Questions about Tummy Tucks

Virginia Center for Plastic Surgery serving Alexandria, Arlington, Springfield, Fairfax & Washington, D.C. Abdominoplasty Patients

What is a tummy tuck?

An abdominoplasty—commonly referred to as a tummy tuck—is a surgical method for removing the stubborn excess fat and skin around the abdomen that can develop with pregnancy, aging and weight fluctuations.

What is involved in a tummy tuck procedure?

Virginia plastic surgeon Dr. Eric Desman offers two types of tummy tuck procedures: complete abdominoplasty and partial abdominoplasty, also known as a mini abdominoplasty. Although a partial abdominoplasty is less invasive and requires a smaller incision than a complete abdominoplasty, both procedures are major surgeries performed while you are under anesthesia. Each type of tummy tuck entails an abdominal incision which allows for the removal of excess fat and skin, and the tightening of your abdominal muscles. Your skin will then be pulled taut over the surgery area, any excess skin will be removed, and the incision will be stitched closed.

Am I a candidate for a tummy tuck?

Generally speaking, patients who have stubborn fat deposits but are in otherwise good overall health and within their ideal weight range are viable candidates for tummy tucks. A physical examination with Dr. Desman will determine whether you are a candidate for an abdominoplasty and whether a full or mini abdominoplasty is right for you.

Will I lose weight with a tummy tuck?

Although an abdominoplasty may downsize your waistline, it’s important to understand that a tummy tuck is not designed as a weight loss procedure. A tummy tuck is intended to create a firmer, more toned profile by removing abdominal fat and skin that have not otherwise responded to exercise.

Is a tummy tuck painful?

As with any major surgery, there is discomfort associated with an abdominoplasty. The procedure itself is performed while you are under anesthesia, but you will experience some soreness, swelling and bruising as you recover. Pain relievers will be prescribed as needed to minimize discomfort as you heal.

Can I combine a tummy tuck with liposuction and breast procedures?

Yes. In fact, it is increasingly popular to schedule a tummy tuck along with liposuction and a breast lift or breast augmentation in a single experience often referred to as a mommy makeover. Not only are these procedures aesthetically complementary, but having them performed in one session can be more cost-effective while limiting the surgical time and recovery periods associated with having multiple procedures performed separately.

What is the tummy tuck recovery period like?

You should be able to resume day-to-day activities including work within two weeks of your abdominoplasty. However, you should avoid strenuous physical activity until cleared by Dr. Desman, which is usually within four to six weeks after surgery. Stitches are typically removed about a week after your procedure, and some patients may require compression garments and/or drains to flush excess fluid from the surgical site and prevent infection. Dr. Desman will review your complete recovery guidelines with your prior to your tummy tuck.

Will I have scars after my tummy tuck?

You will have scarring following an abdominoplasty, although everyone scars differently and some people may have more visible scarring than others. While the scars will fade somewhat as you heal, they will also be concealed in the area of your pantline.

How long will my tummy tuck last?

If you follow your post-operative guidelines, maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly, the effects of your tummy tuck can last indefinitely. If you gain a significant amount of weight following your abdominoplasty or go through extreme weight fluctuations, you may need a revision tummy tuck procedure.

If you live in the Washington, D.C., or Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax or Springfield, Virginia, areas and would like to learn more about tummy tucks, please contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Eric Desman at the Virginia Center for Plastic Surgery to schedule your consultation.