Abdominoplasty (Tummy tuck)

tummy tuck,abdominoplasty picture for K. Roxanne Grawe MD,female plastic surgeonAn Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck is a great way to have the stomach you have always dreamed of. After having children or losing a large amount of weight, your abdomen has excess skin – and no matter what you do, you can't get rid of it! Sometimes your muscles are stretched apart too. Dieting will help you lose weight and working out will make your muscles tighter but only a tummy tuck will make your skin tight, bring your muscles back to the middle and get rid of cellulite and stretch marks!

Aspire to be…..great looking in your bathing suit!


Consultation and Planning:

When you come to a consultation at ROXY Plastic Surgery, Dr. Grawe will examine you to help you decide what operation is best for you. Liposuction may be what you need to remove excess fatty tissue from your abdomen or sides or a tummy tuck may be recommended to remove excess skin and tighten the muscles. See the section on liposuction for more information. An abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) can also be added as a part of your Mommy Make-over. At ROXY Plastic Surgery, we will tailor-make a plan just for you!

The Surgery:

Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck Surgery is an outpatient operation, which means you can go home the same day. It takes about 2 hours to complete and you will be completely asleep so you won't feel or remember anything. A scar will be made a little lower than a c-section scar and will go from hip to hip – this is easily hidden by most panties and bathing-suits. The abdominal muscles (Rectus Abdominus) are tightened at the center and the excess skin, fatty tissue, and stretch marks are removed. The stitches are all dissolvable and placed underneath the skin. Then the scar is covered with special tape to improve healing. You are ready to go home about an hour later!


You will notice a difference immediately after surgery but you will be very swollen and the results will improve with time as the swelling goes down.

You should not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for at least 2 weeks after surgery. You should walk around immediately after surgery and NOT stay in bed. This is important to prevent blood clots. You may remove your outer dressing and shower 48 hours after surgery. You should eat a healthy diet and as much protein as possible to promote good healing.

You will walk a little bent over at first but by the end of the first week, you should be standing straight up like normal so you don’t strain your back.

You may drive and return to work when you are no long taking prescription pain medicine.  Most people are able to return to a light duty job 2-4 weeks after surgery.

Remember that everyone is different.  Recovery times and progression is not the same for everyone.  The times stated are typical for healthy individuals healing from this surgery. The normal progression of healing may be different for those with health problems, smokers, and those who have unforeseen complications after surgery.


With every surgery there are risks involved including bleeding, infection, blood clots, pain, scarring, delayed healing and need for further surgery. Here are some complications specific to Tummy Tuck:

  • Wound healing problems: If an area of the abdominal skin does not heal normally, you may develop a wound which requires dressing changes and takes longer than normal to heal.
  • Asymmetry: Most people are not symmetrical from one side to the other and there may be asymmetries after surgery as well.
  • Scarring: A tummy tuck scar goes from hip to hip but is very low like a C-section scar. This can be covered by most types of panties or bathing suits. There may be a scar that looks worse than normal and additional treatments can be done to improve the result.
  • Blood Clots: All surgery may put you at risk for blood clots in your legs and abdominoplasty does have a risk of this problem as well. There are measures taken during and after surgery to avoid this risk.

by Roxanne Grawe

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the recovery time?

 You cannot lift anything heavy (over 5 pounds) for 2 weeks after surgery - this is a bleeding risk.  Most patients can go back to a light duty job 1-2 weeks after Abdominoplasty.  You can drive as soon as you are not taking narcotics and can be safe by being able to swerve.  The final results will improve over months.

Should I loose weight before I have a Tummy tuck?

 If you are planing on loosing over 50 pounds in the immediate future, you should reach your weight goal and then have your tummy tuck.  Otherwise, I believe most people go up and down 5-15 pounds their whole life.  If you have no immediate plans, you may benefit from abdominoplasty because it makes such a noticeable difference and often motivates patients to reach their weight goals.

What happens if I get pregnant after a Tummy tuck?

You can still get pregnant after a tummy tuck and it wont cause any harm to you or your baby.  But, it will alter your results.  Dr. Grawe will tighten your abdominal muscles during the Abdominoplasty and this will get stretched out again for your pregnancy.  It is hard to know if your skin will stretch out again or if you will get stretch marks as each pregnancy is different.  If you have immediate plans to get pregnant, you should wait until you are finished having children.  If you have no immediate plans and you just think you may get pregnant one day, you might like having a tummy tuck and enjoying your new fantastic body for that unknown amount of time!

What will my scars be like?

 You will have a scar that goes hip to hip but is very low in your hairline which can be covered by undergarments and bathing suits.  If you have excess skin that goes beyond your hips, you may want a longer scar to remove that excess skin in that area.  

How do I know if I need a Tummy Tuck or Liposuction?

 If you have excess skin or stretch marks you want removed, then you will need an Abdominoplasty.  If your skin is tight but you have excess fat, then you will want liposuction to smooth this area out.  Many patients get liposuction of their flanks (love handles) with a tummy tuck to get rid of excess fat on the sides and make their waist smaller with a better hour glass shape.

What kind of anesthesia do you use for a Tummy Tuck?

 I prefer and use general anesthesia.  You will be completely asleep so you don't feel or remember anything.  The other benefit is that your muscles will be totally relaxed which allows for a tighter repair.

How do you avoid post operative nausea?

 We have many options to decrease nausea during Abdominoplasty.  While you are asleep, you will get IV medications to help decrease your nausea.  If you are really prone to nausea with surgery, we will give you a patch to wear behind your ear to prevent nausea as well.  Finally, Dr. Grawe will prescribe you Zofran which is a dissolveable tab that you will have at home for after surgery, just in case.

Should I be on a special diet pre-op or post-op to have better healing?

 Dr. Grawe likes all her patients to be on a high protein diet before and after surgery.  The goal is to get 100 grams per day.  This allows your body to be ready to heal quickly.  It is also important to take a daily vitamin.  The worse thing to do is to be on a crash diet before your surgery which depletes your body of important nutrients which help with healing.

When can I start working out after a Tummy Tuck?

 You can walk immediately after a Tummy Tuck and this is encouraged to avoid blood clots in your legs (DVT).  You can start working out about 1/2 speed of what you used to do after 2 weeks and move up to most everything by 6 weeks.  You do not want to stress your abdominal muscle plication (tightening the muscles below your skin at the midline) until 6 weeks after surgery - this means no sit-ups until 6 weeks after surgery.  

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