and exercise or bariatric procedures — have extra abdominal skin. This is also true for women who have given birth.
A tummy tuck can remove this skin and lead to an improvement in how the abdominal area looks.
Smokers and people with higher BMIs are not good candidates for a tummy tuck. But they can become good candidates if they quit smoking or lose some weight.
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Q: What Type of Results Can I Expect After My Tummy Tuck?
A: Typical results include a flat abdomen with removal of any skin rolls. The results of a tummy tuck are typically very long lasting. But this may not be the case if you have large fluctuations in weight due to dieting or pregnancy.
Q: What Are the Risks and Complications of This Procedure?
A: Most of the risks are minor, such as wound healing issues, scar asymmetry, numbness, or some fluid buildup. More severe (but less common) risks include bleeding, infection, or blood clots to the legs or lungs.
Q: How Long of a Recovery Period Can I Expect, and What Kind of Help Will I Need During my Recovery?
A: It’s always good to have someone help you at home for the first few days. You can expect to be in a slightly bent over position when standing, walking, or lying in bed for the first week. After that, you should be able to stand upright.
You’ll need to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for four to six weeks. Most people can often return to desk work within two to three weeks.
Q: How Can I Ensure the Best Results Following the Procedure?
A: To achieve the best results from a body contouring procedure, make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means exercising, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a stable weight. Protein is essential to wound healing, so make sure you get 80 to 100 grams a day while you’re healing.
Q: What Should You Look for When Selecting a Plastic Surgeon?
A: Always look for a plastic surgeon who is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). The surgeon should also be a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). You can search on the ABPS and ASPS websites to see if they list a surgeon you’re considering.
You can also ask to see before and after pictures or ask to speak to patients willing to talk to prospective patients about their experiences. Patients should do their homework before selecting a surgeon!
If you’re a good candidate for the procedure, a tummy tuck can be positive and life-altering experience. Because abdominoplasty is a major surgery, you do need to make sure you find the right surgeon.
Whether you’re looking to improve your health or desire a life change with an abdominoplasty, UPMC is here to help you achieve your goals.
If you’d like to learn more about tummy tucks or other innovative post-weight loss surgeries, visit the Life After Weight Loss Program.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
About Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery is an option for both cosmetic and reconstructive needs, and the UPMC Department of Plastic Surgery can help with both. Whatever improvement you seek, we can create an individualized treatment plan to help you achieve your desired results. Through our research and clinical trials, we have used cutting-edge techniques in our treatments for more than 70 years. We also have one of the largest academic plastic surgery departments in the United States and operate one of the region’s top centers for restorative medicine.
Plastic surgery is an option for both cosmetic and reconstructive needs. The UPMC Department of Plastic Surgery can help with both. We will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan to help you achieve your desired results. Through our research and clinical trials, we have used cutting-edge techniques in our treatments for more than 70 years. We also have one of the largest academic plastic surgery departments in the United States and operate one of the region’s top centers for restorative medicine. Our goal is to improve your quality of life. Find a provider near you.