Tummy Tuck FAQs & Abdominoplasty FAQs

After one or more pregnancies, massive weight loss or bariatric surgery, you may find yourself with loose, saggy tummy skin. If this is a concern to you, if you avoid going to the beach and swimming pools or feel self-conscious and suffer low self-esteem, a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty may be the right procedure for you.

Our Tummy Tuck Surgeons, Dr Craig Rubinstein, Dr Rebecca Wyten, and Dr Patrick Briggs, are FRACS board-certified plastic surgeons who have thousands of satisfied patients and several decades of experience.

Tummy Tuck Surgery Guide

Read more about Tummy Tuck Surgery

About a Tummy Tuck FAQs

How do you get rid of the lower belly pooch?

If you have a lower belly pooch, a tummy tuck may be the right surgical procedure for you. This procedure focuses on removing stubborn pockets of tummy fat and excess tummy skin.

How do you lose apron belly?

  • If you suffer from an apron belly, a tummy tuck, or a panniculectomy is the procedure for you.
  • A tummy tuck removes the excess skin, stubborn belly fat and can tighten the abdominal muscles if required.
  • It is a great procedure after a massive weight loss, beer belly loss or pregnancy.
  • A panniculectomy procedure removes the excess skin and tummy fat but does not address the widened abdominal muscles – diastasis recti.

How many sizes do you lose with a tummy tuck?

  • Depedning on your current size your tummy tuck procedure can remove 1-3 dress or pant sizes from your waist.
  • Tummy surgery is a great solution for hanging abdominal skin. If you have a tummy tuck after weight loss or bariatric surgery, you can lose up to 4 pants sizes with this procedure.
  • However, its important to note, a tummy tuck procedure is not a weight loss substitute. It is the best surgery after weight loss since having a tummy tuck and losing weight will still leave you with loose tummy skin.

Can you get a six-pack after a tummy tuck?

  • Yes, you can get a six-pack after tummy tuck surgery. The procedure will not give you abs, but a tummy tuck can help remove the fat & excess skin revealing the muscles below.
  • Some six weeks after the procedure, you can start exercising again and tone up your muscles further.
  • Most surgeons recommend exercising before a tummy surgery as well since a healthy body heals much faster.

Can a Tummy Tuck Make My Stomach Flatter and More Attractive?

  • Yes, a tummy tuck can make your stomach much flatter and more attractive.
  • The tummy tuck surgery removes the excess skin to give you firm tummy skin.
  • It also removes the abdominal fat deposits and brings the abs together for a narrow waist and athletic appearance.

Am I The Right Candidate / Abdominoplasty Prerequisites FAQs

What qualifies you for a tummy tuck?

  • If you:
    • Have had one or more pregnancies that have left traces on your body (split abdominal muscles, loose tummy skin, stretch marks below your belly button and widened waistline),
    • Are a man who had a ‘beer belly’ or big belly for a while and has managed to lose weight,
    • Have had a massive weight loss either as a result of a healthy lifestyle or a bariatric surgery,
    • Feel self-conscious about the way your tummy looks,
    • Feel embarrassed in social situations or during intimate moments with your partner,

Then you may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck procedure. Make sure to schedule an initial screening with our surgeons for a customised approach to your case and educated advice on which procedure is the best for you.

What is the best age for a tummy tuck?

  • There is no ideal age for a tummy tuck.
  • Some patients choose to have a tummy tuck while they are young, early 20s. These patients generally had a history of significant weight gain and loss and were left with a wider mid-section and loose tummy skin.
  • Another group of patients are mostly women in their 30s and 40s who have had one or more pregnancies and would like to restore their figure.
  • Furthermore, you can have a tummy tuck in your 50s and beyond to repair what years of gravitational pull have done to your abdomen.
  • You are a good candidate for a tummy tuck procedure as long as you are both healthy enough to undergo surgery and have realistic expectations.

What is ideal BMI for a tummy tuck?

  • The ideal BMI for a tummy tuck is 30 or less. You should try to get as close as you can to your ideal weight since the results you get will be better.
  • Getting a tummy tuck and then losing weight will leave you with loose skin one more time and a need for a repeated tummy tuck in more extreme cases.

What is the ideal weight for a tummy tuck?

  • Your specialised plastic surgeon will most likely recommend that you are within 5 to 7 kilos of your ideal weight before opting for a tummy tuck procedure.
  • Your weight should have been stable and have not fluctuated over several months, as significant weight fluctuations after a tummy tuck can compromise the procedure results.

Should I lose weight before or after my tummy tuck?

  • It is best to lose weight before a tummy tuck procedure. Ideally speaking, you should be no more than some 10-15 pounds above your desired weight, and you should have kept that same weight for at least several months before the tummy procedure.
  • Losing significant weight after a tummy tuck is not desirable since you may compromise the results and be left with extra loose skin.

Am I the right candidate for a tummy tuck?

  • To be the right candidate for a tummy tuck, you should:
    • Be healthy,
    • Not be a smoker or be willing to quit for the sake of the surgery temporarily,
    • Be of stable weight and close within your desired weight,
    • Have realistic expectations and be prepared that they may not be met,
    • Understand all the risks and possible complications of abdominoplasty.

If you match these criteria, you may be the right candidate for a tummy tuck.

tummy tuck candidate

Tummy Tuck Preparation FAQs

How do I prepare for an abdominoplasty consultation?

To best prepare for an abdominoplasty procedure, you should consider the following:

  • Find the right surgeon for your abdominoplasty.
    • Your surgeon should be a board-certified plastic surgeon and have ample experience in the field.
  • You should do your research about abdominoplasty or the tummy procedure.
    • Get to know the different techniques and methods of doing an abdominoplasty as well as the risks and complications.
  • Think about your medical history and your family medical history. This may hold important cues for your specialised plastic surgeon.
  • Think about your current state and your desired results. Be prepared that your surgeon may notbe able to meet your desires.
  • Schedule an appointment with your specialist plastic surgeon and discuss all of the above.

How do I prepare for a tummy tuck?

  • To prepare for a tummy tuck, you should have a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.
  • Mild exercise and high-quality foods rich in vitamins and minerals promote healthy tissues and speed up the recovery time.
  • Lose weight – this way, your surgeon will achieve much better results, and you will avoid some risks and complications usually associated with plus size patients.
  • Stop smoking six weeks before a tummy tuck, and stop drinking alcohol two weeks before your tummy tuck.
  • Adjust your medication as suggested by your specialised plastic surgeon.

Can I drive to a tummy tuck surgery?

  • No, you should not drive to your tummy tuck surgery.
  • Several weeks before your tummy tuck, you should find a friend or a family member to take you to the surgery and drive you back home.
  • After the tummy surgery, you will not be able to drive since you will be under the influence of medication and will have significantly delayed reactions.
  • You should not drive for as long as you are on any pain meds.

Abdominoplasty Procedure FAQs

How many hours does a tummy tuck take?

  • A tummy tuck procedure can take anywhere between 2-3 hours. This is just a guide, the procedure may be longer if there are any complications. Always make sure that you follow your specialised plastic surgeon’s pre-op advice.
  • Complications are very rare, but staying careful is always a plus.
  • After the procedure, you can stay in the hospital for a few days or 1 to 2 nights depending on your case and recovery. Your surgeon will advise what is required.

How is a Tummy Tuck Performed?

  • During a tummy tuck procedure, the specialist anaesthetist will put you under general anaesthesia.
  • The surgeon will make incisions in order to remove the skin.
  • Your surgeon will lift the tummy skin, and remove any fat tissue.
  • Then they will then suture your abdominal muscles, excise excess skin and suture the incision.
  • You will be slowly woken up.

Does a tummy tuck make your hips wider?

  • No, a tummy tuck does not make your hips wider, but your hips may look wider in relation to your new and slimmer waistline.

Will tummy tuck make my waist smaller?

  • Yes, a tummy tuck surgery will make your waist smaller.
  • Your specialised plastic surgeon will lift the tummy skin and suture your widened abdominal muscles together during the procedure.
  • This way, your abdomen will be flat and toned, and your waist smaller.
  • Upcoming pregnancies may undo the waist slimming, so most surgeons suggest getting a tummy tuck when you are fairly certain you will have no more children.

Tummy Tuck Recovery FAQs

How can I heal faster after a tummy tuck?

  • Faster healing after a tummy tuck starts weeks before the procedure.
  • Use the pre-op time to work on your health, reduce your stress levels and boost your immune system.
  • Light exercise every day and a healthy diet can do wonders for a quick recovery after a tummy tuck.
  • Post-op, have plenty of rest and stay hydrated.
  • You may be losing a lot of precious fluids due to the swelling. Wear your compression garment at all times and follow any other instructions given to you by your specialised plastic surgeon.

How long is my stomach swollen after tummy tuck?

  • Your stomach will be very swollen during the first-week post-op.
  • During the second week, your swelling and bruising will start to go away.
  • Most of the swelling will be gone by the end of week two, with the remaining swelling slowly being reabsorbed by the body over the next few months.
  • You will be able to see your final results approximately six months post-op.

When can you stop wearing compression garment after a tummy tuck?

  • You should wear your compression garment for at least six weeks after your tummy tuck surgery.
  • Your compression garment should only be taken off to wash it or when you take a shower.
  • This includes wearing your compression garment when you are asleep.
  • Your compression garment keeps all the tissues in place and significantly improves the outcome of the surgery.

Can I take my compression garment off at night?

  • You should not take off your compression garment at night.
  • You should wear the compression garment 24/7 for at least four weeks.
  • After this period, you can wear your compression garment during the daytime for another two weeks.
  • Beware that your certified plastic surgeon may suggest different periods based on a multitude of factors. If this is the case, always follow your surgeon’s advice.

Why is my stomach not flat after a tummy tuck?

  • Immediately after a tummy tuck, your stomach will be swollen.
  • The majority of swelling should be gone by the end of the 1st month. Around this time, you should be able to see a flat, slimmer stomach you wanted to achieve with your tummy tuck.
  • Wearing a compression garment after the tummy tuck surgery will help tone down the swelling and reduce the recovery time.

What can you not do after a tummy tuck?

  • After your tummy tuck, you should not do any strenuous activities.
  • You should not force yourself to stand upright if you do not feel comfortable doing so.
  • You should not smoke for six weeks after the procedure, and you should not drink alcohol for some two weeks after your tummy surgery.
  • Your surgeon will advise you when you can shower
  • Avoid bathtubs, hot tubs and swimming pools for around three months.
  • Always follow your surgeon’s advice to stay safe and avoid complications.

How long after tummy tuck do you feel normal?

  • After a tummy tuck, you will feel your normal some eight weeks post-op.
  • Six weeks post-op, you should be able to resume most of your daily activities.
  • It may take anywhere between six months to a full year for full sensation in the abdomen to return.

Why do I feel so tight after a tummy tuck?

  • You can feel tight after a tummy tuck for two reasons:
  • Firstly, it could be the result of swelling.
    • Swelling is a normal part of the recovery.
    • It will be at its strongest 2-3 days post-op.
    • The majority of it will be gone some two weeks after the surgery.
  • Secondly it may be a result of muscle tightening.
    • Your specialised plastic surgeon tightens your skin & muscles during a full tummy tuck procedure.
    • Excess skin is removed, and sutures reattach the remaining skin.
    • This is where some of the tightness comes from.
  • The feeling of tightness after a tummy tuck will last for several weeks. It will slowly subside as you recovery.

Does skin tighten after a tummy tuck?

  • Yes, your abdominal skin will tighten after a tummy tuck procedure.
  • The tummy surgery removes some of the sagging abdominal skin and fat tissues underneath.
  • Your surgeon will tighten and sutire the remaining skin.
  • The tummy surgery leaves your tummy feeling both tighter and flatter.

Why are my thighs bigger after tummy tuck?

  • Your thighs may seem bigger after a tummy tuck because your waistline is now smaller.
  • Also, if you gain weight after a tummy tuck, the fat cannot get deposited in the belly anymore since your surgeon removed the fat tissue.
  • So, the excess weight will now get deposited in the thighs, the buttocks, the breasts and the upper arms.

How do you poop after a tummy tuck?

  • You may experience some bloating and constipation after your tummy tuck. T
  • This is a temporary side-effect of some medication you may have been given, and it usually clears on its own within days.
  • Make sure to eat foods that are high in fibre and to drink plenty of fluids.
  • When pooping after a tummy tuck, make sure that you do not use the abdominal muscles to sit down on the toilet or get up.
  • When using the toilet, ensure you apply no pressure on the belly.
  • Just relax and let nature take its course.

How long before I can bend over after a tummy tuck?

  • You can bend down about three weeks after a tummy tuck procedure.
  • This should not be an issue since bending down is controlled by the muscles in your back.
  • You should avoid bending down since it can cause an increase in blood pressure and may promote bleeding for the first few days after the procedure.
  • Always ask your specialised plastic surgeon if uncertain about any physical activity after your tummy tuck procedure.

How long after tummy tuck can I walk straight?

  • You may be able to walk straight a week or two after your tummy tuck procedure.
  • It is important not to force yourself into standing upright since some patients may simply take longer to stand up straight after a tummy surgery.
  • Always listen to your body and follow common sense.
  • If something hurts, delay the activity by a day or two at least.

What does your stomach look like after a tummy tuck?

  • In the first two weeks after your tummy tuck, your stomach will have bruising and swelling.
  • The bruising and swelling will dissipate over the next few days to reach a 90% recovery rate at some six weeks post-op.
  • After the recovery is finished, your stomach will be tighter, flat and more attractive than it was.

When can I wear jeans after tummy tuck?

  • You should not wear jeans or any other tight clothes at least six weeks post tummy tuck.
  • This is because your skin is still healing, and wearing tight clothes can cause discomfort and compromise the results of your tummy tuck.

Can I wear Spanx after tummy tuck?

  • Yes, you can start wearing Spanx approximately four weeks after a tummy tuck.
  • You should still be wearing your regular compression garment while sleeping.
  • Always consult your specialised plastic surgeon about any clothing concerns you may have since no two patients are the same.

Can I take a bath four weeks after a tummy tuck?

  • No, you should not take baths four weeks after your tummy tuck.
  • In fact, for the first six weeks after your tummy surgery/abdominoplasty, you should only take short showers with lukewarm water.
  • During this time, you should avoid any bodies of water, such as bathtubs, hot tubs and swimming pools.
  • You should also avoid swimming in the sea.
  • Exposing your wound to stagnant water carries risks of infection and may prolong your recovery period.

Abdominoplasty Longer-Term Results FAQs

Can you gain belly fat after a tummy tuck?

  • Gaining belly fat after a tummy tuck can be much more difficult than before. Your specialised plastic surgeon removes the fat tissues from your abdomen, so the extra fat cannot be deposited anymore. It is rather deposited elsewhere throughout the body. However, this effect may not be permanent since new research shows that the body can create new fat cells, but this can happen some ten years after the fat was removed from your body.

Can you tone your stomach after a tummy tuck?

  • Yes, you can tone your muscles after a tummy tuck. You should wait for at least six weeks after your tummy tuck to start exercising your abs, and even longer if your experienced plastic surgeon says so. Make sure you practice a combo of physical activity and a healthy diet for maximum benefits.

Is a tummy tuck permanent?

  • Yes, a tummy tuck is a permanent procedure in the sense that the excess skin and fat your surgeon has removed are gone for good. However, due to many reasons of hereditary nature, aging, and lifestyle choices, you may notice new loose skin in the tummy area some 10-15 years after your initial tummy tuck.
  • The abdominal muscles are permanently sutured together, and only injuries or pregnancy can pull them apart.

Abdominoplasty Risks And Complications FAQs

Can a tummy tuck be too tight?

  • Yes, if your tummy tuck is done by a less experienced or a non-board-certified plastic surgeon, it may be too tight and the wound may break down.
  • Always choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience in tummy surgery to do your tummy tuck.
  • Some of the damage done by inexperienced surgeons cannot be corrected even by the best-experienced plastic surgeon.

Can incisions get infected after a tummy tuck?

  • Yes, if you are not careful, your incisions can get infected after a tummy tuck.
  • Avoid taking baths, hot tubs and swimming in the ocean for at least six weeks after the tummy tuck.
  • Even very clean water can still harbour bacteria and may cause infection of your incisions.

Can sutures get ripped apart?

  • Yes, sutures can get ripped apart. This is why it is so important to have proper rest time and sleep in a reclined position while the skin is still reattaching itself.
  • Sutures ripped apart can cause major issues, prolong the recovery period, and require immediate medical attention.

Tummy Tuck Financing FAQs

Does insurance pay for a tummy tuck?

  • A tummy tuck procedure is generally an elective surgical procedure that is not covered by insurance.
  • However, if your surgeon deems a tummy tuck a medical necessity, you may be eligible for partial coverage
  • Always consult your surgeon or GP for more information and check eligibility for your tummy tuck surgery coverage.

Is an abdominoplasty covered by Medicare?

Abdominoplasty is generally not covered by Medicare unless after massive weight loss.

Medicare covers only medically necessary surgeries, and your abdominoplasty may not fit this profile. However, suppose you are having abdominoplasty as a part of a large-scale weight loss program and suffer repeating skin infections in the fold below your stomach (especially the Candida fungus). In that case, you may be eligible for panniculectomy coverage (so the suturing of your abdominal muscles together will not be covered). Always check your Medicare eligibility with your specialised plastic surgeon.

Medicare item numbers are currently being revised for post-pregnancy abdominoplasty so always check with the team

How can I finance a tummy tuck?

Is a tummy tuck worth it?

Yes, a tummy tuck is worth it. A vast majority of men and women who undergo a tummy tuck procedure say they look and feel younger, refreshed, and rejuvenated. With a short downtime and over a decade of stomach flatness, this is a great procedure that can significantly improve your quality of life and self-esteem.

97% of surveyed Realself patients rated the tummy tuck procedure as ‘worth it’