Tummy Tuck: Cost, Risks, Recovery

Overview

A tummy tuck, also named abdominoplasty, is a plastic surgery aimed at removing excess fat and skin and restores weakened muscles to create a smoother, firmer abdominal profile. Pregnancy or significant changes in your weight can stretch out the skin that surrounds your stomach. A tummy tuck can be used to restore the look of a flat and contoured midsection.

Candidates

Candidates for a tummy tuck should be at a stable weight and in good health. You should think twice about this surgery when:

  • Your body mass index is over 30
  • You’re considering getting pregnant in the future
  • You’re actively trying to lose weight
  • You have a chronic heart condition

Cost

According to data, the average cost of a tummy tuck in 2018 is $6,253. Many factors may affect cost, including the difficulty of your procedure, the experience level of the surgeon, and any additional costs like the operating room, anesthesia, and post-op appointments or garments.

Risks

A tummy tuck poses various risks, including:

  • Scarring
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Bruising
  • Swelling and pain
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Overall tiredness
  • Numbness or changes in skin sensation
  • Fluid accumulation beneath the skin
  • Tissue necrosis
  • Poor wound healing

Preparation

During your first consultation, your surgeon will review your medical history, do a physical exam on you and discuss your expectations with you. Before the surgery, he or she will also ask you to:

  • Stop smoking at least 2 weeks before the procedure
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding
  • Maintain a stable weight
  • Take an anticoagulant to prevent blood clotting shortly before your tummy tuck
  • Arrange for help during recovery

Surgical steps

Typically, a tummy tuck takes about three hours. During the surgery, your surgeon will follow these steps:

  • Anesthesia for your comfort, including intravenous sedation and general anesthesia
  • Making the incision

A full tummy tuck requires a horizontally oriented incision in the area between the pubic hairline and belly button. Once the abdominal skin is lifted, the underlying weakened abdominal muscles are repaired. A second incision around the navel may be necessary to remove excess skin in the upper abdomen.

  • Closing the incisions with sutures, skin adhesives, tapes or clips
  • Waiting to see the result, which may result in a flatter, firmer abdominal contour that is more proportionate with your body type and weight

Recovery

After the surgery, your incision will be covered in surgical dressing, which will need to be changed several times. Your surgeon will also provide you with a compression garment or “belly binder.” Within one day, you should be up and walking to prevent the formation of blood clots.

You’ll likely feel moderate pain, which will be controlled by pain medication. It’s normal to have swelling in the surgical area for about six weeks. In some cases, swelling might take up to three months to resolve. Drains might be left in place for several days after surgery.

You will have to limit strenuous activity for at least six weeks. You may need to take up to one month off work after the surgery to ensure proper recovery.


Keyword: tummy tuck.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.