Loftus Plastic Surgery Center

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Tummy Tuck Info

Abdominoplasty

Dr. Loftus has performed thousands of abdominoplasties and shares her experience and insights on this page.
Plastic surgery of the abdomen can accomplish many things that you cannot accomplish on your own – no matter how much you diet and work out. Dieting and working out may tone your muscles and help you lose weight, but they will not tighten your loose skin, nor will they tighten a loose inner girdle (explained below). A tummy tuck can give you a flat stomach by tightening your inner girdle. It also removes loose skin of your lower abdomen and tightens the skin of your upper abdomen. Abdominoplasty can also remove nearly all the fat of your lower abdomen as well as the stretch marks. In fact, there is practically nothing that pregnancy can do to your abdomen that a tummy tuck can’t improve. Abdominoplasty does have limitations. (Here comes the bad news). It will not remove stretch marks of your mid or upper abdomen (but it will shift them lower on your abdomen). If you have a thick layer of fat in your upper abdomen, an abdominoplasty will not reduce its thickness. If you want lipo for this, you may be out of luck. Aggressive liposuction of the upper abdomen at the same time as a tummy tuck is ill-advised because it can interfere with circulation and cause complications. If your fat is very very thick, you may be advised by your plastic surgeon to avoid a tummy tuck completely because of a high risk of healing problems. In this case, you may be offered a panniculectomy, which involves removal of skin and fat only, with no tightening of your inner girdle (fascia).

Abdominoplasty Scars

Will extend across the lowest part of your abdomen, just above your bikini line. You will (typically) have another scar around your belly button. These scars are commonly hidden by a swimming suit. Many heal discretely, but others remain quite visible. Regardless, you are more likely to look (and feel) better with a flatter abdomen and scars than you are with a bulging belly.

The Inner Girdle

Everyone has an inner girdle. The inner girdle extends from your rib cage down to your pubic bone and from one side of your abdomen to the other. The inner girdle is made of the same stuff as gristle on a steak. It is situated between your rectus muscles and your abdominal fat. It is tough and serves to support the contents of your abdomen so that they don’t bulge outward. Surgeons refer to this layer as “fascia.” (FYI, a hernia is actually a hole in the fascia or inner girdle).
The inner girdle stretches during pregnancy to accommodate the enlarging uterus. After pregnancy, your muscles may regain tone (with some effort), but your inner girdle is not quite as resilient, nor as elastic. Often the inner girdle fails to regain its shape, even though your muscles may be toned. This is where a tummy tuck can really help. In a tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon will imbricate (tighten) your inner girdle to make it flatter. By the way, if your plastic surgeon explains that he is going to “tighten you muscles” during your abdominoplasty, just nod and smile. He is actually going to tighten your inner girdle but is too lazy to explain the difference (muscles are below the inner girdle and are never exposed during the operation). Watch this tummy tuck educational video for a great explanation of this concept with before and after images.

Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty Recovery

Anesthesia is usually general, but an abdominoplasty can sometimes be performed under heavy sedation, if a mini tummy tuck is performed. Length of surgery is 1-3 hours. You may stay overnight, but most go home the same day. Discomfort is mild to moderate. The tighter your surgeon makes your inner girdle, the greater your discomfort will be. Anticipate 3-5 days of prescription pain medication. Bruising does not usually occur. Abdominal numbness is expected. Stitches are absorbable and do not require removal. Drains will be placed at the time of surgery to prevent postoperative fluid collections, called seromas. They will be removed between 2 days and 2 weeks following abdominoplasty surgery. You will be presentable in a bathing suit within a month of surgery. Your abdomen will immediately look better in most one-piece bathing suits than it did prior to surgery. You may return to work in about 7-10 days, as long as your job requires no lifting or manual labor. If so, wait 4-6 weeks or get an excuse from your plastic surgeon so that you can be given a non-lifting job during that time. Driving may be resumed as soon as you have stopped taking prescription pain medication. Exercise may be resumed in 4 weeks. Your final result will be evident after your scar has matured.

Tummy Tuck Tips and Traps

  • If you seek a tummy tuck, wait until you have finished childbearing. Otherwise, some of the benefits gained through abdominoplasty may be lost with another pregnancy.
  • If you have an abdominoplasty, then your abdominal tissue will not be available for future breast reconstruction. Of course, you may never get breast cancer. And, if you do, you may not require a mastectomy. And, if your do require a mastectomy, other options are available for breast reconstruction.
  • If your hips are wide, consider hip liposuction at the same time. Otherwise, tummy tuck alone may cause your hips to look larger.
  • If you have thick abdominal fat, lax skin, and loose fascia, your surgeon may recommend both tummy tuck and abdominal liposuction. If so, you should favor performing them as separate procedures, at least three months apart. If these procedures are performed at the same time, you may be at high risk of significant healing problems. Although the term “healing problems” does not sound frightening, be aware that healing problems can result in further surgery, hospitalization, and larger scars.
  • If you smoke, have poorly controlled diabetes, or are significantly overweight, you will be at increased risk for complications and probably should not have an abdominoplasty operation.


Abdominoplasty Video

If you are interested in watching the actual operation of abdominoplasty, then click here. This video, which was filmed at Loftus Plastic Surgery Center, shows the actual operation, step by step. On the other hand, if you are a little squeamish, you may choose to watch this after your surgery, rather than before it! (This video is 7 minutes in length.)

Dr. Loftus

About Dr. Loftus


Dr. Loftus is a female plastic surgeon who is considered a national authority on plastic surgery, having appeared on numerous talk shows as an expert. Her book has become a best-selling book on plastic surgery and has earned her the reputation as a vocal advocate of patient safety, satisfaction, and education in plastic surgery. No wonder her patients have such great things to say about her…
Dr. Loftus standing by staff
My results are amazing - Dr. Loftus is amazing!
My friends can't believe how natural I look!
I had no pain after surgery and recovery was so easy.
The entire experience was fabulous!
I am a nurse who has worked with many doctors, Dr. Loftus is the best!
The care was exceptional and results are incredible!
My results are better than I ever imagined!
Dr. Loftus is a rare surgeon: highly skilled, personable and compassionate!
My experience from start to finish was completely extraordinary!
Awesome results from a skilled and caring doctor.
I love love love Dr. Loftus and everyone in the office!
I've never felt so comfortable and understood in a doctor's office.
I felt so comfortable and barely had any pain at all.
I never knew I could look this good! Thank you Dr. Loftus!!!
Never met such a warm and caring staff anywhere else.
If only every doctor could be like Dr. Loftus, how very fortunate we would be.

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Cincinnati: The Christ Hospital
2139 Auburn Avenue, Suite 201
Cincinnati, OH 45219
(513) 793-4000
5 minutes from downtown Cinci,
At the Christ Medical Office Building

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Northern Kentucky
1881 Dixie Highway, Suite 300
Fort Wright, KY 41011
859-462-5000
3 minutes from downtown Cincinati &
visible from I-71/75

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