Abdominoplasty procedure steps

Abdominoplasty procedure steps

23rd Jan 2018

Abdominoplasty is one of the most complex plastic surgery procedures. It is a lengthy intervention and the results are more visible and significant.

The tummy tuck surgery is known to be able to improve the aspect of the abdominal area considerably by eliminating excess skin, fat tissue, and even stretch marks that are situated under the belly button. A protruding belly is the result of lax abdominal muscles and loose, sagging skin, which is a common issue that many patients want to address.

Abdominoplasty is not a procedure that rids the excess weight of a patient. The tummy tuck is not a weight loss method, but a procedure designed to help people who used to be overweight or obese to improve the aspect of their body even further.

Considerations before the tummy tuck surgery

If you are researching about tummy tuck because you are trying to find out if you are a good candidate for the procedure, then you should know that this intervention is not recommended for women who desire to have more children in the future. The reason for this is quite simple: during pregnancy, a distention of the abdominal muscles can occur, also creating excess skin due to the inability of the skin to retract after the stretching that occurred during pregnancy. In other words, the results of your tummy tuck can be compromised by another pregnancy. This is why it is important to talk about your plans with the plastic surgeon so he can suggest the best operative plan for your particular case.

When the patient is confronted with an excessive adipose tissue on the belly, the plastic surgeon might recommend a liposuction procedure instead of an abdominoplasty. This recommendation is mostly for patients with good skin quality and who have never had children before.

At the same time, the recommended intervention might be a mix of abdominal liposuction and abdominoplasty. The liposuction is performed on the upper part of the abdomen and provides impressive results in combination with a tummy tuck.

Before the tummy tuck procedure, patients are advised to keep a healthy and balanced diet and should avoid drastic eating regimens. Having a diet low in calories and proteins right before plastic surgery can upset the metabolism and might affect the body’s healing abilities.

The surgery can take anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours. Usually, the patient is required to spend the night in the medical facility where the procedure is performed. The plastic surgeon will recommend that the thighs be mildly flexed to reduce the tension in the abdominal area. An elastic girdle is also mandatory to wear after the surgery to help sustain the stomach muscles and help the skin retract to the new contours of the body. The girdle should be worn for at least two weeks, depending on your surgeon’s recommendations. Wearing the compressive garment is essential for the success of the surgery and a fast and uneventful recovery process.

Work can be resumed within one to two weeks after the surgery. Six weeks after the procedure, the patient can resume easy physical exercises to improve the tonus of the muscles.

Why choose a tummy tuck surgery?

The reasons to undergo tummy tuck can be numerous, diverse and most importantly, personal. Some patients consider the procedure because their abdominal area has been negatively impacted by multiple pregnancies, bariatric surgery, or massive weight fluctuations. However, it is important to keep in mind that any of these causes that have triggered the need for a tummy tuck intervention might affect the results of the surgery in case they occur again after the procedure. Any major physical change such as weight gain, weight loss, or a future pregnancy will affect the aspect of the abdomen even after undergoing a tummy tuck. Going under the knife is not in itself a guarantee that your abdomen will look perfect forever. Right nutritional habits and an active lifestyle are required to maintain the results of your tummy tuck intervention.

The tummy tuck procedure is designed to help patients get rid of the excess skin and adipose tissue on the belly. If the patient suffers from excess weight before the surgery, it is recommended to lose the weight and maintain a normal weight for at least six months before considering the tummy tuck surgery.

Steps involved

It is important for many patients to know exactly what will happen during surgery. A good plastic surgeon should walk you through all the steps and details before scheduling the intervention.

The tummy tuck has the role of tightening loose abdominal muscles to eliminate excess skin and fat on the tummy. Depending on the desire of the patient and the amount of skin and fat tissue to be removed, the plastic surgeon might recommend one of these procedures:

– The mini tummy tuck

– The full tummy tuck

– The extended tummy tuck

The difference between these procedures in terms of operative steps is related to the length of the incision and the area targeted. A smaller incision is performed during the mini tummy tuck, but is only recommended for people with a small amount of fat and skin tissue to be removed. If there is plenty of sagging skin, the plastic surgeon will suggest a full tummy tuck that requires an incision going from hip to hip in the supra pubic area. The extended tummy tuck is a good option for patients confronted with significant sagging skin and adipose tissue not only on the stomach but also on the sides of the body.

The tummy tuck procedure can be performed by itself, and this is what we call a traditional tummy tuck. When performing an hourglass tummy tuck, which is a modern and more advanced procedure, the patient will enjoy not only having a flatter tummy after the surgery, but also a curvier, more appealing hourglass shape. If you look at before and after pictures of the traditional tummy tuck, you will notice that the results are dependent on the initial anatomy of the patient. If the patient doesn’t have a nice, curvy shape before the procedure, the traditional tummy tuck would leave her with a rectangular figure. The abdomen will be flatter, the abdominal muscles tightened, but the aesthetic result will not be as stunning. The hourglass tummy tuck combines the traditional tummy tuck technique with liposuction and fat transfer to the hips for more impressive results and a significant improvement in the body’s shape.

Before the surgery, the plastic surgeon will perform tests on the target areas. He will assess the condition of the abdominal muscles, the skin condition, and the structure of the belly button. If there are scars left by anterior surgical interventions, the plastic surgeon will see if they can be removed during surgery.

The procedure starts with the surgeon performing a horizontal incision on the lower part of the abdomen. The location of the incision is chosen so it can be easily hidden by underwear. The scar will become less and less visible during the first year after surgery, and it will barely be noticeable once it has fully healed and matured.

During the surgery, the patient will be under general anesthesia. This is why it is advised that you spend the night in the medical facility so you can fully recover from the anesthesia. When the surgery is complete, the elastic girdle will be put on and the patient will required to wear it non-stop for at least 14 days after the surgery.


Knowing what to expect during surgery is important to build trust in your plastic surgeon. This is why it is essential to ask him to give you all the necessary details about abdominoplasty. The tummy tuck surgery can improve both the aspect of your body and also your self-esteem, but only if it brings satisfactory results.

We always recommend patients to choose an experienced plastic surgeon who also has a good aesthetic sense. Also make sure to discuss with him what to expect from the surgery.

Share this article: