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  • What is a Tummy Tuck?

What is a Tummy Tuck?

  • Neodyne
  • September 4, 2021

From sagging skin due to pregnancy, aging, or weight loss, there are several reasons why someone may get a tummy tuck. If you're considering one to improve the way your abdomen looks and boost your self-esteem, there are a few things to keep in mind. In this guide, we'll provide you with an in-depth overview of tummy tucks and highlight both the benefits and risks of receiving one. By the end, you should be able to answer what's a tummy tuck and know if it's the right decision for you.

Keep reading to learn more about tummy tuck procedures, what to do to prepare, and how to achieve the best results. You can also use the links below to jump to the sections that interest you the most.

What is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that aims to enhance the appearance of an individual's abdomen. During a tummy tuck surgery, a plastic surgeon will create an incision to remove loose skin and tighten the skin in the area. There are two types of tummy tucks: full and mini. We'll take a closer look at the two types of tummy tuck procedures below.

Full Tummy Tuck

A full tummy tuck, or traditional abdominoplasty, aims to remove excess skin in the abdomen and tighten muscles in the area as well. This type of tummy tuck can result in incisions made from hip to hip in the lower abdomen and around the belly button. Additionally, the belly button will have to be repositioned once the surgeon has finished contouring the skin.

Mini Tummy Tuck

The goal of this procedure is to tighten and flatten the skin located under the belly button. A mini abdominoplasty doesn't target loose skin or repair muscles that are above the upper or middle abdomen. Compared to a traditional tummy tuck, a mini tummy tuck is less invasive, as the belly button will be left untouched.

Ultimately, whether you get a traditional or mini tummy tuck is your decision. Both types of abdominoplasty procedures require making an incision on your abdomen to remove or tighten excess skin. Keep in mind that these surgeries are not intended for weight loss but can be paired with liposuction to slim down the abdominal area.

Who is Eligible for Abdominoplasty?

Not everyone is eligible for a tummy tuck. In fact, there are various factors that may prevent an individual from moving forward with an abdominoplasty. You may not be a suitable candidate for a tummy tuck if you:

  • Are considering getting pregnant in the future
  • Have a chronic medical condition, including heart disease or diabetes
  • Plan to lose a lot of weight after the tummy tuck procedure
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30
  • Previously had surgery on the abdomen that resulted in significant scarring
  • Are a smoker

If you're still thinking about getting cosmetic surgery in the abdomen, speak with your doctor to find the best options for you and your circumstances.

Why Are Tummy Tucks Performed?

As one of the top five cosmetic surgery procedures, many individuals choose to go under the knife as a way to improve their appearance and self-esteem. This could be due to having excess skin after losing a significant amount of weight or following a pregnancy. Here are a few more reasons why individuals may decide to get a tummy tuck:

  • Tighten underlying abdominal muscles
  • Remove flabby skin that won't go away with diet or exercise
  • Reduce the appearance of scars

Besides the cosmetic reasons mentioned above, tummy tucks also provide medical benefits that reduce back pain, correct ventral hernias, and improve stress urinary incontinence.

Doctors in surgery

Risks of an Abdominoplasty

Like any surgery, tummy tucks can pose a few risks. Some of the possible abdominoplasty compilations you may encounter include:


Seroma is when fluid accumulates beneath your skin, and it's one of the most common issues that occur after surgery. Seromas can differ in size, but larger ones should be treated promptly and correctly. Not doing so can lead to aspiration and surgery. To prevent this, your plastic surgeon may require you to use drainage tubes or they'll remove the fluid manually using a syringe and needle.

Poor Wound Healing

When tummy tuck incisions don't heal properly, whether that's due to incorrect wound care or poor surgical practices, it can cause an infection. Infections can be life-threatening if left untreated, so if you notice signs of infection, seek medical attention right away.

Tissue Damage or Death

Tummy tucks can lead to fatty tissue dying or becoming damaged. Depending on the severity of the tissue loss, you may have to go through a second surgical procedure to touch up the area, costing you more time and money than planned. You can significantly reduce this risk by not smoking.


An abdominoplasty can lead to tummy tuck scars, which can be unattractive for some. The size of these scars and how long they take to heal will vary from person to person. However, you can use our embrace® Tummy Tuck Kit to minimize the appearance of abdominoplasty scars.

Changes in Skin Sensation

A tummy tuck can affect the nerves in your abdomen since various abdominal tissues are repositioned during the procedure. During the healing process, this may lead you to experience numbness or reduced sensation in the area. In rare cases, an abdominoplasty can also affect the nerves located in your upper thighs. However, this should go away after a few months.

If you're concerned about potential tummy tuck complications, make sure to discuss them with your doctor. They'll be able to ease your worries and provide tips to reduce abdominoplasty risks.

How to Prepare for a Tummy Tuck

Being fully prepared for a tummy tuck is essential to ensuring your surgery goes as smoothly as possible. Plus, you'll be able to manage your stress better by simply preparing beforehand.

Have a Physical Exam

Having a physical exam before a tummy tuck surgery guarantees that your health is in tip-top shape before the procedure. During this step, your doctor may ask you about past or current medical conditions, allergies, previous surgeries, medication you're taking, and your use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Make sure to be honest with your doctor, as not doing so can lead to surgery complications.

Discuss Your Expectations with Your Doctor

  • At your abdominoplasty consultation, your doctor will take photos of your abdomen and discuss your treatment options, as well as any potential risks or outcomes. Here, you'll discuss your goals and expectations for the tummy tuck, so you're both on the same page about the procedure. You can also ask questions, such as:
  • What are your current certifications?
  • How many years have you been conducting tummy tucks?
  • How are surgery complications taken care of at this medical facility?
  • Do you have untouched before and after photos of patients who have undergone tummy tucks?

Maintain a Stable Weight

Maintaining a stable weight at least 12 months before the surgery is important to ensuring it can actually take place. As mentioned earlier, a BMI that's greater than 30 makes you ineligible for a tummy tuck. If you're overweight or your BMI is too high, your doctor will recommend weight loss to avoid complications during and after the surgery.

Arrange What You'll Need for Recovery

One of the most important things you'll need to plan for after your surgery is how you'll get home. Because a tummy tuck will impact your mobility, you won't be able to drive yourself home or take public transportation on your own. Plan ahead to save yourself a few headaches down the road.

Woman sucking in her stomach

What to Expect After Your Tummy Tuck

After your tummy tuck, you'll need to let your body heal. After all, a tummy tuck is a surgical procedure. We've listed what to expect after your surgery, so you can be ready when the time comes.

After Care Protocol

Your plastic surgeon or their team should provide post-op instructions so that you can recover quickly and without complications. Tummy tuck recovery guidelines may include:

  • Properly cleaning your incisions
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Not taking any medication unless specifically prescribed
  • Keeping an eye out for infections
  • Not smoking or drinking alcohol
  • Walking to reduce the possibility of a blood clot
  • Avoiding activities, such as lifting heavy items or vigorous exercise

Recovery Time

Recovery times for tummy tucks are different for everyone. Ultimately, how long it takes for you to heal after a tummy tuck depends on your body, age, type of abdominoplasty, and post-surgery care. On average, patients can expect to get back to normal after eight weeks.


Just like the tummy tuck recovery time, results will vary. However, by clearly communicating with your doctor and choosing an experienced plastic surgeon, you'll be able to know what to expect.

Whether you're planning to have a tummy tuck or are on your road to recovery post-op, embrace® can help you maximize results. With our embrace® Active Scar Defense treatment, you can minimize the appearance of tummy tuck scars in as little as 60 days. Enjoy your skin to the fullest embrace®.