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Healthcare: Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

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What is a tummy tuck?

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A tummy tuck is surgery to remove fat and skin from your belly. It also tightens the stomach muscles. The surgery will make your belly look flatter. It is also called an abdominoplasty.

There are several types of tummy tuck surgeries. Your doctor will discuss with you which one would be best for you.

The doctor will make a cut in the skin from one hip bone to the other. This cut is called an incision. Another incision will loosen the belly button from the tissue underneath it. Then this skin flap is pulled down from the ribs. The doctor will tighten the muscles in the belly. Excess skin and fat are taken off, and the skin is brought together and closed. A tummy tuck leaves a long scar across your lower stomach and a smaller one around your belly button. The scars will fade with time.

You may spend 1 or 2 days in the hospital for a tummy tuck, or you may go home on the day of surgery.

You may have a less complex tummy tuck surgery. This is sometimes called a mini tummy tuck, and your recovery will be a little easier. With a mini tummy tuck, the doctor makes a shorter incision. Less skin is removed and only the lower stomach muscles are tightened. Unlike a full tummy tuck, a mini tummy tuck usually involves liposuction. This uses suction to remove fat. You will need to take it easy for 2 to 3 weeks at home.

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Recovery

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Your belly will be sore and swollen for the first week after surgery. The skin on your stomach will be mostly numb for several weeks to months. Feeling will return slowly, although you may have a small area on your lower stomach that is always numb. Do not use a heating pad on your stomach while it is still numb, or you could have severe burns. It is normal to feel tired while you are healing. It can take 5 to 6 weeks for your energy to return.

You may not be able to stand up straight when you come home. You’ll need to get up and walk every day to regain your normal movement. Between walks, move your feet and legs often.

A tummy tuck leaves a long scar that will fade with time. You also may have a small scar around your belly button.

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