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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

What is an abdominoplasty/panniculectomy?

 Abdominoplasty and/or Panniculectomy are an incredibly powerful tool for reshaping the abdomen. In many patients, the primary problem is an overabundance of fatty tissue underneath the skin, which can be addressed with weight loss either from dieting, exercising, or in more severe cases weight loss surgery. While diet and exercise are a very important component for treatment of excessive skin and fat of the abdomen, it may result in an incomplete fix, as overgrowth of skin and laxity of abdominal muscles does not always respond to traditional weight forms of weight loss.


Abdominoplasty refers to removal of excess skin and tightening of abdominal muscles. Panniculectomy refers to the removal of pannus, which is an overgrowth of skin and adipose tissue that does not respond to traditional forms of weight loss. Combining removal of excessive skin and fat with tightening of midline abdominal muscles, gives patients a flatter and more cosmetically pleasing abdomen. These two procedures can be combined to the extent necessary to deliver the desired results and customized for each patient based on their underlying anatomy and ultimate cosmetic goal.



Patients particularly well suited for this type of procedure include those who have undergone massive weight loss surgery, lost a large amount of weight with diet/exercise, mothers who have noted an excess of belly skin, fat or bulging of abdomen that does not respond to diet and exercise, and anyone who is unable to get rid of belly skin and fat despite diet and exercise. Lastly, patients with midline abdominal wall hernias make excellent candidates for Abdominoplasty.


This surgical procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis, in our Joint Commission certified operating suite. Surgery lasts on average of 3 hours, and then patients are discharged home that same day. Patients who undergo Abdominoplasty/Panniculectomy as outpatient surgery will follow up in our office 1-3 days post operatively. 

Things to know:

  • Patients will have approximately 2 drains after surgery. Inflammation from surgery causes an accumulation of serous fluid that is managed with these drains. You will need to milk and empty these drains, recording the output preferably twice daily and at the same time each day. Drains will remain in place until output is less than 30ml for an entire 24-hour period.
  • You must wear an abdominal binder post operatively at all times, except when showering.
  • You may begin showering in 48 hours after surgery. When showering, wash all areas with soap and water, and pat dry with a towel. It is important that you do not submerge your surgical incision in water (i.e. no bath tubs, swimming pools, etc.).
  • Sutures will be absorbable. Follow up appointments will be scheduled on a weekly basis until drains are removed, at which time follow up appointment will typically be schedule in two-week intervals. You may begin scar massage and use of scar creams approximately 3 weeks after surgery.

Postoperative restrictions are as follows:

No heavy lifting, pushing, or performing any activities that engage the abdominal muscles for 6 weeks. We will gradually increase the weight you may lift and your activities over the next few weeks. At 8 weeks you are cleared for full activity