What is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure for women (or men) who have lost abdominal tone following a pregnancy or significant weight loss. The purpose of a tummy tuck is to remove excess fat and skin from the abdominal region, and restore abdominal strength in muscles that have weakened or separated. The ideal outcome is a smooth and firm abdomen.
This surgical procedure can be customized to meet each patient’s specific goals. There are several variations of this treatment that can be utilized to correct or improve specific areas of the mid-section.

Is a Tummy Tuck Right for Me?

A tummy tuck procedure can vary significantly from person to person. You may be a good candidate for a tummy tuck if:
Your weight has been stable for a minimum of six months. Once you’ve reached a consistent weight, this will give the surgeon a general idea of how much excess skin needs to be removed or tightened.
You are unhappy with the appearance of your mid-section. You have loose skin or excess fat on your abdomen that you want removed and tightened.
You don’t smoke. If you smoke, most plastic surgeons will ask that you stop smoking entirely, or six weeks prior to your procedure at a minimum, as well as six weeks post-operation.
If you believe you are a good candidate for a tummy tuck based on the qualifications outlined above, we suggest you schedule a consultation with Dr. Buchanan to discuss the possibility of a tummy tuck and the added benefits it could bring your appearance.


An abdominoplasty is considered a very safe procedure, but all medical procedures come with risks and potential for side effects. The side effects of a tummy tuck can include, but are not limited to:
Adverse reaction to anesthesia
Excessive bruising
Prolonged wound healing
Excessive bleeding
Skin discoloration
Dramatic fluid buildup in the extremities or abdomen (seroma)
Fat necrosis
Nerve damage
Recurrent looseness of skin
Uneven skin across the abdomen, or asymmetry


While everyone’s situation is different, recovering from a tummy tuck requires plenty of time to let your body heal properly.

Tummy tucks are generally outpatient surgeries that allow you to go home the same day you have the procedure. It’s suggested that you have someone to assist you at home for at least the first few days. Typically, we suggest at least 1-2 weeks of limitations on strenuous activity that will elevate your heart rate. During this time, it is critical that you rest as much as possible but still maintain some normal activity to avoid blood clots. You will need to stay flexed at the waist with your head elevated and pillows beneath your knees. This positioning will keep your abdomen elevated and reduce the pull of skin on your stomach.

If drains were placed during your surgery, you will need to take special care of them. You will need to empty the drain bulb as it fills with fluid and take note of the amount of fluid each time its emptied. This information is important to pass along to your surgeon in order to track the progress of your healing.

Compression garments are typically used during the recovery period as well. The garment should be worn 24 hours a day for at least the first few weeks of recovery in order to help reduce swelling and prevent fluid build ups.

Light to moderate activity can be resumed 2-4 weeks post-surgery. Reintroduce movements very slowly, and avoid lifting anything heavy during this time. Depending on the extent of your surgery and incisions, normal activity can usually be resumed 6 weeks post-operation.

How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?

The cost of a tummy tuck surgery varies significantly depending on the complexity of your case and the geographic location of where the surgery is performed. It’s also important to note that the procedure amount does not reflect additional surgery costs, including:
Anesthesia fees
Operating room costs
Blood or additional medical testing
Compression garments for post-surgery
Miscellaneous expenses, such as surgeon’s fees

Additionally, the cost of the procedure can be affected by the following circumstances:
The amount of experience and overall reputation of your surgeon. You’ll find that surgeon’s with many years of experience, or that are highly regarded, will typically cost more.
The techniques the surgeon uses for the procedure and the complexity of the case.
Where your surgeon’s practice is located. Typically, larger cities have higher operational costs and are more expensive.

If you’ve considered a tummy tuck surgery, but feel like you are limited financially, speak to Dr. Buchanan or one of the VIVIFY staff members about financing options. We do our best to work with each patient by offering financing plans to help her achieve her surgical goals.

Will Insurance Cover My Tummy Tuck?

Typically, health insurance companies do not cover a tummy tuck surgery because it is considered a cosmetic enhancement procedure. However, you should still do your research before proceeding with this surgery and check with your health insurance provider. It is important to be clear on your financial responsibility before undergoing any surgery.

Finding the Right Plastic Surgeon

During your search for a potential plastic surgeon, you should only consider a surgeon who is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Board-certified surgeons spend a minimum of 6-8 years in training after medical school to ensure that they are well-trained in both aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.
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