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Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty, or a “tummy tuck,” is designed to correct a protruding abdomen resulting from weak abdominal muscles, weight gain or pregnancy. Excess skin and stretched abdominal muscles typically do not respond to exercise. In this procedure, the abdominal wall muscles may be tightened and excess fatty tissue and skin are removed to improve the body contour. The goal is a narrower, flatter abdomen. It can be done in combination with liposuction to further define areas such as the flanks, hips and lower back. Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss.

Endoscopic, mini, or full abdominoplasties typically take two to three hours to perform under general anesthesia. The procedures are longer with extended or circumferential abdominoplaty or body lifts. After surgery, patients undergo injection of long-lasting pain medication to reduce discomfort and make it easier to be up and moving around. As an alternative, patients may elect to have a pain pump placed to deliver local anesthetic to the surgical site. Oral pain medications and muscle relaxants are also used to control post-operative pain. In some cases drains are placed and left in for one week, although they are generally not required for many patients. Recovery time is two to four weeks, and patients need to refrain from strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for one month.

Video FAQs:

A number of options are available depending on your shape. These options include:

Endoscopic Abdominoplasty

This type of tummy tuck procedure is recommended for patients with minimal or no excess fat. A small incision is made in low in the abdominal area to tighten the loose muscles of the region that contribute to a rounded tummy. The incision scar is hidden in the pubic hairline and belly button.


Mini-abdominoplasty surgery is ideal for patients with mild to moderate amount of skin and excess fat. An incision is made above the pubic hairline to remove excess skin and fatty tissue and to tighten the lower abdominal bulge.

Full Abdominoplasty

Full abdominoplasty procedures are designed to correct more significant fat and skin excess between the pubic hairline and belly button and to tighten the abdominal muscles from the rib cage to the pubic area. It is performed through a longer abdominal incision and an incision around the belly button. A slightly longer recovery is necessary, with most patients able to return to work in two to three weeks.

Extended Abdominoplasty

Extended abdominoplasty surgery is for a patient who have laxity of the skin or fatty deposits that extend to the sides of the abdomen, and is often combined with liposuction. The scar may extend part way around toward the back, and can give some limited improvement to the upper thighs.

Circumferential Abdominoplasty

The incision made during the circumferential abdominoplasty procedure extends all the way around the trunk. It provides some lifting of the lateral thighs and can help uplift and reshape the buttocks.

Lower Body Lift

Like the circumferential abdominoplasty, the incision for the lower body lift extends all the way around the abdomen, but it provides even greater recontouring of the thighs and buttocks. In some cases it is combined with an inner thigh lift. Lower body lifts are commonly recommended after significant weight loss, either through diet and exercise or after a bariatric surgery procedure.

Emory Aesthetic Center of Buckhead-Atlanta