The ideal candidate for a tummy tuck will have some excess skin and fat in the mid to lower abdominal region. Additionally, the abdominal muscles may have stretched and separated over time, particularly in women following childbirth. A tummy tuck is designed to remove this excess skin and fat from the lower abdominal region while at the same time tightening the abdominal muscles. The incision goes around the naval as well as just above the pubic hairline and extends along the bikini line. No sutures need to be removed as they are placed underneath the skin. A plastic tube drain is placed at the time of surgery to remove any excess fluid. It commonly remains for one to two weeks after surgery. Your abdomen will feel tight and numb following surgery, and this will improve with time. Oral pain medication will be provided, and this is usually all that is required. To limit discomfort you will need to rest in a recliner or sleep on 2 to 4 pillows for several days. We encourage you to walk around with assistance as this prevents blood clots in the legs. A mild laxative is usually needed to avoid bloating and constipation.
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and usually takes two to three hours. Most patients are watched in the hospital overnight and go home the following day, but you can go home as long as you have help available. An abdominal binder will need to be worn after surgery. This will give support to aid in pain control and help limit swelling and fluid accumulation. Don’t expect to regain full activity for approximately six weeks after surgery.
If you are considering this procedure, it is best to avoid smoking as it can compromise your results.
The difference between the traditional tummy tuck and the “mini” tummy tuck is that in the mini tummy tuck an incision is not placed around the naval and the naval is not repositioned, which limits the amount of skin and fat that can be removed. The mini tummy tuck is usually combined with liposuction to the abdominal region. The best candidate is someone who only wants the little “pouch” of tissue just above the pubic hairline removed.