How Does a Tummy Tuck Work? The Complete Guide

how does a tummy tuck work

Written by Michelle

May 17, 2021

The tummy tuck is one of the most common cosmetic surgeries performed each year, but how does a tummy tuck work? There are a great number of factors to consider when going in for a tummy tuck, and we are here to help you sort them all out! 

This simple guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the procedure to make an informed decision before going under the blade! Let’s have a look! 

Tummy Tuck Procedure

The tummy tuck procedure removes excess skin and gives the stomach a tighter and flatter appearance. The tummy tuck can help remove excess skin from weight gain and loss, pregnancy, and more. Additionally, following the procedure, patients can expect strengthened fascia. 

The tummy tuck is not generally used for fat reduction. Instead, it is used to tighten stubborn areas and reduce the amount of excess skin in the abdominal area. The remaining skin is tightened and results in a smooth and flattened abdominal area.

How Does a Tummy Tuck Work: The Steps

For a tummy tuck procedure basics, the patient will need to be under either general or intravenous anesthesia. The initial incision is a horizontal cut made between the belly and the pubic area. The exact length and shape of the incision depend on the patient’s anatomy and the amount of excess skin present. 

On occasion, a second incision might need to be made. Once the incision is made, the abdominal skin is pulled down to be tightened, and a new belly button incision is made. After the procedure, the incision is closed, and skin sutures and adhesives are applied. 

Most tummy tuck surgeries are performed in conjunction with liposuction. The liposuction will remove large amounts of fat from the area and make the surgery results more prevalent. In some cases, an extended tummy tuck is performed on the patient to achieve optimum results. 

The extended tummy tuck can help patients improve their overall contour and shape as the procedure is extended to the flanks or side of the body. A mini tummy tuck is another style of tummy tuck surgery. For a mini tuck, the area below the belly button and navel is the primary focus. The mini tummy tuck is used to eliminate small stubborn fat that forms a “pooch” under the belly button. 

What Are the Risks

As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved. Fluid can accumulate beneath the skin post-surgery, which is called a seroma. With that being said, doctors will almost always add drainage tubes to avoid this complication. In some cases, a patient might have slow wound healing or infection. 

Doctors will, on occasion, prescribe antibiotics to avoid any infections post-op. The incision from a tummy tuck does result in a scar, but it should be minimal. In some cases, patients might experience a change in sensation post-surgery because of the repositioning of nerves in the area. 

Tummy Tuck Benefits

The benefits of a tummy tuck reach far beyond just aesthetics! Tummy tucks can help strengthen the core muscles, which can help improve posture and reduce pain. The surgery can also help those who suffer from urinary incontinence post-pregnancy. The procedure helps tighten muscles in the abdomen, so having a tummy tuck can help reduce the risk of hernias. 

Of course, there are physical benefits to the tummy tuck procedure as well! After the surgery, the stomach will be flattened and significantly tighter. If other procedures like liposuction are performed, a patient can expect to have a more contoured appearance and ample fat reduction in the abdominal area. 


Not everyone is a candidate for tummy tuck surgery. It is essential to have medical approval and labs done before surgery. Informing the surgeon about any medications is a crucial step before surgery. Some medications might need to be discontinued or reduced temporarily before the tummy tuck. 

Smoking should be discontinued before and after surgery. Additionally, certain herbs and medicines such as aspirin should be avoided as they can lead to bleeding complications. Before the surgery, make sure that you get a good night’s sleep and are well-rested. 


After the surgery, the incision is covered with a surgical dressing. Surgical drains are usually placed to drain excess fluid and blood from the area to help the area heal faster. It is important to walk around the day after surgery to reduce the risk of blood clots, so members of the medical team will usually help patients with their first steps post-op. 

There is generally some pain after the tummy tuck. However, pain medication can be administered to help reduce pain. In most cases, an abdominal binder is worn for up to six weeks after the tummy tuck procedure to give the patient support while they heal. Excessive activity will need to be limited for at least six weeks after the tummy tuck to avoid injury. 

The Right Choice 

Now that you know the answer to the question of how does a tummy tuck work? You can decide if the tummy tuck procedure is right for you! As you can see, the tummy tuck can help you regain control of your abdominal area and give you the confidence you need, so talk to your healthcare provider about your options today! 

When it comes to cosmetic surgery, we strive to give our patients the best care possible! Our dedicated staff is here to answer any questions you might have, so contact us today to schedule a consultation! 

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