We Answered the Web’s Most Asked Tummy Tuck Questions


A tummy tuck at our plastic surgery practice in Washington, DC, can create transformative results. But the procedure is slightly more intensive than other common treatments. There are different techniques and important recovery details that patients should keep in mind before surgery. Because of this, many patients have extensive questions when they first begin their research.

To make things easier for those interested in a tummy tuck, we collected the most frequently asked questions. This blog post will answer some common questions about tummy tuck surgery to help you feel more informed about the procedure.

How is a tummy tuck done?

A tummy tuck is performed by creating a low incision hip-to-hip, right below the bikini line. Another incision is then made around the bellybutton. The surgeon can then remove saggy skin, suction out fatty tissue via liposuction, and place the bellybutton in an aesthetically pleasing location. This process creates a firm, toned abdomen that makes patients appear more youthful.

What is a mini tummy tuck?

A mini tummy tuck is a less invasive version of the traditional tummy tuck procedure. The incision size is similar to a C-section scar, and the procedure requires less recovery time than a full tummy tuck. However, a mini tummy tuck can only address loose skin directly below the bellybutton. Those who wish to improve the entire abdomen would benefit more from a full tummy tuck.

Is a tummy tuck painful?

Like after any surgery, tummy tuck recovery involves some mild discomfort. However, our surgeons utilize the latest pain reduction techniques to make sure patients are as comfortable as possible. We offer Exparel® to tummy tuck cases that involve repair of the abdominal muscles. This opioid-free drug is administered during the operation, and it significantly reduces pain during the first few days after surgery.

How long is tummy tuck recovery?

Recovery from tummy tuck surgery typically lasts for 3 to 4 weeks. After 3 to 5 days, your drains will be removed during your post-op appointment. After 7 to 10 days, you can comfortably return to work and perform light activities. Most patients return to their normal activity levels after 3 weeks. Throughout this period, gentle movement (such as walking) can help improve the healing process.

How long are tummy tuck drains needed for? When are they removed?

The amount of time tummy tuck drains are needed after surgery can vary for each patient. Generally, they need to stay in between a few days and a couple of weeks, and they will usually be removed within your first few post-op visits with your surgeon. They help prevent fluid from building up in the space that was operated on during the procedure. Once the drains are no longer collecting a significant amount of fluid, they can be removed at your surgeon’s office.

Browse our before-and-after gallery to see examples from real tummy tuck patients. If you would like to learn more about your plastic surgery options in the Washington, DC, area, request a consultation online or call (703) 560-2850 (Annandale, VA) or (301) 652-7700 (Chevy Chase, MD).

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