Depending on the expertise of the surgeon, the severity of your need and the
location, the approximate, tummy tuck cost is about $3,700 to
$6,500. There may be additional charges that will figure into your tummy tuck prices such as surgical facilities
and anesthesia. However, when performed at the time of medically necessary surgeries, there may be a reduced cost
to the patient for operating room and anesthesia expenses.
Additional Tummy Tuck Costs Sometimes there may be additional costs you will have to pay such as those for tests and
x-rays, pain medication and antibiotics.
Does insurance cover the Tummy Tuck Surgery? Abdominoplasties (tummy tucks) are considered cosmetic procedures and are, therefore, not
generally covered by your health insurance.
What is a Tummy Tuck? A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgical procedure whereby the existing skin is cut out
from your middle and / or lower tummy and the remaining skin is stretched out over the area to be tightened. The
tummy tuck is then complete once the skin is sewn back on.
Tummy tucks are the fifth most common plastic surgery done in the USA,
according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons' 2009 statistics, with the number of tummy tuck surgeries
done annually rising up to 84% over the past 10 years. In 2009 and in US alone, over 115,000 tummy tuck operations
were done. A tummy tuck surgery is a surgical operation for reshaping a disfigured lower stomach by removing some
of the loose skin and tissue of the abdominal wall. It mainly involves the surgical removal of excess abdominal
skin and fat. However, weak abdominal muscles can also be tightened during the procedure.
Uses & Purposes Of Tummy Tuck
To surgically remove excess abdominal skin and fat (i.e. fat
To help clear out the abdominal stretch marks (common after
To eliminate abdominal wrinkles (cosmetic purposes)
To tighten and tone-up weakened abdominal muscles
Causes of disfigured lower stomach (indications of the tummy
Pregnancy (in women) and
Gastric bypass surgery (in men)
Weight gain and / or aging
What to do before Your Tummy Tuck?
You should completely stop any water or food intake 8 hours prior to the
You should also stop smoking and alcohol intake at least 2 weeks before
Similarly, drugs like anticoagulants, hormones (such as oral contraceptives /
birth control pills) and anti-depressants should also be stopped at least 2 weeks before surgery
What happens during the tummy tuck surgery (the
procedure)? The procedure is fairly simple whereby the existing
skin is cut out and the remaining skin is stretched out over the area to be tightened. The tummy tuck is then
complete once the skin is sewn back on.
Your surgeon makes a linear incision extending from one hip bone to another
along the bikini line. In other words, the surgeon removes an area of skin between the pubic bone and the navel
and then stretches and stitches together the skin above the navel and below the pubic bone.
Your abdominal skin and fat is then separated from the rest of your abdominal
Muscles are toned and tightened by pulling them closer and are stitched
together into a new position.
Finally, the incision is closed with stitches and the dressings are applied
and a temporary tube is inserted to drain the excesses fluid from your abdomen.
What is the average recovery time? It should be remembered that a tummy tuck procedure is similar to other surgeries and the
recovery time depends upon the complexity of the operation in accordance with a particular case. For example, if
you have strong abdominal muscles then you may significantly recover in about two weeks but for others it may take
a little longer.
In general, after the surgery, the patient may have to wait for six months for the
swelling and scar tissues to disappear. While on average, it usually takes a time period of six months to one full
year for everything to be completely healed and normal. You should be able to return to work in about 10 to 14
What happens in the recovery phase? 3 Stages.
First stage: This
stage consists of post-operative care (after surgery care) for which you have to remain in the hospital. The
period may vary from a few hours to three to four days depending upon the complexity of the
Second stage: The
second stage starts after you reach home. Patients are prescribed bed rest for a certain period.
Third stage: The
last stage starts with maintenance of your new abdominal muscles, your surgeon will most certainly give you an
exercise and dietary schedule which will control or optimize the tummy tuck recovery phase. It involves mild
exercises and reduces swelling, prevents blood clots and tones the muscles.
Some natural hints & tips to promote faster tummy tuck
You must make sure you don't stretch or strain the abs as this triggers fluid
accumulation thereby delaying the tummy tuck recovery.
You will need to remain in a sitting position the first two to four days and
even when you lie down or stand up, your knees must remain bent at all times. If you straighten up, you could
rip out your stitches.
It is important to get out of bed early and often after your surgery (with
assistance) to prevent postoperative problems.
It is important to walk bent over at the hips for 5-7 days after surgery to
reduce tension on the suture lines.
To speed up recovery and improve the quality of the scar, you should sleep
with your hips in a flexed position and your head elevated on 2 pillows.
A light diet is best for the day of surgery. Begin by taking liquids slowly
and progress to soups and jell-o. You can start with a soft regular diet the next day. Stay on a bland diet for
2-3 days to reduce gas. Avoid carbonated drinks.
A compression garment is put on at the end of the operation. This must be
worn at all times for four weeks. An extra garment will be issued at the first follow-up visit so that one
garment may be cleaned while one is being worn. You may only remove the garment to shower until directed
Excessive and strenuous activities should be avoided for at least 3 to 6weeks
after the procedure. Keep your heart rate below 100 beats per minute during that time and do not lift more than
Do not drive for 7-10 days and do not drive while taking narcotic pain
medication. Do not take aspirin or products containing aspirin or motrin for 3 weeks after surgery.
In addition, to prevent or relieve abdominal discomfort or indigestion after
surgery, you should drink plenty of water (8 glasses a day) and drink plenty of warm liquids (tea or coffee).
Similarly, prune juice helps with constipation. If severely constipated, use Milk of Magnesia, or stool
Direct sun is to be avoided as all incisions will be extremely sensitive
during the healing phase. When going out, even on cloudy days, use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater for at
least 1 year that has both UVA and UVB protection.
Walk at least 30 minutes a day as walking helps blood circulation in the
Risks & Complications While every patient is different and every procedure unique, there are some risks associated with
having an abdominoplasty that you should be aware of and discuss with your surgeon. Some of these risks
Fluid and blood collection under the skin (seroma)
Possible blood clots (Bleeding under the abdominal tissue /
Infection or other risks associated with any surgery
Prominent, unsightly scars (thick, red, ropy, itchy, and painful)
Death (necrosis) of tissue resulting in prolonged healing
Blood clots in the legs (venous thrombosis) and lungs (pulmonary
Blistering of the skin (as this operation requires the use of external
compression, tape and dressings)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long is the
tummy tuck procedure? A: On an average, the
procedure lasts for 2 to 4 hours.
Q: What is the duration
of hospital stay? A: While tummy tuck is
performed on an out-patient basis, you can be expected to stay in the hospital for 2 nights.
Q: What kind of
anesthesia is used during the tummy tuck? A: It is generally
performed under a general anesthesia (you become completely unconscious for few hours while the surgery is
References: 1- Michele A.
Shermak, OR Nurse 2011 January 2011, Volume 5 Number 1, Pages 20 – 27 2- A. Shermak, at al., Do Preexisting Abdominal Scars Threaten Wound Healing in
Abdominoplasty? ePlasty. 2010;10:e14 3- Kenneth C at al., “Marriage” Abdominoplasty: A Short Scar Technique, Aesthetic
Surgery Journal May 1, 2002vol. 22 no. 3 294-300