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Split image of a woman's torso; the left side shows a larger body with visible belly fat wearing a black panty and blue lace bra, while the right side shows a slimmer body with a flat stomach wearing the same underwear set.

Tummy Tucks: How Long Do They Take?

Tummy tuck surgery can be a helpful and effective way of addressing separated abdominal muscles, loose skin, and abdominal fat. If you want to contour your waistline and are interested in surgical methods of bringing in your waistline and resolving bulges and loose skin, you may be curious about the duration and scope of this surgery. 

When discussing how long a tummy tuck procedure takes, it is helpful to think about the entire procedure as a whole, including the consultation, the preparation process, the procedure itself, and the recovery after surgery. Each component is a crucial part of the overall outcome and success of the surgery, and we take each seriously at Finesse Cosmetic Surgery in Boston, MA.

What Is a Tummy Tuck? 

A tummy tuck procedure, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a surgery designed to enhance the appearance of the abdominal area. It is a good choice for patients who have excess skin or fat due to pregnancy, weight loss, or aging. It may also be right for those with muscle laxity in the abdominal area. With a tummy tuck, you can enjoy a flatter and more toned abdomen than any other procedure or treatment is likely to achieve.

There are several different types of tummy tucks available, tailored to suit your needs. The two most common are: 

Full Abdominoplasty

This extensive procedure addresses both the upper and lower abdomen. It involves a horizontal incision made from hip to hip along with the removal of excess fat and skin and the suturing of abdominal muscles to make them tighter and stronger. It also typically involves repositioning the navel. Those with significant laxity or muscle weakness may be good candidates for this surgery.

Mini Tummy tuck

A mini tummy tuck focuses on the lower abdomen and may be ideal for those with minimal excess skin or muscle separation. With this surgery, the incision is smaller and the belly button is not usually repositioned. 

How Long Do Tummy Tucks Take? 

Pre-Surgical Considerations

Your tummy tuck surgery doesn’t just begin when you receive your anesthetic. It begins weeks beforehand with a consultation. It is important to consult with us extensively before the surgery, both to make sure you are a good candidate and to ensure that you know what to expect. 

We will examine your abdominal area, talk to you about medical history, and discuss any changes to your lifestyle you may need to make in preparation for surgery, such as stopping certain medications. We may also have you quit smoking to help improve your recovery.

Anesthesia and Incision

To begin, anesthesia is administered to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure. The type of anesthesia can vary depending on surgeon and patient preference or other extenuating circumstances. Next, the surgeon will make an incision along the lower abdomen, often within the bikini line. The length of the incision will depend on the type of surgery being performed and the amount of correction needed. 

Repairing the Abdominal Muscles

Once the area has been opened, your surgeon will be able to begin repairing the area. This involves tightening the underlying weakened or separated muscles by suturing them together. This creates a firmer and more toned abdominal wall.

Removing Excess Skin and Fat

Once the abdominal wall has been addressed, the excess skin and fat can be removed from the abdominal area. Sometimes even more fat can be removed through liposuction during this stage. The skin that is not being removed is pulled down to drape naturally over your newly flattened abdominal wall.

Navel Repositioning

It is sometimes necessary to reposition the navel during abdominoplasty surgery. In this case, a new hole will be made for the belly button, which will then be sutured into place.

Drains and Sutures

To finish the surgery, your surgeon will close your incisions. Sometimes a drain is inserted to help keep the area free from excess fluids during the healing process. This will be removed after a week or two following your tummy tuck surgery.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

Duration of the Procedure and Aftercare

The tummy tuck procedure itself only takes a few hours, usually between two and five depending on the scope of the surgery. Then you can factor in an additional hour or two that will be spent in a recovery room while we carefully monitor your condition. Most tummy tucks don’t require a hospital stay, allowing most patients to go home the day of their surgery. 

Initial Recovery Period

The first week after abdominoplasty surgery is significant in terms of recovery. During this week, you will likely still have the surgical drain, and you will be wearing a compression garment to minimize swelling and help your body to settle into its new contour. You will want to minimize activities during this week with small amounts of walking and no bending or lifting. 

Return to Normal Activities

Depending on your job, you may be able to return to work after two weeks. In six to eight weeks, you may be feeling more like yourself. However, it can take several months before you feel fully healed and longer before the swelling completely goes down. Follow your doctor’s instructions after your abdominoplasty so that you know when you can go back to all of your normal activities. 

Final Results

While you will notice a difference right away, swelling in the area can mask your results for several months. During the year following your tummy tuck, you will start to notice results that are more and more improved. In a year, all of your swelling should be gone and you should be able to enjoy your full results. 

Learn More About Tummy Tuck Procedures in Boston, MA

At Finesse Cosmetic Surgery we can walk you through all the details of getting a tummy tuck, including expected duration and the results that you may be able to achieve. Call us today at (781) 790-4409 to schedule your consultation in Boston, MA, or fill out an online form.