Aesthetic surgery of the abdomen, also called abdominoplasty or "tummy tuck," is designed to firm and smooth the abdomen. The procedure removes excess abdominal skin and may also reduce fat and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. Some conditions are inherited. In other instances, substantial weight loss may cause abdominal skin to become flaccid. Abdominoplasty can tighten muscles that have been separated and weakened by pregnancy, and may improve the appearance of stretch marks.


Generally, a horizontal incision is placed just within or above the pubic area. When patients have loose skin above the navel, the plastic surgeon may make an incision around the navel so that redundant skin above it can be pulled down. The procedure may include tightening of the underlying abdominal muscles using sutures. There are many variations both to the design of the incisions and the technique itself. When the amount of loose skin is minimal and excess fat deposits are located below the navel, a short horizontal incision is all that is necessary. This procedure is called a partial or "mini" abdominoplasty. Sometimes liposuction may be used alone, or in conjunction with abdominoplasty, to remove abdominal fat. Endoscopic abdominoplasty is another technique for minimizing scars and may be useful when patients have a mild degree of excess fat and muscle laxity.


  • Significant complications from abdominoplasty are infrequent.
  • Unless there is significant weight gain or the patient becomes pregnant, the abdomen should remain firmer and flatter for many years.
  • Recovery time varies among individuals, but patients may be able to return to nonstrenuous work one to three weeks after surgery, and in many instances resume most normal activities, including some mild form of exercise, after a few weeks.

Other Considerations:

  • Every surgery carries some risk. Potential complications include bleeding, infection and reactions to anesthesia. Tissue loss along portions of the horizontal incision is possible when the abdominoplasty is extensive.
  • While bruising will disappear over a period of weeks, it may be months before all swelling subsides.
  • Numbness over some portions of the abdominal area may persist for several months.
  • Incisions lines may take months to fade and will be permanently visible.

ABOUT The Aesthetic Society

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. The Aesthetic Society is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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