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Tummy Tucks 101: Know the Basics of Abdominoplasty Procedures

What is a “tummy tuck?”

An abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a “tummy tuck,” is a surgical procedure performed to tighten or firm up the skin around the stomach and abdomen. The goal is to remove loose skin on and around the torso. In general, tummy tucks are performed to correct a variety of conditions that can lead to unwanted and excessive skin around the abdomen.

For example, women often consider cosmetic surgery after significant weight loss, correct some hereditary conditions, or after pregnancy. In each instance, the desire being to improve the look and feel around the abdomen. Tummy tuck’s also are a critical component of what’s become known as a “mommy makeover.” This is for women looking to correct the effects associated with previous pregnancies like stretch marks or scars from C-sections. Often, tummy tucks are a confidence builder for women looking to achieve a specific body contour or shape around their waist. This is a basic idea of what tummy tucks are but there are few things to be aware tummy tucks are not.

What a “tummy tuck” is not

Abdominoplasty procedures are often mistaken for other cosmetic procedures, such as liposuctions. Although a patient may consider both procedures, each are distinct in the details of the actual operation and in the results they produce. First, unlike tummy tucks, liposuctions aren’t necessarily focused in area around the stomach. Liposuctions are performed on the buttocks, thighs, and other regions of the body carrying unwanted fat, as well as the stomach.

Additionally, while a tummy tucks may remove some unwanted fat as part of the procedure, that is not it’s primary purpose, whereas liposuctions are performed almost exclusively to remove fat from the body.

Another thing to consider, tummy tucks are not is a substitute for weight loss. Similar to the differences with liposuction, tummy tucks have less to do with fat and weight and more to do with the body contour and overall appearance of the torso. In fact, for patients that think they may undergo significant weight loss in the future, it may be best to hold off on a tummy tuck altogether.

Understanding these differences are important, but when considering any procedure, we encourage patients to consider their overall goals and the results they hope to achieve.

Understanding Tummy Tucks, the Benefits, Recovery Time, & Expectations

Now that you have a brief idea of what tummy tucks are, and what they’re not, let’s dive into some of the questions we often get from our patients about the benefits, recovery, and what to expect.


Tummy tucks are about far more than giving the stomach firmer look. An abdominoplasty boosts self-confidence by removing or smoothing out excessive skin and rectifying any unwanted affects from weight loss, pregnancy, or hereditary conditions. By making an incision below the belt line, this procedure will help deliver the body contour you have always wanted with a firm, smooth abdominal region while limiting the visibility of scarring.

Finally, despite being known as a “cosmetic procedure,” tummy tuck benefits go beyond looking better. In fact, tummy tucks have been linked to alleviating back pain and urinary incontinence after child birth. Again, each patient is unique and the benefits they seek will distinct to the patient.


Cosmetic surgery is typically an invasive surgery and tummy tucks are no different. As a result, one of the major considerations when considering an abdominoplasty is the recovery time and what to expect while recovering from the operation.

Most abdominoplasties are outpatient procedures and patients can expect to go home a few hours after the operation. Because of the location on the body, the abdomen, the recovery time is a little longer than other similarly invasive surgeries. Patients can expect a 2-4 week timeline before returning to work (contingent on the demands of the job) and 6-8 weeks before experiencing a complete recovery.

That said, the exact details of the procedures and recovery is unique to every patent. Our surgeons, Dr. Hess and Dr. Sandeen, will walk you through the recovery process and monitor your progress through numerous follow-up appoints.

Work schedule, family, and personal lives are factors that should be considered when thinking about the best time for your procedure. For us in Tucson, late-Fall to early-Winter is a great time to schedule a tummy tuck procedure to allow for enough recovery time to be prepared for the bathing suit weather that will allow you to show off your new curves in the summer.

Not only does Tucson boast some of the best sunshine and pool weather in the country, the Sonoran Desert welcomes bathing suit weather almost year around. Loose skin around the abdomen can be uncomfortable and deal a blow to a woman’s confidence. As a result, considering the recovery timeline can help you make the best decision on when to have the procedure.


There are going to be variations to the care and procedures wherever you decide to receive cosmetic surgical care, but if you choose Hess and Sandeen plastic surgery, you can expect complete care and support throughout the decision process, from consultation, to surgery, and through recovery. We’ll walk you through the process, monitor your recovery, and remain available for any questions you may have.

It’s also important to know there are a few different types of tummy tucks. As you move closer to considering the different options available, reaching out to a board certified surgeon is the best way to explore options and get a complete understanding of what to expect in terms of the benefits, recovery, and actual procedure.

Is a “tummy tuck” right for me?

Cosmetic surgery of any type is an intimate and personal decision and isn’t for everybody. It is our aim to make you feel as comfortable as possible and provide all the information you need to make an informed decision. Our clients have seen amazing, life-changing, results and our world class patient care and support has helped us become one of the highest rated plastic surgeons in Tucson.

Find out if you’re a candidate for a tummy tuck procedure by scheduling a free consultation today!

Call our office at (520) 297-3300 to get scheduled to speak with one of our board certified surgeons. You can also email us at or stop by our offices at in the La Cholla Corporate Park in Tucson, Arizona. An expert member of our team would love to discuss your unique goals and circumstances and help you explore what option may be best for you.

Reverse the Appearance of Aging with Eyelid Surgery

Eyelid surgery, also known as a blepharoplasty, has become one of the most common cosmetic surgeries in America. It is a procedure, often performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, that removes excess skin on and around the eyelids to give the eyes a smoother more youthful look.

As we age, so does our skin. This means  our eyelids become thinner and lose elasticity. A lack of elasticity, combined with gravity, results in excess skin collecting on the upper and lower eyelids. The excess skin cause wrinkles and bulging leaving a person looking older and appearing tired, and in some cases, impair their vision.

In Tucson, the year-around sun and heat put Southern Arizonans at even greater risk for seeing the effects of aging even sooner. Even if you take the proper precautions to protect yourself from the sun, the stress the sun puts on your skin will begin to take its toll. The eyelids are no exception.

Fortunately, there is a simple procedure for patients to reverse the signs of aging around the eyes, reduce or eliminate wrinkles, and deliver an immediate and lasting impact.

Benefits of Eyelid Surgery

The area around the eyes is one of the places where aging is first noticed and most apparent. As a result, eyelid surgery delivers some of the quickest and most striking results of all the cosmetic procedures available. Eyelid surgery is very minimally invasive, which makes recovery time very quick when compared to other cosmetic surgeries.

When patients elect to have eyelid surgery, they are energized with an appearance that looks rested and youthful. The rejuvenation that comes from improving the look around the eyes is an exciting change leaving patients feeling attractive and confident.

Not to mention, with the holiday season upon us, now is a great time to consider a cosmetic enhancement that will leave a lasting impression.

Benefits Beyond Improved Looks

Eyelid surgery goes beyond just the cosmetic benefits. Droopy eyelids or eyelids with excess skin can create significant vision impairments. When a person experiences issues with their vision, it can spurn a chain reaction of physiological issues including headaches, neck strain, strained eyes, and reduced peripheral vision.

Additionally, there is a condition known as eyelid ptosis. Like the effects of excess skin on the eyelid, ptosis causes the eyelid to droop over the eye, which can have a negative impact on a person’s vision or deliver an undesired cosmetic look. Ptosis causes weakened muscles around the eye causing the eyelid to hang over the eye, and it can affect people of all ages. A blepharoplasty surgery may be the best option, but in the case of ptosis, it is important to consult an ophthalmologist to ensure there aren’t any underlying causes or conditions also affecting the eye.

Procedure & Recovery Expectations

Eyelid surgery is very limited in terms of its invasiveness. It is an outpatient procedure that takes approximately 1 to 2 hours to complete depending on scope and complexity of the surgery. In most cases, a local anesthetic is used along with an oral sedative to assist the patient in relaxing during the operation. Some instances, anesthesia may be required, but your surgeon will work closely with you to discuss all options prior to surgery.

After the surgery, you will spend some time in the recovery room to ensure there are no complications and be home the same day. It is normal to experience swelling and soreness for the first 10-14 days after the procedure. The first two weeks following the operation, it is recommended to rest as much as possible and avoid strenuous activity. Full recovery is expected within approximately 2-4 weeks.

Am I a candidate for eyelid surgery?

Cosmetic surgery of any type is an intimate and personal decision and isn’t for everybody. It is our aim to make you feel as comfortable as possible and provide all the information you need to make an informed decision. Our clients have seen amazing, life-changing, results and our world class patient care and support has helped us become one of the highest rated plastic surgeons in Tucson.

Find out if you’re a candidate for a tummy tuck procedure by scheduling a free consultation today!

Call our office at (520) 297-3300 to get scheduled to speak with one of our board certified surgeons. You can also email us at or stop by our offices at in the La Cholla Corporate Park in Tucson, Arizona. An expert member of our team would love to discuss your unique goals and circumstances and help you explore what option may be best for you.

Nipple Changes After Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation has been one of the most popular cosmetic procedures around the world for years and was the top surgical procedure in the United States last year. Many women report much higher levels of self-confidence and happiness following breast enhancement procedures and report being extremely satisfied with the results of their surgeries.

Before surgery, however, learning what to expect post-surgery and how long it will take for a patient to feel completely recovered can help patients better prepare for what can be a life-transforming experience.

One of the most common questions that women have about breast augmentation is how the procedure might affect the size, shape or position of their nipples. In some cases, women hope to address a cosmetic concern related to their nipples as part of their breast enhancement procedure, while in others, women are looking for as little change as possible. Whichever the case may be for you, these four facts about nipples and breast enhancement should be able to give you a better idea of what you can expect.

Adding a breast lift can change the shape of your areolae

The areolae are the darker pigmented areas at the center of each breast that surround your nipples. For some women, large or asymmetrical areolae are a cosmetic concern that they’d like to resolve as part of their breast enhancement procedure.

While breast augmentation alone does not typically affect areola or nipple appearance, adding a breast lift to your procedure can alter their size and/or shape if you so choose. Women who wish to breastfeed may wish to wait until they’ve completed their families to schedule this specific procedure.

Breast augmentation can fix inverted nipples

Inverted or retracted nipples are often genetic and present from birth, but they can also be caused by trauma or injury. Using a specific surgical technique, a board-certified plastic surgeon can correct inverted nipples during your breast augmentation procedure.

Usually, this is done by making a small, simple incision through which your plastic surgeon can turn your nipple outward for an improved appearance. This simple procedure can also be performed on its own without also getting breast implants if you’re not interested in increasing breast volume as well.

Let your plastic surgeon know if your goal is to be able to breastfeed after surgery so that he or she can take this into account when planning your procedure.

Most women can still breastfeed after getting implants

If being able to breastfeed after getting implants is important to you, make sure you bring this up during your consultation with your plastic surgeon. Typically, the peri-areolar incision is avoided when this is the case in order to minimize the chances of interfering with nipple and duct function.

Instead, your plastic surgeon will most likely recommend inframammary incision placement, which should not affect your ability to breastfeed in the future.

Nipple position will soften as your implants settle

Don’t be alarmed if your nipples seem to be sitting a little too high on your chest wall directly after your breast augmentation, as this effect is normal. It can take some time for your breast implants to “drop and fluff,” or soften into a lower, natural-looking position. Up until this point, implants that are “riding high” on your chest wall can also temporarily affect your nipple position. The good news is that this is only temporary and the position of your nipples should begin to appear much more natural as your breast implants start to settle into place.

It’s important to note that, since every woman’s body is unique, there is no exact timeline for recovery. However, most surgeons agree that a full recovery can take on average six weeks or so, and women may notice that they feel perfectly fine after about a week.

Your surgeon will be able to assess your overall health and give you a more definitive timeline prior to the procedure.

At Hess & Sandeen plastic surgery, we want you to be an informed patient and get the best care possible. Please let us know if you have any further questions or if you would like to schedule a consultation where we can go over your specific case. Contact us today at 520-297-3300 to learn more about breast augmentation how it can benefit you.


Breast Reduction

5 5 1
I am a 68 year old woman who suffered from shoulder and neck pain for over 30 years. I had always been afraid of getting a breast reduction due to fear of strong pain meds and the recovery time. I finally went to Dr. Hess who assured me I would be able to handle any discomfort with Tylenol. And, that worked great because the pain wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Tylenol for 3 days and that was it. I am a very active horseback rider and Dr. Hess understood how important it was to me to have small breasts, not only to relieve neck/shoulder pain, but to make it easier to ride my horses a lot of miles. The surgery was a breeze and I was back on my horses 12 days post-op. Shoulder and neck pain is virtually gone! I am thrilled to have gone from an F cup to a B. I highly recommend Dr. Hess for this procedure as he was very caring and concerned about giving me what "I" wanted.

Recovery was easy and fast

5 5 1
I had a tummy tuck in November. He excellent and so is his office. The recovery was easy and fast. No complications thankfully. He really took wonderful care of me. I am honestly thinking about was else can I get done. I highly recommend him.

Professional, Helpful & Understanding

5 5 1
Dr. Sandeen and his office staff are professional, helpful and understanding. During my consultation appointment Dr. Sandeen answered all my questions and told me exactly how the surgery would go. My surgery went very well and I'm very pleased with the results. After my surgery Dr. Sandeen called to see how I was doing and I appreciated that courtesy. I would highly recommend Dr. Sandeen to anyone looking for a doctor of plastic surgery.

I Don't Look Tired Anymore

5 5 1
I originally went to Dr. Sandeen to have my marionette lines removed. I knew beforehand he probably would want to fix my neck too. He suggested I have my lower eyes done so I would look refreshed. I had all three done and I'm so glad I listened to him about my eyes. What a difference. I no longer look tired and my neck looks fabulous, as does the rest of my face. Dr. Sandeen answers your questions and explains the procedures perfectly. Follow up visits were on-time and informative about taking care of my incisions. Dr. Sandeen has a very nice sense of humor and his office staff is professional and pleasant.


Breast Augmentation  •  Breast Reduction
Breast Reconstruction  •  Breast Lift
Gynecomastia  •  Transgender
Tummy Tuck  •  Lower Body Lift  •  Thigh Lift
Body Contouring  •  Liposuction
Facelift  •  Browlift
Eyelid Surgery  •  Ear Surgery
Arm Lift  •  Hand Surgery
Non-surgical OptionsNon-surgical Options
Dysport  •  Injectable Fillers
Skin ReconstructionSkin Reconstruction
Skin Cancer  •  Scar Revision