A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a cosmetic surgery procedure that removes excess fat and skin from the abdomen to create a firmer, flatter midsection.

  • Types of Tummy Tucks

    There are three main types of tummy tucks: mini tummy tucks, full (or classic) tummy tucks, and extended tummy tucks.

    Mini Tummy Tucks

    Mini tummy tucks involve a single incision just above the pubic area where your surgeon will tighten loose muscles and remove excess skin. 

    Since mini tummy tucks only use one incision and are less involved than other types of tummy tucks, recovery is typically quick and scarring is usually limited. 

    Is a mini tummy tuck right for me?

    Mini tummy tucks may be a good choice for people who :

    • Have loose skin or stretch marks below the belly button
    • Have a small“pooch”
    • Don’t want a long recovery time 
    • Are concerned with noticeable scarring

    Full Tummy Tucks

    Full tummy tucks (also referred to as classic tummy tucks) address the full length of the abdomen and typically involve a u-shaped or horizontal incision above the pubic area. 

    During a full tummy tuck, your surgeon will remove excess skin and tighten the abdominal muscles above and below the belly button. 

    Is a full tummy tuck right for me?

    Full tummy tucks may be a good choice for people who:

    • Have loose skin or stretch marks below and above the belly button
    • Have a large “pooch”
    • Don’t mind a longer recovery time
    • Aren’t concerned with a noticeable scar

    Extended Tummy Tuck

    Extended tummy tucks involve a longer incision to tighten the abdominal wall and remove excess skin from the:

    • Upper abdomen
    • Lower abdomen
    • Flanks

    Is an extended tummy tuck right for me?

    Extended tummy tucks may be a good choice for people who have lost a lot of weight and have excess, sagging skin as a result. 

    Extended tummy tucks may also be a good choice for women who have had multiple pregnancies that have overstretched the abdomen muscles. 

  • What to Expect

    According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, “The majority of tummy tucks can be performed as outpatient procedures, and patients go home a few hours after surgery. However, your cosmetic surgeon may require an overnight hospital stay after a more extensive tummy tuck so you can be safely monitored during the initial hours of your recovery.”

  • Average Cost of a Tummy Tuck

    The average cost of a tummy tuck is $6,253, according to 2018 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

    Specific pricing can vary based on where you live, the type of tummy tuck you get, and the surgeon you choose

  • Preparing For Your Procedure

    During your consultation, your surgeon should walk you through how to prepare for your tummy tuck surgery. Some common things you may be asked to do to prepare include:

    • Stop smoking
    • Get a medical evaluation or lab testing
    • Avoid anti-inflammatory drugs and supplements that can increase bleeding
    • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • During the Procedure

    A tummy tuck can be done in a hospital or an outpatient surgical facility. During your tummy tuck, you will be under general anesthesia, which means you will be fully unconscious and unable to feel anything.

    Anesthesia drugs may be inhaled or administered intravenously by an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist. 

    Once you are sedated, your surgeon will make an incision between the pubic area and belly button. It is through this incision that your surgeon will pull down the excess skin and trim it before suturing the incision back together.

  • Possible Risks and Complications

    Before deciding on tummy tuck surgery, you should be aware of the risks and complications associated with the procedure. Your surgeon should have an in depth conversation about your risks and possible complications of the surgery prior to the procedure. 

    Some common complications associated with tummy tuck surgery include:

    • Infection
    • Excessive bleeding
    • Skin loss
    • Wounds that won’t heal
    • Pain
    • Scarring
    • Skin discoloration
    • Numbness
    • Deep vein thrombosis
    • Anesthesia complications
  • Recovery

    Recovery time will vary depending on the extent of the surgery. For instance, a mini tummy tuck will typically require a shorter recovery time than an extended tummy tuck.


    The key to a healthy and fast recovery is carefully following your surgeon’s aftercare instructions. Prior to your surgery, your doctor or provider should tell you:

    • How to properly care for incisions, dressings, and drain tubes
    • How long to wear the abdominal pressure garment
    • Physical activities to avoid, and for how long
    • What to eat and any foods to avoid
    • When to see your surgeon again
  • Tummy Tuck Alternatives

    With advances in technology, you may not even have to go under the knife to get the flat stomach you want. Two popular alternatives to tummy tucks include body contouring procedures called ThermaLipo and CoolSculpting.

    ThermaLipo uses radiofrequency technology to contour the body – no major incisions or stitches required.

    CoolSculpting freezes and destroys fat cells, resulting in a flatter more toned appearance. And like ThermaLipo, there are no incisions or stitches to contend with, and many people remain awake and comfortable throughout the procedure.

    Reasons you may choose ThermaLipo or CoolSculpting over a tummy tuck include:

    • Shorter treatment time. ThermaLipo and CoolSculpting are outpatient procedures that usually take just an hour or two to complete
    • No general anesthesia. During ThermaLipo, your doctor will numb the treatment area only, and you will not be asleep during the procedure. CoolSculpting requires no anesthesia or needles at all.

    Shorter recovery time. Since ThermaLipo and CoolSculpting procedures do not involve serious incisions, recovery time is typically shorter.