Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty
Consider a tummy tuck to gain a slimmer abdomen by eliminating excess skin and fat resulting from pregnancy, aging, fluctuations in weight or prior surgery.
If you’ve been considering tummy tuck surgery, the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery team at Virginia Mason’s Hospital & Seattle Medical Center, provides the expert guidance you need to feel confident when planning a procedure. Board-certified plastic surgeons Alexandra Schmidek, MD, James Schlenker, MD and Simone Kantola, MD, align experience and technology in one of the Seattle region’s top hospitals for the safest, most advanced surgical care available. Call (206) 223-6831 to schedule a private, personalized consultation.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is an operation that removes excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen and may include tightening of the abdominal wall muscles to correct separation of the muscles and minimize bulging or protrusion. Common reasons people choose tummy tuck surgery include:
- To eliminate sagging skin resulting from pregnancy, aging, or major weight loss.
- To reduce the look of prominent stretch marks. While not all stretch marks are improved by tummy tuck surgery, those below the navel can sometimes be eliminated or minimized by the removal or tightening of abdominal skin.
- To achieve a tighter and more contoured abdomen and waist.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
Good tummy tuck patients are generally healthy but are unhappy with their abdomen due to areas of loose skin or fat that have not responded to diet and exercise. Ideal candidates have reached a stable weight and do not smoke. Patients that are anticipating a major change in their weight or women who may be considering future pregnancy may be encouraged to delay their tummy tuck procedure to achieve a long lasting correction of abdominal contour. Our surgeons spend significant time listening to their patients and establish shared realistic expectations of the outcome of the surgery through a unique operative plan to address each patient’s individual goals.
The initial consultation with one of our plastic surgeons will include:
- A discussion of goals and expectations for the procedure. A surgeon will review options to develop an individualized surgical plan that will balance goals, anatomy, and the current techniques that are available for improving abdominal contour.
- The care team will review what to expect before and after the surgery, including the risks and anticipated benefits to the procedure. Any medical issues that might affect the procedure’s outcome are carefully reviewed.
- Patients are encouraged to ask questions and discuss concerns during this visit.
About the Tummy Tuck Procedure
A tummy tuck procedure usually involves making an incision above the pubic hairline and another around the navel. The type and length of the incisions will be determined by the degree of reshaping necessary.
The skin and fat that will be removed from the lower abdomen are elevated from the abdominal wall to reveal the vertical muscles of the abdomen. The muscles may be tightened by repositioning and anchoring them together at the midline. Excess tissue is removed, the skin is redraped and the navel repositioned.
A tummy tuck is performed under sedation or general anesthesia and is completed in about two to three hours. Some patients may benefit from an overnight stay in the hospital. Temporary drainage tubes may be inserted to remove excess fluid from the surgical site. Patients should anticipate swelling and some discomfort in the first days of recovery. The newly tightened muscles must be protected from the strain of lifting and other strenuous activity for several weeks after the procedure. Many patients can return to work within two weeks.
Tummy Tuck Results
Incision scars will flatten and fade over time, however scars from an abdominoplasty are usually concealed by underwear or bathing suits. With a balanced diet and regular exercise, results are long-lasting. Individuals who are considering substantial weight loss or women who may become pregnant should postpone tummy tuck surgery.
Why Choose Virginia Mason for Tummy Tuck Surgery?
Drs. Schmidek and Schlenker are board-certified plastic surgeons supported by a care team that is highly experienced in performing cosmetic surgery. As a large multispecialty group practice and an award-winning acute care hospital, Virginia Mason offers the most advanced care available, with a level of quality and safety unmatched by free-standing outpatient medical centers.
Next Steps: More Information About a Tummy Tuck
Learn more about the tummy tuck process at Virginia Mason, and the level of quality care you can expect from our entire care team by calling (206) 223-6831 to schedule a private, personalized consultation.