Tummy Tuck FAQ

By Dr. Rosenblatt

How do I know if I need a tummy tuck or just liposuction?

If you have had children and your abdominal skin is stretched, or you have lost a lot of weight, you probably need a tummy tuck to remove the excess skin and tighten the abdominal muscles. At the same time, love handles can be suctioned to improve your total abdominal appearance. If you have an excess roll of skin and abdominal fat, sometimes liposuction and just removal of the roll (the pannus) will give you a much improved look without a full tummy tuck.

Am I a good candidate for an abdominoplasty?

A great candidate for an abdominoplasty has a normal BMI (body mass index). Even if you are a little overweight (a BMI of 30), you may be a candidate. Most people with a BMI over 30 should first achieve some weight loss through diet and exercise in order for your expectations to be met with liposuction.
Click here to access this simple BMI calculator to help you determine if your BMI is >30 and if you need to consider diet and exercise as a first step to a healthier, more beautiful you.

What is corrected by an abdominoplasty?

This surgery is designed to get rid of all of the excess skin between your pubis and belly button. It also tightens you abdominal muscles, which are usually stretched out after pregnancies.

How about stretch marks?

The stretch marks or “striae” between your pubis and belly button will be removed; those above the belly button will be moved down but will remain.

What is the scar like?

I try to keep the scar as low and as short as possible. It will be in your bikini line. There is also a scar around your belly button when it is re-inset. In the beginning, the scars are a thin red line; it takes the scar up to 2 years to fully mature.

What happens to my C-section scar or other abdominal scars?

I remove the C-section scar and replace it with the tummy tuck scar. If the other scars are below the belly button they may be removed.

Can I have liposuction at the same time?

Yes, I often suction the love handles and other areas at the same time.

Who is qualified to do a tummy tuck?

This is the most important question you can ask. A board-certified plastic surgeon with experience doing cosmetic surgery is ideal. Also, as this is often done as an outpatient procedure in a doctor’s office you want to know that they have the ability to bring you to their hospital if there is a problem. Make sure they have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Check your doctor’s qualifications. Make sure s(he) is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. To find out, go to: www.certificationmatters.org/is-your-doctor-board-certified/search-now.aspx. You will have to register, but it is free.

What kind of anesthesia do you use and where do you do the procedure?

For an abdominoplasty, I usually use general anesthesia. You can choose to have the procedure in Lenox Hill Hospital or Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital, or in my AAAASF-certified outpatient surgical operating facility. The latter option will be less expensive.

What is the recovery like?

I use a long acting local anesthetic that gives you pain relief for 2-3 days. You are also given pain medication to take by mouth. You will have a drain inserted to get rid of the excess fluid that can accumulate. We give you full instructions on how to use it; the drain is usually removed at your first postoperative visit. You rest at home and take it easy for 2-3 days. Some ambulation is good to keep your blood circulating. You will wear an abdominal binder over the area for about 3 weeks. Pain is usually minimal and discomfort is usually completely gone after a few days. You can usually return to work within 10-14 days.

When do I see the final result?

Within the first few weeks almost all of the swelling is usually gone. It may take up to a year or two for the scar to mature.