About Tummy Tuck Surgery

Preparing For Tummy Tuck Surgery

illustration of tummy tuck planning front view

The tummy tuck design allows removal of the skin and fat from the pubic area to the belly button. The scar is placed in the bikini line so that it is covered with most types of clothing.

Our entire team will ensure that you are thoroughly prepared to undergo your tummy tuck procedure.  A tummy tuck is a large operation and thorough preoperative planning is critical for success and a pleasant recovery.  Once you have had a thorough consultation with Dr. Connall and you’ve decided to proceed, our team will begin preparations for surgery. 

You will be scheduled for a preoperative office evaluation, which will occur two weeks before your planned surgery.  We will ask you to stop taking aspirin and other medications that can effect bleeding. 

We will ask you to stop taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy as those have been associated with an increased risk of blood clots after surgery. 

In addition, if you smoke cigarettes, we will ask that you quit cigarette smoking in the weeks before surgery.  This is critical, as cigarettes have severe adverse effects on tissue healing and put patients at an increased risk for wound healing problems after surgery. 

We assure you that our entire team will thoroughly prepare you for surgery. 

In addition, we feel that a support person is very important for your surgical course.  We will help prepare your support person as well.  For detailed instructions on preparing for surgery, please see our preoperative instructions for abdominoplasty.

illustration of tummy tuck planning side view

Most tummy tuck patients have extra skin at the flanks. Therefore, most patients benefit from skin removal from hip-to-hip. Dr. Connall often adds Body-Jet liposuction to a tummy tuck to sculpt the flanks.

Anesthesia For A Tummy Tuck

At Connall Cosmetic Surgery all tummy tucks are performed under general anesthesia, which means the patient is completely asleep during the procedure and will have no pain and no awareness during the surgery. 

To help decrease the pain postoperatively, local anesthesia is used in many of the areas of the surgery so that less general anesthesia is needed. 

In addition, a “pain pump” local anesthetic delivery device is used. 

Small catheters are placed in the abdomen and local anesthesia (numbing medicine) is delivered to the tissues for three days after surgery.

Tummy Tuck Surgery Details

If liposuction is indicated, the procedure begins with Body-Jet liposuction of the flanks, abdomen and pubic area.

The incision for a tummy tuck is then placed within the bikini line in the lower abdomen.  In most cases, the resulting scar is below the level of a low rise bikini or low risk pants, allowing women to have full flexibility with their wardrobe choices.  In addition, an incision is placed around the belly button. 

illustration of tummy tuck muscle repair

Most women have loosening of the connective tissue between the abdominal muscles due to abdominal wall expansion during pregnancy. To tighten the muscles, and to flatten the abdomen, the muscles are sutured together in the midline during a tummy tuck.

The skin and fat are lifted off the abdominal muscles, similar to a trapdoor.  This allows full visualization of the abdominal muscles and provides access for suturing and tightening of the abdominal muscles. 

The abdominal muscles are then tightened in the midline from the breast bone to the pubic bone using strong permanent suture. 

The skin is then draped and pulled below the groin and the excess tissue is trimmed away. 

The belly button stays attached to the muscle layer and since the upper abdominal skin is pulled over the top of it, a new opening in the skin of the abdomen is made for the belly button. 

Two to three drainage tubes are placed and brought out through the pubic area.  The incisions are then closed in multiple layers using hidden dissolvable sutures.  Skin tapes and gauze bandages are then applied.

Recovering From A Tummy Tuck

The recovery begins immediately after surgery at our surgery center, The Meridian Center for Surgical Excellence.  You will recover for approximately two hours. 

After that, you will go home or you will be transported to the rest and recovery unit at Legacy Meridian Park Hospital. 

If you choose to go to the rest and recovery center, you will receive assistance with managing your drain tubes, a bladder catheter, medications, diet, and your first steps out of bed after your tummy tuck. 

Dr. Connall will see you during your stay at the rest and recovery center.  If you recover immediately at home, Dr. Connall will ask you to return to our office two days after your surgery for a check-up. 

illustration of tummy tuck results

After a tummy tuck the skin is tight and the abdomen in flat. The abdomen and waist are more trim and youthful.

For the first few weeks, there will be significant pain, swelling, bruising, and tightness. 

Because the abdomen has been pulled tight, you will have a flexed posture for one to two weeks. 

The two to three drainage tubes will usually be removed within the first two weeks after surgery. 

Return to work and home type activities is usually possible two to four weeks after surgery.  You may resume exercise after four to six weeks.

See The Results Of My Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty with the inclusion of liposuction is a very powerful procedure and will typically dramatically change the contour of the abdomen and trunk. 

A tummy tuck will result in a flatter, firmer abdomen that is more proportional to your body. 

Your results will be apparent immediately however, due to the flexed posture and significant swelling initially after surgery, it will take a few weeks before you will appreciate the results.  Even though significant swelling can persist for a few months, within 4 - 6 weeks after surgery the abdomen should have nice contours and your clothes should fit nicely.

Related Topics

~ Body-Jet Liposuction Adding Body-Jet liposuction of the back and thighs to a tummy tuck can achieve complete sculpting of the body from the ribs to the knees.
~ Lower Body Lift Some tummy tuck patients have excessive skin at the flanks, thighs & buttocks. Lower body lifts treat the entire waistline & surrounding areas.
~ Breast Augmentation Breast augmentation and/or breast lifts are often combined with tummy tucks. This combo is commonly part of a Mommy Makeover.
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