what is a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty

What is an abdominoplasty AKA tummy tuck?

What is An Abdominoplasty?

An abdominoplasty is a common plastic surgery procedure that is commonly referred to as a tummy tuck. This surgery focuses on removing, trimming, and toning the excess fat and skin around the stomach area. 

While most people think of a tummy tuck as purely cosmetic surgery, us plastic surgeons use this procedure to restore weak abdominal muscles while also sculpting your tummy. After your surgery and recovery, you should have an abdomen that’s firm, smooth, and flat.

You might think that only the rich and famous can get a tummy tuck, but it’s actually quite affordable. Not to mention abdominoplasties are one of the most popular surgeries our Nashville patients opt-in for at Garza Plastic Surgery.

What Is Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, involves the following steps.

Anesthesia ·

Because abdominoplasty is a major surgical procedure, you will be put under general anesthesia and intravenous sedation during the operation. A qualified anesthesiologist will make sure you are given effective anesthesia for your comfort during your procedure.

Incision ·

After you go under anesthesia, Dr. Robert Garza, who performs abdominoplasties and other types of plastic surgery, will begin making the incision. The incision will be horizontal and it will be made between the pubic hairline and the belly button.

The size and length of the incision will depend on how much excess skin needs to be removed. Once the incision is made, the abdominal skin will be peeled back so your plastic surgeon can repair and strengthen your abdominal muscles.

Next, a new opening will be created for your belly button, and the remaining skin will be pulled down so the surgery can be completed.

Closing The Incisions ·

With the muscles strengthened, excess skin trimmed away, and a new space for your navel created, the remaining skin will be stitched back together with sutures. Depending on how your body responds to the surgery, a combination of surgical skin adhesive, medical tape, or clips may also be applied on top of the sutures.

Patient Recovery ·

Once the surgery is complete, you will be brought out of anesthesia and be monitored in the hospital for a few hours or a couple of days depending on your condition. You will also be given care instructions for your recovery process. 

During your recovery, you will need to follow your care instructions to the best of your ability. Your instructions may include:

» How to clean and care for the incision and suture site
» Which medications to take to aid your recovery
» Specific instructions for any specific concerns you may have or that Dr. Garza might have for your overall recovery
» Scheduling a follow-up appointment with Dr. Garza

You should also avoid straining or lifting any heavy objects for at least six weeks after your surgery, or until Dr. Garza clears you for a return to full activity.

How Much Fat Can Be Removed With A Tummy Tuck?

It should be noted that abdominoplasty is not directly a weight loss solution. However, after a successful tummy tuck operation, patients have been known to lose around 10 to 11 pounds of fat. Keep in mind though that the results will vary from patient to patient.

Should I Have a Tummy Tuck?

One of the most important things we tell our patients who are considering plastic surgery is to have realistic expectations. The most effective weight-loss strategies will be managing your caloric intake and your exercise habits.

We encourage you to reach as close to your ideal weight as possible before your tummy tuck surgery. After a tummy tuck, it is possible to gain the weight back. So you should strive to build a sustainable weight along with healthy eating and exercise habits.

What a Tummy Tuck Won’t Do:

It won’t make you lose a significant amount of weight. One of the false expectations that we run into when our patients first schedule a tummy tuck consultation is the idea that this procedure will help them lose a large amount of weight. It won’t.

However, it is possible to drop somewhere between 10-15 pounds with an abdominoplasty, but typically no more than that. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect significant weight loss after your surgery. If you’re seeking to lose more weight during your procedure, learn more from a specialized weight loss and bariatrics practice

What Should I Expect After My Tummy Tuck?

We want all our patients to know that tummy tucks are more about contouring the body than they are about weight loss. But, you can still expect to see a thinner, firmer, and better-contoured abdomen after your surgery. This could just be the motivation you need to continue building and living an active and healthy lifestyle.

FAQ About an Abdominoplasty | AKA Tummy Tuck Surgery

With weight considerations out of the way, you should also be aware of a few more things.

  1. Recovery from abdominoplasty takes time.
  2. You will have a permanent scar after your surgery.
  3. Surgical drains will be placed at the surgical site and must remain there for at least one or two weeks.
  4. It can take up to one full year for you to reach a complete recovery.

Does Fat Come Back After A Tummy Tuck?

If you do not maintain a healthy pattern of diet and exercise, it is possible for the fat to come back after your tummy tuck. 

What Is The Difference Between Liposuction and a Tummy Tuck?

Liposuction is a procedure specifically designed to melt and remove fat deposits from under the skin. Lipo is an intense surgical procedure that is not for everyone. 

Typically, liposuction involves making incisions around a patient’s problem areas, then washing the fat deposits with a solution that melts fat. The liquefied fat deposits are then suctioned away. The procedure can be used on any part of the body, including the stomach, arms, back, legs, and buttocks.

In contrast, a tummy tuck focuses on just toning and tightening the skin and muscle around the abdomen.

Can I Get Liposuction And A Tummy Tuck at The Same Time?

If you are in reasonably good health, it is possible to get liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck treatment. The advantages to doing this are better fat reduction results from your tummy tuck, getting all of your surgeries done at once, and one consolidated recovery period.

However, if you do choose to get both liposuction and an abdominal tuck at the same time, your recovery may last a little longer or be a little more intense than if you got them one at a time.

Liposuction may be necessary if:

Depending on the amount of excess fat you’re carrying in your abdomen, liposuction may be a necessary step during your tummy tuck procedure. If a plastic surgeon does recommend this option, don’t be alarmed because it’s more common than you think. 

Liposuction during a tummy tuck procedure (when needed) is almost like an added bonus, for it ensures you’ll receive the best results in the new contour of your abdomen.

Can A Tummy Tuck Be Justified As Medically Necessary?

Most cosmetic procedures are not considered medically necessary by insurance companies and are therefore usually not covered. However, there are some instances where a tummy tuck can be deemed medically necessary.

Diastasis recti

Women who have had multiple pregnancies can develop a condition called diastasis recti where the abdominal muscles have become weaker and are causing problems. An abdominoplasty may be used to repair the abdominal muscles and correct these problems.


Hernias may occur for several reasons, including childbirth, pregnancy, straining, lifting heavy objects, and genetics. Abdominal hernias can be fixed with an abdominoplasty procedure. However, hernias are more commonly fixed with specific hernia repair surgery procedures offered by general surgeons.

Back pain

People who have recently experienced extreme or significant weight loss and are left with excess amounts of skin are more likely to experience poor posture and back pain. In this case, an abdominoplasty can be used to remove the excess skin and add support to the weakened abdominal muscles.

Can Tummy Tuck Correct Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are like scars in your skin, and as such if the skin remains, then the stretch marks will too. However, any excess skin that is being removed and has stretch marks on it–those marks will be gone for good. Also, any stretch marks near the affected area will be moved lower on your body as the remaining skin will be stretched and connected to a lower segment of the body.

Can the Tummy Tuck Incision be Vertical Instead of Horizontal?

Unfortunately, the incision used in the tummy tuck procedure will always be horizontal. However, to mitigate this, your surgeon will do their best to make the incision where it will not be noticeable above your bikini line. 

Will The Scar Always Be In The Same Place?

Because each patient is unique, scar location will always vary between patients. But, as mentioned above, the scar should be located under your bikini line, so you don’t have to be embarrassed about it.

Scarring will also differ depending on if a “new” belly button needs to be created.

As you work with your Nashville plastic surgeon during your consultation phase, he will help you understand what to expect.

How Popular Are Tummy Tucks?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that in 2020, 97,988 abdominoplasties were performed, making it the 8th most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in 2020.

Regardless of your reason for getting this specific surgery, it’s essential for you to fully understand the fundamentals of this procedure. The more you understand, the better you can establish realistic expectations for your results. And the better your tummy tuck experience will be.

Abdominoplasty at Garza Plastic Surgery in Nashville

Thinking of trying the excellent results of a tummy tuck for yourself? Call Garza Plastic Surgery, or send us an email to request a consultation appointment. Come prepared to ask questions and Dr. Garza will help you figure out if this surgery is the right option for you.

Tummy Tuck Surgery Alternatives

Are you curious about nonsurgical options to help remove belly fat or tighten your midsection? Some patients may benefit from trying less invasive options like BodyTite.

Schedule a consult to learn more!