Tummy Tuck ( abdominoplasty) is a procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall as needed. It is performed in an outpatient setting at either Johns Hopkins Suburban Hospital in Bethesda Maryland, or INOVA Fairfax outpatient surgery center, in Falls Church, VA. In either case, it does NOT require an overnight hospital stay. Anesthesia is provided by the outpatient center to make your procedure comfortable and safe.
As we age, the abdominal muscles can become lax from lack of use or more typically from childbirth. These usually require tightening because they have been stretched and will not respond to exercise alone. In addition, more fat may be present than we would like. This is treated by liposuction at the same time or by actually removing the fat from the undersurface of the area using scissors. Excess skin is removed as necessary to provide a flat stomach. The umbilicus, the belly button, is left attached to the abdomen and brought up in its natural position.
The procedure takes anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3/12 hours to perform depending on how much work needs to be done. Postoperative pain is minimized by injecting the area with a long-acting anesthetic, bupivacaine, and/or by placing a “pain pump” that automatically releases small amounts of anesthetic in the area for several days. A drain is placed under the tissue for a few days to remove any unwanted serous fluid from the area to allow it to heal faster. The incision is placed low in the abdomen, so as to be covered by swimwear. It typically heals to a fine line.
Here is a patient’s before and after photos showing the early result. The incision line fades with time.
A video of a typical procedure can be found here along with more information.
WARNING: NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART! This is actual footage of an abdominoplasty procedure.
Most women experience a full recovery in 5 to 6 weeks and are able to return to active exercise in 8 weeks. Tightening the muscles rebalances the forces acting on the lower back and often relieves symptoms of low back pain that patients may have been experiencing. Losing one to three sizes in clothes is typical. Most women report feeling better about themselves and have an increased ability to exercise in general.
More pre and post-operative photos can be found here.
All the Best,
Dr. Dean Jabs
Our Plastic Surgery Associates team includes Dr. Franklin Richards, Dr. A. Dean Jabs, and Dr. Keshav Magge. Each of our plastic surgeons is board-certified, and together they have over 60 years of combined experience. Drs. Richards, Jabs, and Magge are all highly qualified in procedures for the face, breast, and body, and pride themselves in providing excellent results through our state-of-the-art, Quad A certified operating centers