As we age, our mid-section can be a challenge. Most of us know that as we get older, our stomach is where we tend to gain our weight. Pregnancy, weight changes, genetics and more can also affect this area. For many, a tummy tuck (or "abdominoplasty") is a good option.

Tummy tuck surgery can reshape your midsection. It can improve stretched abdominal tissue, stretch marks, and muscle laxity. The result is a slimmer and tighter abdomen.

Many techniques are possible with a tummy tuck:

  • Liposuction can remove excess fat
  • Removal or tightening of loose or sagging skin
  • Repairing weak or separated muscles
  • Various body contouring techniques are options

The incision will vary depending on anatomy and desired results. One typical incision is horizontal at the pubic hairline, extending towards each hip. A second incision near the navel may be necessary for skin removal. In some cases, liposuction alone may be a good option. Your surgeon will tailor the recommendations to your goals.

There are varying degrees of tummy tucks, such as:

  • Full – This addresses the entire abdomen. Your surgeon will remove excess skin and may reposition the belly button. Your surgeon may tighten your muscles, and may use liposuction to remove excess fat.
  • Mini – For those who may not need the full abdominoplasty, a mini tummy tuck is an option. This focuses on the area below the belly button and down to the lower abdomen. This option does not reposition the belly button.
  • Extended – This is also called a circumferential lower body lift. An extended tummy tuck addresses the entire abdomen as well as the lower back and hip area.

Recovery

Based on what kind of tummy tuck you receive; your recovery time will vary. Generally, you can expect recovery to be between two and four weeks. Bandages will cover your incisions. You may have a bandage or other wrap to reduce swelling and aid in healing. Small tubes may be under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid. Finally, your surgeon will explain:

  • How to care for the surgical site and drains
  • Medications to apply or take
  • Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site