Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgical procedure to firm up the abdominal area. Women after child delivery and people after large weight loss often need firming up of their abdomen. The procedure surgically removes the extra loose skin and fat and tightens the muscles and fascia of the abdominal wall.

There are many ways to do tummy tucks and several options for anesthesia. One anesthetic option that is becoming more popular is the Awake Tummy Tuck procedure. Using this method, a mild sedative is given and the abdominal area is numbed with tumescent fluid so the patient feels no pain during the procedure yet is awake. Better contouring of the waist and sides can be performed, plus less risks and less downtime using this method.

Depending on the extent of the required cosmetic repair and enhancement, there are different types of abdominoplasty :

Types of Abdominoplasty

1.0  Full Abdominoplastiy- Thiscovers the entire abdomen from one hip to the other and the incision is made horizontally across the abdomen just above the pubic area. Incision is also made at the navel to make it free of the skin.  The skin and fat are first detached exposing the muscles and fascia which are then tightened with sutures. The skin is pulled and the extra skin and fat are cut and closed. Fat removal by liposuction may be done at the transition zones for a smoother contour during the procedure.

2.0 Partial or Mini Abdominoplasty- This is done when the firming up is required in a small area, The incision is smaller and the skin and fat are detached from the muscles and fascia in the smaller area. The skin is pulled and extra skin and fat are removed. The muscle and fascia if required are tightened. Sometimes, women like to shift the location of the navel. In that case the navel stalk is divided from the muscle underneath and slid to a new location and a new hole in the skin is made. Liposuction is often done at the transition zone for smoother contour.

3.0 Extended abdominoplasty- This is full abdominoplasty with additional lateral thigh lift when the thigh needs firming up. The incision in the thigh runs along the posterior axillary line. This procedure improves the abdomen, waists and the upper lateral thighs.

4.0 High Lateral tension tummy tuck- This is a newer technique whereinthe muscles and fascia in addition to being tightened vertically as in conventional abdominoplasty, are also tightened horizontally. This results in a much firmer abdomen and better shaped waists.

5.0 Floating Abdominoplasty or FAB Technique: This is a newer version of partial or mini abdominoplasty in which tightening is done through a smaller incision that is not located around the belly button.Excess skin is removed through the smaller incision. The belly button is detached from the muscle below. The muscles and fascia are tightened from sternum to the pubic area. The skin is tightened and the belly button reattached at the old or at a new location as desired. Liposuction is also performed as required.

6.0 Circumferential abdominoplasty– This is an extended abdominoplasty plus a buttock lift. The incision runs round the body. This is also known as Belt Lipectomy or Body Lift and is done for patients who underwent massive weight loss.


1) A compression garment or a support abdominal binder is to be worn to control swelling, bruising and keeping the treated skin in shape. There may be initial discomfort and bruising.

2) Immediate recovery period avoiding heavy activity extends from one to four weeks depending on the extent of the procedure. Time off from work may be one to three weeks. Full recovery takes three to six months with scars fading thereafter.

3) Nicotine is to be avoided for at least a month or longer prior to the surgery and during the recovery period.



Though Abdominoplasty is considered to be a safe procedure, like in any other surgery there are certain risks in this surgery also. Severe complications, like blood clots, thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications,even death, however rare, may occur.  Most of the risks may be covered by carefully following the surgeons’ advice in full.

Skin necrosis which means dead skin rarely occurs and in case it does, it is replaced by skin graft. Smokers have increased risk of developing skin necrosis; it is better for a smoker to quit smoking much before the surgery.

Collection of fluid under the skin may occur to abdominoplasty patients after the drains are removed. The fluid can be aspirated with a needle by the surgeon.

Other possible complications could be anaesthesia reactions, bleeding, poor wound healing, changes in skin sensation, fat necrosis, asymmetry, swelling in the legs, nerve damage, hematoma, Seroma.


There are many options available for people who desire a flat stomach. From different anesthetics to various types of tummy tucks and liposuction. For further information, go to truemd.com and you can learn more.