Center for Plastic Surgery
1945 Old Gallows Road, Suite 400
Tysons Corner, VA 22182
Phone: (703) 560-2850
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Center for Plastic Surgery
5550 Friendship Blvd, Suite 130
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Phone: (301) 652-7700
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

We Answered the Web’s Most-Asked Tummy Tuck Questions


A tummy tuck at our Washington, DC, plastic surgery practice creates transformative results. But the procedure is more extensive than most elective surgeries. With different techniques and important recovery details that patients should keep in mind before surgery, many patients have numerous questions when beginning 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?

Our plastic surgeons in Washington, DC, begin tummy tuck procedures by making a horizontal incision from hip to hip, just below the bikini line. Another incision is then made around the bellybutton. The surgeon can then remove saggy skin, suction out fatty tissue using liposuction, and place the bellybutton in an aesthetically pleasing location. This technique creates a firm, toned abdomen that helps restore patients’ confidence in their bodies.

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 use Exparel® during tummy tuck procedures that involve the 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 do drains stay in after a tummy tuck?

The amount of time tummy tuck drains are needed after surgery can vary for each patient. Generally, they remain in place for at least a few days to as much as a couple of weeks. Typically, your surgeon removes them during one of your first few post-operative appointments. Surgical drains help prevent fluid from building up in the space created between the skin and muscle created 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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