Tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that uses incisions in your abdomen to remove excess fat and skin and permanent sutures to restore weakened or separated muscles, creating an abdominal area that is smoother, firmer, and more toned.
At A Glance: Tummy Tuck
Also Known As
Inpatient or Outpatient
Typical Recovery Time
Several Months to a Year
Typical Price Range
Tell Me About The Surgery
Procedure Research and Consultation
How is a tummy tuck done?
In a full tummy tuck surgery, your surgeon will place horizontal incisions to remove most of the protruding skin and fat between your belly button and pubic area. Permanent sutures will be placed to tighten the fascia—connective tissue—around your abdomen. Once that’s done, your surgeon will readjust your skin around your belly button using another, much smaller, incision. Then your incisions will be closed.
What issue does a tummy tuck solve?
A tummy tuck removes loose, excess fat and skin in your abdomen and tightens the connective tissue, creating a thinner, better-defined abdominal area. This procedure can also remove stretch marks and excess skin in the lower abdomen, below the belly button.
Do I have options for anesthesia for abdominoplasty surgery?
General anesthesia is usually used for tummy tuck surgery.
How do I know if tummy tuck surgery is right for me?
You’re a good candidate for a tummy tuck if you are bothered by fat, loose skin, and stretch marks in your stomach area. The loose skin and fat can be caused by aging, heredity, pregnancy, weight changes, prior surgery, or fluctuations in weight.
How safe is tummy tuck surgery?
Tummy tuck is a common surgery with minimal risks, though there are some. If you’re a smoker, your surgeon might recommend that you stop at least during the time of your procedure because smoking can impede healing. You should also know that Hancock Regional Hospital has been rated one of the safest hospitals in America by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care watchdog organization; and was named the safest hospital in Indiana on the Lown Institute Hospital Index.
What are possible side effects and complications of tummy tuck surgery?
Some of the possible side effects and complications associated with tummy tuck surgery include infection; bleeding; anesthesia risks; fluid accumulation; poor wound healing; skin loss; deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot deep in a vein); asymmetry; damage to fatty tissue found deep in the skin; numbness in the abdominal area; skin discoloration; prolonged swelling; unexpected scarring; pain; and the possibility of revisional surgery.
What are the possible side effects of general anesthesia?
Some of the possible side effects of general anesthesia include nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, bruising (from the IV), itching, shivering and feeling cold, difficulty urinating, and sleepiness. In older patients, memory loss and temporary confusion are possible.
What are the alternatives to tummy tuck surgery?
Alternatives to tummy tuck surgery include exercise and weight loss; a mini tummy tuck, which is less invasive surgery that removes a small amount of skin; liposuction; using cold temperature to freeze pockets of fat; and using using high-intensity electromagnetic energy to contract and tone the abdominal muscles.
What kind of outcome is typical for tummy tuck surgery?
A tummy tuck is likely to reduce the protruding fat and skin in your abdominal area.
Consultation and Choosing A Surgeon or Surgical Team
Do I need a referral to see a surgeon about abdominoplasty surgery?
You don’t need a referral to see a plastic surgeon.
What should I bring to my first appointment with a surgeon about a tummy tuck?
Insurance informationMedical records, including your medical history, from your primary care physicianA list of your surgical goals and photos of the look you want to achieveThe most recent diagnostic labs and imaging (Not sure where to go? Check out Gateway Hancock Health, where you’ll be able to get in and out quickly and pay, on average, 70% less than you’ll pay at a hospital.)You should be prepared for your surgeon to measure you and take photographs of your abdominal area
Do I have to get a second or third opinion for abdominoplasty surgery?
You can always get a second or third opinion, but it isn’t required.
How should I decide which surgeon’s advice to follow?
You should work with the surgeon with whom you feel comfortable, whether that’s one of our surgeons or not.
Will the surgical team know my health history?
Your health history will be compiled and available to the team before, during, and after surgery. If you’re a Hancock Health patient, we will be able to access your records within our system. If you aren’t, we’ll work with your doctors to get the necessary information.
Why might I have to wait to schedule a tummy tuck?
In some cases it takes time for a patient’s body to be ready for surgery. For example, if you have another medical issue including another surgical procedure or an illness, we might wait to schedule surgery. Your health and safety are our top priorities, so we schedule surgeries when they’re best for our patients. If you smoke, it may be necessary for you to stop and wait for a period of time before your procedure, as smoking can impede the healing process.
Insurance & Cost
How much does a tummy tuck cost?
Consult the Price Transparency Tool at HancockRegionalHospital.org for an idea of how much tummy tuck surgery might cost.
Will insurance cover a tummy tuck?
Because tummy tuck surgery is a cosmetic surgical procedure, it probably won’t be covered by medical insurance unless it can be connected to a medically necessary, therapeutic benefit. To obtain your possible out-of-pocket expenses, use our Price Estimator Tool.
Will Medicare cover a tummy tuck?
Because it’s typically elective cosmetic surgery, Medicare will usually not cover a tummy tuck unless it has been deemed medically necessary.
What are payment options like for tummy tuck surgery at Hancock Health?
Hancock Health is committed to helping make great care affordable for all patients. To find out more about payment options, please visit the billing and insurance FAQ page at HancockRegionalHospital.org.
Pre-op and Day of Surgery
How should I prepare for a tummy tuck?
Prior to your procedure, you may be asked to get lab tests and a medical evaluation. (Not sure where to go to get your lab tests? Check out Gateway Hancock Health, where you’ll be able to get in and out quickly and pay, on average, 70% less than you’ll pay at a hospital.) If you smoke, you’ll probably be asked to stop for several weeks or months, and you’ll also likely be instructed not to take aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements because they can increase bleeding. Your surgeon will also likely tell you not to eat anything after midnight on the day of your surgeries.
Why can’t I eat before surgery?
There’s a risk of aspiration, which means breathing foreign objects, like food or saliva, into your lungs. This can occur because the anaesthetic for surgery can impair your body’s ability to stop the contents of your stomach from entering your lungs.
What should I expect right before tummy tuck surgery?
You’ll arrive two hours before your surgery and be escorted to the preoperative waiting area.You’ll remove all of your clothing and jewelry, and put on a hospital gown. (Your valuables will be placed in a secure area or may be given to a family member.) You’ll sign any necessary paperwork and a preoperative nurse will take your vital signs, review your medications, and answer any questions.You’ll meet the members of your surgery team. They will mark the location of your surgery on your body. An I.V. (intravenous line) will be placed in your hand or arm, so medications—including general anesthesia—can be administered. When it’s time for your surgery, you will be wheeled into the operating suite on a stretcher.
Will I need someone to take me home after tummy tuck surgery?
Whether or not you stay in the hospital following your tummy tuck, you will need someone to drive you home when you are released. We’ll help you arrange a ride home if you don’t have one.
Why are there so many people on my surgery team?
In addition to the surgeon, you have an anesthesiologist, nurses—some of them specialize in working with patients and others assist the surgeon—and support staff, who will check you in and out, compile your records, and more. They all work together, performing their individual jobs, so your procedure is as successful as possible.
Why am I asked for my name and date of birth every time I get medicine?
It’s a safety precaution to make sure you’re receiving the medication that’s prescribed for you.
What do I need to bring to the hospital the day of my tummy tuck?
You should bring the items you’ll need for a two-day hospital stay including your robe and slippers, toiletries, glasses, loose clothing, and something to keep you entertained—possibly reading material and your headphones. A neck pillow and portable charger for your phone can come in handy, too. If you are released to go home following your procedure, you’ll still need comfortable, loose clothing. You might also need a bottle of water, crackers, and a pillow and blanket for the ride home.
How long does it take the anesthesia to wear off?
It takes about an hour for general anesthesia to wear off, but you may notice the effects for a day or so.
What will happen during tummy tuck surgery?
As you are anesthetized and breathing oxygen through a mask, your surgeon will make incisions in your abdomen and then remove excess fat, tissue, and skin. Your surgeon will also place permanent sutures around your connective tissue in the area and readjust the skin around your belly button using another, smaller incision. Then your incisions are closed using sutures, skin adhesives, tapes, or clips.
When will my family be informed about how I’m doing?
Our associates will get information from the surgical team in the operating room during your surgery and keep them updated.
How long does a tummy tuck take?
A tummy tuck typically takes one to five hours.
How long will I be under for abdominoplasty?
You will be anesthetized during the entire surgery, and you’ll wake up soon after the procedure is complete.
How long will I be in the hospital after tummy tuck surgery?
You might be released to go home that same day or stay in the hospital for one or two days.
What can I expect right after tummy tuck surgery?
You’ll spend an hour or two in the recovery room as the anesthesia wears off and then you’ll either be released to go home or moved to your hospital room.
How will I know if the tummy tuck worked?
Your surgeon will discuss your procedure with you but, in the long run, you’ll decide if your procedure worked. If you are pleased with the results and you feel better and more confident, then your procedure is a success.
When will I get to talk to my surgeon after surgery?
You’ll be able to talk to your surgeon immediately after your procedure, while you’re in the recovery room.
How soon after tummy tuck surgery will I be up and moving around?
Your nurses will help you get up as soon as possible after surgery.
Will I receive pain medication right after surgery?
You will receive pain medication immediately after tummy tuck surgery.
How soon after tummy tuck surgery can I eat or drink?
You might not be able to eat or drink right away and you might be asked to follow a clear fluid diet for a short time. After that, you’ll probably be able to return to solid foods—but easy-to-digest items, including soups, pudding, and yogurt, may be recommended for a period following surgery.
Will I need to fill any prescriptions or take medication after my tummy tuck surgery?
You may receive prescriptions for pain, antibiotics, and anticoagulants. You might also be prescribed a topical cream to apply around your incision site. Over-the-counter pain medication can also minimize discomfort from the procedure.
Recovery and Follow-Up
How should I prepare for my at-home recovery?
Ask someone to spend a few days after the surgery at home with you—especially if you live alone. Prepare to take it easy for a week or more—compile reading material or a list of movies or television shows you’d like to watch. You’ll be instructed to avoid straining, bending, or lifting for two to three weeks.Know that you’ll have drains under your skin for a few days. They will remove any excess blood or fluid.Prepare to be asked to wait for 48 hours after your drains are removed to shower. You may take sponge baths until then, however. (You’ll be advised not to take a bath or soak in a hot tub for about a month.)Shop for groceries before your procedure and have lots of hydrating liquids and healthy foods, full of fiber and protein, on hand. Have dark towels and clothing available. They’ll absorb any leaking fluid.Prepare to wear an abdominal binder for about six weeks following the procedure.Expect to be sore for a few weeks. Prepare to sleep on your back with your upper body slightly elevated, which will help reduce swelling. (Sleeping in a recliner or with a stack of pillows is recommended.)
Will I need any follow-up appointments or procedures after tummy tuck surgery?
Your first follow-up visit will be about a week after your surgery. Depending on your individual needs, additional follow-up appointments might be at two and six weeks, and three months after the procedure.
Will there be any scarring or stitches to remove after a tummy tuck?
You can expect to have some scarring, which will fade over time, at your surgical sites. Your drains and any sutures that aren’t dissolvable will likely be removed at your first postoperative appointment.
How do I care for my incision at home?
Check with your surgeon on the timing of your first shower following the procedure. You will likely have to wait a few days. (But you can take sponge baths.) When you are able to shower, face away from the shower spray. Don’t scrub the incision area. Just run soap and water over it.After showering, gently dry the incision areas with a clean towel.Wear the abdominal binder until your surgeon instructs you otherwise.Wear loose-fitting clothing.Expect some drainage from the surgical site.Keep your surgical tape in place—you might be instructed to clean around it with small amounts of hydrogen peroxide.Avoid removing the steri-strips or skin glue over your incisions. These will disappear with time. If you have stitches, keep them as clean and dry and possible—they will either dissolve or your surgeon will decide when to remove them. Sleep with your head and chest slightly elevated above the level of your lower body—this will help with swelling. Stay well hydrated. Take short walks each day but don’t return to an exercise routine until your care team approves it.Avoid sexual activity for three to four weeks.
What should I do if I have an emergency or accident after tummy tuck surgery?
Call your surgeon’s office, and, if you’re in need of immediate emergency services, go to the nearest emergency room.
When will I be able to get back to work after tummy tuck surgery?
You will be able to return to work in about two weeks, but you should avoid strenuous activity for at least six weeks.
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