Should I Have a Tummy Tuck? Quick Facts About Abdominoplasty Surgery

Tummy tuck surgery is one of the most popular aesthetic procedures, with nearly 100,000 of these surgeries completed in the US in 2020 alone. Also known as abdominoplasty, this cosmetic treatment aims to achieve a firm and flat abdomen. It is a procedure of choice for countless men who have struggled with a loose belly, and women who are looking to correct adverse abdominal changes resulting from pregnancy or weight fluctuations. If you are wondering whether you should have this procedure, there are certain things to put in mind so you make an informed choice.

You need to be in good health before you can have a tummy tuck

Plastic surgeons usually ask that patients are in good mental and physical health before they can be considered to be ideal candidates for abdominoplasty surgery. Following your initial consultation with your plastic surgeon, you will be asked to take a few tests to ascertain your health status. Another common requirement is that you attain a stable weight before you can qualify for this cosmetic procedure. The benchmark here is to be within 10-15 pounds of your ideal weight goal. This is important because weight fluctuations can stretch abdominal muscles that have already been strengthened, necessitating a revision procedure.

You can choose from different types of tummy tuck

Plastic surgeons have various types of tummy tuck procedures that they can use to achieve the goals of your surgery. These include:

  • Mini tummy tuck – this is the most basic and least invasive type of tummy tuck that only addresses mild bulging in the lower abdomen. Your plastic surgeon will create a horizontal incision above the pubic line and use it to remove excess fat and skin, as well as strengthen weakened abdominal muscles. Because this type of abdominoplasty is minimalistic in nature, it leads to less scarring and faster recovery duration.
  • Full tummy tuck – a full tummy tuck – also known as a standard tummy tuck – is the most common type of abdominoplasty. This procedure addresses aesthetic issues in both the lower and upper abdomen areas. Your plastic surgeon will create a horizontal scar above the pubic line, and another one around the navel and use them to make the desired changes. This type of tummy tuck requires a longer recovery duration and leads to more scarring compared to a mini tummy tuck.
  • Extended tummy tuck – this is the most comprehensive type of tummy tuck available. Plastic surgeons address the entire midsection including the upper and lower abdomen, the hips, and the flanks. It results in a total transformation of the entire midsection but then leads to more scarring and a longer duration for recovery.

A tummy tuck will leave a permanent scar

Scarring is one of the most common concerns people have before considering plastic surgery. Just like any other surgery where a cut is made, a tummy tuck leaves one or more scars in the abdominal region. While this scar can be expected to fade over time, it will remain visible for years to come. Most plastic surgeons overcome this concern by working to minimize scarring and conceal them along the natural folds of the pubic area.

You’ll need to take some time off work

Because a tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure, you will need to set off time for recovery. Most plastic surgeons recommend that you take 2-3 weeks off work. This is not the time to juggle between work emails. You’ll most certainly be feeling tired and sore. Make sure you have someone to help out with basic chores. It is not uncommon to experience pain but this goes away after the first few days. You should have set up a recovery area with books, magazines, movies, or whatever other forms of entertainment that work for you. You will be able to resume normal activities after this 2-to-3-week duration, but you’ll need at least 5 more weeks before you can engage in strenuous exercises.

Abdominoplasty is not covered by insurance

Health insurance typically does not pay for abdominoplasty or most other procedures that are not considered to be a medical necessity. It is thus important that you are familiar with the cost of this procedure. The typical cost of abdominoplasty surgery varies from $5,000 to $15,000 based on the extensiveness of the procedure. Your plastic surgeon should be able to provide an individualized cost breakdown following your initial consultation.

It may take up to a year before full healing

It is important to keep in mind that the benefits of your tummy tuck will not be fully noticeable. Most patients experience itching, redness, and swelling over the first few weeks. While these symptoms will eventually resolve, residual swelling can linger on for months. All in all, it may be up to a year before you can see the final outcome of your abdominoplasty surgery.


The points above should help you learn more about what a tummy tuck entails so you can make a more informed decision.