21 Common Questions About a Tummy Tuck

tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a surgical procedure that removes the extra skin and fat of the abdomen and repairs the paired six-pack muscles that may have separated after childbirth, weight gain, or aging. After a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), patients enjoy a flat abdominal contour and a stronger core.

If you are considering tummy tuck abdominoplasty surgery, you undoubtedly have questions. Below are the answers to the most common questions people have about tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery.

1. Am I a Good Candidate For This Procedure?

In general, you may be a good candidate if you have excess fat and loose skin following pregnancy, weight fluctuations, or the effects of aging. It is best if women are done having children before considering this procedure. Both men and women should have achieved stable weight (maintained weight loss for at least 3 months) before tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery. You should also be in overall good health with any chronic conditions well managed.

2. What Does a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Involve?

During a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), the surgeon will make an incision along your lower abdomen and carefully shape and sculpt the area by removing extra skin and fat. If the abdominal muscles have separated, they will be repaired and sewn back together.  This improves the fullness that was present in this area and also helps to strengthen and support the core and lower back. A second incision is made around the belly button – this is because the skin in the upper abdomen is pulled down, tightened and the loose skin removed, the belly button is sutured into a new opening once this has been done. The surgeon will make an effort to make it look as natural as possible.

3. Can I Have a Mini-Tummy Tuck (Mini Abdominoplasty) Instead of Full Abdominoplasty?

There are two main types of abdominoplasty: partial abdominoplasty (“mini-tummy tuck”) and complete abdominoplasty. Some patients initially want to undergo a mini-tummy tuck simply to avoid having a longer scar. This may not be possible based on your degree of abdominal sagging and fat deposits. In general the smaller the incision the less skin that is removed – therefore the amount of loose skin you have will determine which procedure is best for you.

True candidates for partial abdominoplasty are those rare individuals who only require surgery of the area below the navel. The procedure is not offered simply as a less-invasive alternative to complete abdominoplasty. Most patients are best treated with the complete abdominoplasty. Dr. Aggarwal will help you determine which procedure would best suit your needs.

4. Will liposuction work instead of a tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty)?

If you have extra skin, the liposuction is minimally going to tighten that skin. It is not going to give you the same results as a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). Furthermore, it doesn’t do anything for the muscle plication. So liposuction is simply for fat removal which works great for some people if they just have a small area of stubborn fat that they cannot shift with diet or exercise. It must also be remembered that liposuction is not a quick way to lose weight – one must have achieved stable weight even before undergoing liposuction. However if you’ve had children or if you have had significant weight loss then you probably need a tummy tuck to remove the loose skin and/or tighten muscles.

5. Will Tummy Tuck Surgery Help Me Lose Weight?

Tummy tuck surgery is not a weight loss procedure and should not be performed on people who are significantly overweight. While the surgery does remove localised fat from the abdomen, it is a body contouring procedure. This means that your shape will be slimmer, and your clothes will probably fit you better, but the surgery will not result in significant weight loss.

6. Does a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) remove fat?

Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery removes excess skin and fat from the midsection of the body. To ensure that the maximum amount of excess skin is available for removal, it is crucial that you’re at your goal weight before surgery. This will also help your Plastic Surgeon achieve optimal, long-lasting results. If required, your Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty) procedure can include liposuction to assist in the removal of stubborn fat and enhance the overall result of your waistline contour transformation

7. Will I Have Visible Scars?

Yes, you will have some scarring, but it typically fades over time and becomes less noticeable for the vast majority of patients. Keep in mind that it generally takes two years for scars to fully mature, so patience is a must.  The primary incision for the tummy tuck runs from one hip bone to the other, but it often follows the curve of the pubic region and is made low enough to be covered by underwear or a bikini bottom. The incision inside the belly button is carefully hidden made to blend in, especially if a new belly button opening is created.  Be sure that your surgeon takes the time to hide this incision rather than making one around the belly button, as these scars are impossible to hide and generally do not heal well.  Taping and tension reduction sutures may also minimize scarring. In addition, during a tummy tuck, it may be possible to remove stretch marks that are below the belly button depending on how much excess skin there is to remove. Stretch marks that are above the belly button are moved to a lower position on the abdomen.

8. How Long Does It Take To See Results?

You will likely be able to see results within three to four weeks after surgery once the majority of swelling has begun to diminish. Keep in mind that swelling will continue to resolve over the next several months, further refining the firmness, smoothness, and contour of your abdomen.

9. How Long Do Results Last?

As long as you maintain a stable weight and regular exercise, results can be long-term. Prior to getting surgery, you should ideally be within your target weight range.

10. What is the Recovery Process Like?

You will be sore for the first few days, but your surgeon will provide you with pain medication to help manage any discomfort. Wearing an abdominal binder for a few weeks helps to reduce fluid buildup and give support to the area as you heal. Since you just had major surgery on your abdomen, you should avoid any heavy lifting (including lifting small children) or other activities that may put a strain on your stomach muscles.

11. How Long Will I Need to Take Off Work After Surgery?

Many patients find that they are ready to return to work within about two to three weeks. This may vary based on the type of job that you have. You may need more time off or return to work on light or modified duty if you have a physically demanding position as opposed to a role where you can be more sedentary.

12. How soon can I exercise after a Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty)?

In most cases, exercise can be reintroduced 8 to 12 weeks after surgery. This is, of course, provided you have healed enough for the style and types of exercise to be safe. As with all aspects of your recovery, your Surgeon will provide tailored advice on the timings that are right for you.

13. Can I Have Children After Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty)?

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) should not affect a woman’s ability to enjoy a healthy pregnancy and carry a child to term. Many surgeons recommend that women wait until after completing their families to undergo a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). This is because some of the results of a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) can be reversed by future pregnancies, as skin may be stretched out again and abdominal muscles can loosen. However, there are many examples of women who have had a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) before having more children that still feel perfectly happy with their results.

14. How painful is a Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty)?

Most patients experience mild to moderate tightness and soreness for approximately 2 to 4 weeks post-surgery. It is important to note that everyone’s pain threshold is different, and not all Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty) procedures involve the same techniques. Your Surgeon will discuss the complexity of your unique procedure with you ahead of time and provide personal advice on how best to manage your post-operative discomfort. Pain relief medication can be prescribed as required.

15. How is Pain Controlled? 

At Mode we pride ourselves in tummy tuck pain control which begins in the operating theatre. The anaesthetist will give you pain medication during surgery and Dr Aggarwal will do nerve blocks during surgery so you are comfortable when you wake up from surgery. In addition to this we utilise pain busters that infuse local anaesthetic after surgery for the first

16. How Much Does Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty) Surgery Cost?

There is no standard price for the procedure and will depend on the complexity of the surgery and the amount of work that needs to be done, anaesthetic fees and whether or not you qualify for a Medicare item number. If you do qualify for a Medicare item number this will be discussed with you during your consultation and if you are in a health fund that covers that number it may significantly reduce your out of pocket costs. Your surgeon can give you a more accurate cost estimate after your consultation.

17. Is Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty) Surgery Covered By Insurance?

If you have lost a lot of weight or you have muscle separation after pregnancy you may qualify for a Medicare item number. You will also need to be in a health fund that covers the appropriate number and this may reduce your out of pocket costS substantially.

More info can be found regarding this at:  https://www.modeplasticsurgery.com.au/2022/08/15/positive-news-for-woman-medicare-funding-confirmed-for-abdominoplasty/

18. Can I Combine Other Procedures With a Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty)?

Depending on what type of results you are looking to achieve, you may be able to combine a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) with other procedures, such as liposuction or breast augmentation and/or breast lift, to address multiple areas of concern at once. This may prevent you from having to undergo several different surgeries and several periods of recuperation.

19. How Should I Prepare Before Surgery?

Prior to surgery, try to remain as healthy as possible and avoid getting sick. If you are a smoker, you will need to quit smoking or vaping with nicotine at least six to eight weeks before your surgery date and continue avoidance for at least that long afterward. All nicotine must be avoided, including nicotine patches, and gum. Smoking and nicotine can interfere with your recovery and will increase your risk of complications.

20. How Should I Prepare For After Surgery?

It is a good idea to have someone stay with you for the first one to three days after surgery. You should limit your activity and need to rest. Arrange for others to help with childcare, cooking, cleaning, and transportation until you are back on your feet. Gather everything you will need for the first few days of recovery, such as water, snacks, pillows, blankets, books, and other entertainment, and keep it close by wherever you will be staying.

21. Are There Any Risks of Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty) Surgery?

As with any surgery, there are some basic risks associated with a tummy tuck, such as bruising, bleeding, and infection. Talk to your surgeon about what steps you can take to reduce the risk of complications and how any concerns or problems are handled.