What Happens During Tummy Tuck Surgery?

The Tummy Tuck Process

Board Certified Birmingham plastic surgeon Dr. Ali has helped hundreds of men and women get the abdomen they desire with a “Tummy Tuck” or abdominoplasty. In this article he walks you through the Tummy Tuck process from start to finish, so you know what to expect.

How a Tummy Tuck is Done:

Every patient has uniquely different needs when it comes to a tummy tuck. In your initial consultation, your plastic surgeon should take a great deal of time to examine your abdominal area, listen to your goals and answer your questions.

A variety of techniques can be used, and will depend upon whether you have a lot or little loose, excess skin, loose abdomen muscles, or both. Together you will decide which type of tummy tuck is best for your needs (see different types of tummy tucks HERE).

Tummy Tuck Preparation

Before your tummy tuck procedure, pictures will be taken, and surgical markings will be made on your abdomen with a special marker. Then you will typically be taken to the operating or surgery room in a medical gurney.

Tummy Tuck Anesthesia

Tummy tucks are almost always performed under general anesthesia (sometimes called being “knocked out”). However, in some cases intravenous sedation may be used.

In cases of a tummy tuck involving suturing the muscles together to tighten them, the rectus abdominus muscle needs to be completely paralyzed – and so the patient must undergo general anesthesia.

Once you are fully asleep, your skin will be sterilized with a solution.

Tummy Tuck Incision

A full tummy tuck requires a long horizontal (lengthwise) incision in the area between the pubic hairline and belly button. It is typically made in the “bikini area” to minimize the visibility of any scars.

The shape and the length of the patient’s incision will be determined by the amount of excess skin that needs to be removed. In some case a second incision around the navel may be necessary, to also remove the excess skin from the upper abdomen.

Tummy Tuck Tightening

After the incision is made, if muscle tightening is needed, the skin is lifted to reveal the abdominal muscles. Dr. Ali will carefully “stitch” (suture) the muscles together to make them taut.

If there is excess or loose skin, it is trimmed off. Then the skin is pulled down to be tightened, like a window shade, and the skin is sutured together.

If necessary, a new opening for the navel may need to be created. The belly button is then “popped through” the hole to the surface, and held in place with stiches.

Tummy Tuck Closing the Incision(s)

Finally, the plastic surgeon will use sutures (“stitches”), and possibly skin adhesives, tapes or clips, to close the skin incisions.

On average, the tummy tuck should take between three to five hours to complete. The length of time will depend on which procedure you require, as well as how much skin must be removed, as well as how much muscle tightening is needed.

If other procedures are being performed at the same time, such as repairing an abdominal wall hernias, liposuction or breast procedures, the surgical process will take longer to complete.

After you are fully awake, you will be monitored for another hour or to. You will need someone to drive you home, and help care for you for at least the first few days. You will also be given specific aftercare instructions by your plastic surgeon which you must follow carefully, in order to heal properly, as well as prevent infection. The healing time and recovery process will depend upon which type of Tummy Tuck was performed.

Oakland County’s Best Tummy Tuck Surgeon

Birmingham board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ali has helped hundreds of women and men obtain the firm flat abdomen they have always desired with a Tummy Tuck. When you schedule a free consultation with Dr. Ali, he will answer all of your questions – and explain what to expect before, during and after a Tummy Tuck in your unique situation.

Call Dr. Ali for a Free Tummy Tuck Consultation: 248-335-7200