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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 cday@hessandsandeen.com 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.


Breast Augmentation  •  Breast Reduction
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