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How Long Does a Tummy Tuck Take?

by | Mar 28, 2023 | Plastic Surgery

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, offers a surgical solution to reshape the abdominal area, helping those with excess skin, fat, and loose muscles achieve a slimmer and firmer midsection. But how invasive is a tummy tuck, and how long does it take to undergo the surgery? 

The following provides an overview of what you need to know about this popular body-contouring procedure.

What to Expect During a Tummy Tuck Surgery

During a tummy tuck, you’ll be either placed under general anesthesia or heavily sedated and given a topical anesthetic.

The specific technique used for a tummy tuck depends on your body build and the extent of change you’d like to achieve. At Bronx Plastic Surgery, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Robert Goldstein performs a tummy tuck by making a horizontal incision from hip to hip, in the area below the belly button and just above the pubic hairline. The length and shape of the incision can vary depending on the amount of excess skin.

Dr. Goldstein lifts the abdominal skin, removes excess sagging skin, and tightens the abdominal muscles with permanent sutures. The incision above the pubic line is stitched together, leaving a scar that falls along the bikini line’s natural crease. Dr. Goldstein also repositions the skin around the belly button, which is brought out through a small incision and then sutured in its normal position. Usually, liposuction is also performed in the flanks to contour the waistline. The result is a flatter and better-toned midsection.

How Long Is a Tummy Tuck Surgery?

The length of your surgery depends on the type of tummy tuck procedure you are having performed. A partial or mini tummy tuck may take one hour to perform, while a full tummy tuck may take anywhere between two to three hours.

What is the Recovery Process Like?

After tummy tuck surgery, your incision and belly button are covered with a surgical dressing, and small tubes are placed along the incision site to drain excess fluids. These tubes are left in place for several days after your surgery. You will be prescribed an antibiotic and pain medication. Depending on your surgery, you may only need to stay at the facility for a few hours after your procedure.

During your tummy tuck recovery, you will also wear an abdominal binder for about six weeks to provide abdominal support and prevent fluid buildup. During this time, you’ll need to be careful when moving around. You must avoid straining your incision line to prevent the wound from reopening. A bit of walking is recommended after tummy tuck surgery to help keep your blood flowing and speed up your healing process.

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You may need to sleep in an inclined position for a few days after your tummy tuck. Keeping your body elevated with your knees bent at an angle helps reduce swelling. You can also reduce pressure on your abdomen when you place a pillow underneath your knees. Dr. Goldstein will advise you on the best resting position to help you heal properly while staying comfortable.

Avoid consuming alcohol if you’re taking pain medication, and avoid smoking for at least six weeks. Smoking hinders the healing process and may cause unnecessary complications, such as skin necrosis. 

You must limit strenuous exercise and other demanding physical activities for four to six weeks. Dr. Goldstein will advise you on tummy tuck post-surgery care, including how long you’ll need to take off work and what activities you can perform.

Your recovery time depends on several factors, including age, body weight, and overall health. It also depends on the type of tummy tuck procedure performed or how much excess skin was removed. Most patients generally begin to feel more normal around the eight-week mark.

Who Is a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck Surgery?

A tummy tuck procedure is suitable for men and women who are in good general health overall, are at a stable weight, and do not smoke (this includes cigarettes, hookah, marijuana, etc.). A tummy tuck is an ideal body-contouring procedure for:

    • Women who have stretched and sagging skin after pregnancy
    • Those who have loose, sagging skin and excess fat deposits in the abdominal area after significant weight loss
    • Those who have a protruding belly despite being healthy and in good shape

Schedule a Tummy Tuck Consultation in Bronx, NY

If you are unhappy with the appearance of your abdomen due to sagging, excess skin, or muscle separation, a tummy tuck may give you a renewed self-image and more self-confidence.

At Bronx Plastic Surgery, Dr. Goldstein consistently strives to exceed patient expectations by enhancing natural beauty using the latest advancements in surgical techniques.

To learn more about the tummy tuck procedure and whether it may be right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Goldstein today.