Peter Galpin, M.D., FACS

Kahului, HI (96732)

200 Kalepa Pl # 203

(XXX) XXX-XX00 phone

(808) 877-7480 fax

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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck): Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQ's are designed to help you with general information about a given procedure. They are not designed to give full detail, or take the place of informational consults with a Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.


What does a tummy tuck do?

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is designed to address the three major factors effecting abdominal contour: muscle wall laxity, fatty layer, and overlying skin quality. As it addresses all the major components of contour, it is particularly suited to patients with multiple components contributing to their unfavorable abdominal contour.

How is a tummy tuck done?

While this is a question that is too complex to answer fully here, there are usually two incisions: one in the bikini line and one around the belly button. Through those incisions, the muscle wall is tightened, and the fat layer is sculpted, the excess skin is then pulled tight, and removed.

How does a tummy tuck compare to liposuction?

As with most cosmetic options, it is not that a tummy tuck is good and liposuction is bad or vice versa, they both have pros and cons. Liposuction, in general has a faster recovery time, and people seem think of it as a "smaller operation" (I would differ with this view). However, it also addresses less than a tummy tuck, as it only deals with the fatty layer (any muscle laxity, or skin excess are not addressed with liposuction).

What are the risks of a tummy tuck?

In addition to the usual risks of surgery (anesthetic, infection etc.) patients should discuss the placement of their incisions/scars, the possibility of wound healing problems, collections of fluid under the skin (hematoma/seroma), asymmetries (differences between the two sides), and potential changes in sensation. While the chances of any of these are small, some of them can lead to the need for hospitalization.

How long will it take me to recover?

I usually talk about three phases to recovery: early, intermediate, and long term. Early recovery is the first three weeks. All patients spend one night at the surgical facility (occasionally patients may elect to spend an additional night or two). Patients should plan on at least one week off of work (two is far more realistic), and no aerobic activity for at least three weeks. Intermediate phase goes out to about six weeks, during this time you will feel better and better, and your stamina will begin to return to normal. Long term recover takes a few months, this is where sensation returns to normal, activity returns to normal and the scars soften and fade.

Do you perform tummy tucks in your office?

I do not perform full tummy tucks (see below) in the office. I perform these either at the hospital or surgery center. This gives patients the highest degree of security, and service. All patients spend one night at the facility, but can go home in the morning.

Is there anything less than a tummy tuck but more than liposuction?

There is a “mini” tummy tuck. This addresses the muscle layer below the belly button, and can remove some small amounts of skin excess. It is usually combined with liposuction. It has faster recovery times than the “full” procedure, but can address more than liposuction alone.

See Abdomen Procedural Photos