Abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” is a cosmetic surgery procedure used to make the abdomen more firm. The surgery involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall. This type of surgery is usually sought by patients with loose tissues after pregnancy or individuals with sagging after major weight loss.


Abdominoplasty operations vary in scope and are frequently subdivided into categories. Depending on the extent of the surgery, a complete abdominoplasty can take 1 to 5 hours. A partial abdominoplasty (Mini-Tuck Abdominoplasty) can be completed between 1 to 2 hours.

abdominoplasty photo 1

Reconstruction of the umbilicus (belly button) following an abdominoplasty surgery. The original umbilicus is sutured into a new hole created by the surgeon.

Complete abdominoplasty

In general, a complete (or full) abdominoplasty follows these steps:

  1. An incision is made from hip to hip just above the pubic area.
  2. Another incision is made to free the navel from the surrounding skin.
  3. The skin is detached from the abdominal wall to reveal the muscles and fascia to be tightened. The muscle fascia wall is tightened with sutures.
  4. Liposuction is often used to refine the transition zones of the abdominal sculpture.
  5. A dressing and sometimes a compression garment are applied and any excess fluid from the site is drained.
abdominoplasty photo 2

Full abdominoplasty consisting of musculofascial plication abdominal dermal lipectomy, suction-assisted lipectomy of hips.

Partial abdominoplasty

A partial (or mini) abdominoplasty proceeds as follows:

  1. A smaller incision is made.
  2. The skin and fat of the lower abdomen are detached in a more limited fashion from the muscle fascia. The skin is stretched down and excess skin removed.
  3. Sometimes the belly button stalk is divided from the muscle below and the belly button slid down lower on the abdominal wall.
  4. Sometimes a portion of the abdominal muscle fascia wall is tightened.
  5. Liposuction is often used to contour the transition zone.
  6. The flap is stitched back into place.

Extended abdominoplasty

An extended abdominoplasty is a complete abdominoplasty plus a lateral thigh lift. The resulting scar runs from the posterior axillary line (when placing you open hands on your hips, the thumbs lie along the posterior axillary line.) The operation does all of the abdominal contouring of a complete abdominoplasty plus allows further improvement of the flank (waist), as well as smoothing the contour of the upper lateral thigh.

High lateral tension tummy tuck

This is an advanced technique that takes a little more than four and half hours to perform. Conventional abdominoplasty tightens muscles in a vertical line. In this new method, known as high lateral tension abdominoplasty, in addition to vertical-line tightening, muscles are tightened horizontally. The final result with this technique is a dramatically flat abdomen with significantly better-defined waistline.

Circumferential abdominoplasty

A circumferential abdominoplasty is an extended abdominoplasty plus a buttock lift. The resulting scar runs all the way around the body, and the operation is also called a Belt Lipectomy or Body Lift. This operation is most appropriate for patients who have undergone massive weight loss.


  • Depends on the problem to be treated, surgical technique(s), and other factors. Can take one to four weeks and patients are advised to take at least a portion of this recovery time off from work.
  • Heavy activity especially is best avoided during this time.
  • Initially there may be bruising and discomfort.
  • A supportive abdominal binder or compression garment can minimize swelling / bruising, and support the repaired tissues. This compression garment is also effective in helping the skin in the treated area conform to its new shape.
  • Patients are advised to avoid all forms of nicotine for a month or longer prior to surgery and also during the recovery period.
  • Full recovery takes 3 – 6 months, with further fading of scars thereafter. Scars may appear red and prominent at first, but with proper care, they heal into a thin, silvery line.
abdominoplasty photo 3

Abdominoplasty surgery is a cosmetic operation that is performed by a plastic surgeon to thin the abdominal region.

Although “tummy tucks” are considered [by whom?] safe procedures, as with any other type of surgery, different complications may arise. The majority of the risks can be avoided if the patients follow carefully the instructions they receive from their surgeon. The size of the scar depends on the amount of skin that has been cut off, the techniques used for the surgery, the surgeon’s skills, and the body’s ability to recover.[4] Although this scar will never become invisible, it is usually placed under the swimsuit line so it is covered by clothes. It normally takes nine months to a year before scars flatten out and lighten in color.