How Long Does a Tummy Tuck Last?

Medically Reviewed on 1/18/2023
Tummy Tuck
If you maintain a constant weight, the benefits of a tummy tuck are generally long-lasting.

The results of tummy tucks are meant to be permanent. Various factors, including lifestyle choices and other health problems, might alter the span of treatment outcomes. Maintaining a steady weight with a balanced diet and regular exercise is essential to maintaining the quality of the results after tummy tuck surgery.

People who undergo a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty often have a long-lasting and permanent effect. However, if a person has gained weight due to poor diet or fitness, the leftover fat cells might become hypertrophied and increase in size.

What is a tummy tuck procedure?

Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a surgical procedure to remove extra skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen and tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. A complete tummy tuck procedure takes two to three hours; a mini tummy tuck may take an hour or two to complete.

The surgeon will usually make a long incision (12 inches or shorter) between the belly button and the pubic hairline. To release the navel from the surrounding tissue, a second incision is made. The incision for a mini tummy tuck is substantially shorter, and the navel may not be repositioned.

The plastic surgeon next separates the skin from the abdominal wall up to your ribs and raises a huge skin flap to reveal inner abdominal vertical muscles. The surgeon ties these muscles together and stitches them into their new position to tighten them. This strengthens the abdominal wall and narrows the waistline.

The skin is simply divided between the incision line and the navel in a mini tummy tuck. This skin flap is stretched down, extra skin is removed, and the flap is stitched back in place.

The tummy tuck is a major surgery. It uses general or spinal anesthesia. However, owing to major developments in the safety of anesthesia and prevention of post-procedure complications, abdominoplasty can now be performed as an outpatient procedure.

Am I a good candidate for a tummy tuck procedure?

Most people who choose this surgery are postpartum individuals. They may regret the changes in their body shape and look caused by childbearing. It helps repair damaged muscles in many circumstances.

Good candidates for a tummy tuck procedure

  • Are lean and ready to maintain a constant weight
  • With drooping skin and muscle loss near the abdominal region
  • Are unable to diet or exercise for several reasons
  • Good overall health with a positive attitude and reasonable expectations
  • Healthy postpartum individuals (It is strongly advised to postpone the surgical procedure to restore your pre-baby body until six months to a year after you fully complete childbearing and breastfeeding.)

Not ideal candidates for tummy tuck

  • Whose sole objective is to shed a significant amount of weight (It should not be used as a substitute for weight loss.)
  • Are planning to get pregnant. (Vertical muscles are tightened after surgery, and subsequent pregnancies might split those muscles, causing difficulties.)
  • With severe obesity or health problems
  • Who lead an unhealthy lifestyle, such as smoking, drinking, or using drugs

What are the potential benefits of a tummy tuck procedure?

Tummy tuck surgery might improve the person’s confidence and the aesthetics of the body.

Benefits of tummy tuck surgery

  • Reduced excess abdominal skin
  • Tightened abdominal muscles
  • Smoother, firmer skin of the lower stomach and abdomen
  • Improved appearance of moderate to severe stretch marks
  • Slimmer, more toned waistline and abdomen

Aside from these advantages, tummy tuck surgery can be used to spot-reduce fatty tissue on the waistline, abdomen, and flanks (love handles) using liposuction.


What is weight loss surgery? See Answer

How is recovery after the tummy tuck procedure?

Recovery from an abdominoplasty could be more complex than other operations. A tummy tuck requires extensive tissue dissection and damage. Your body will go into a reactive inflammatory condition, focusing all its energy on healing and fighting off infections. This means many weeks of tiredness on top of regular post-tummy tuck symptoms.

Common side effects of tummy tuck procedure

  • Pain
    • A usual side effect and normally peaks two to three days after surgery and then improves as the body heals.
    • Your surgeon will offer you a prescription for pain medicine, which will usually be adequate to relieve your discomfort. Resting and allowing your body to recuperate help speed up the healing process.
  • Numbness
    • After a tummy tuck, some individuals have paresthesia (numbness) and skin tingling. Abdominoplasty entails removing the whole thickness of your abdominal wall, which contains many sensory nerve fibers that carry sensation to the brain.
    • When these nerves are injured, you may experience a momentary lack of feeling in the abdominal region.
  • Swelling
    • Your lower abdomen, hips, thighs, and groin region will swell after a tummy tuck. Swelling occurs as a result of your cells releasing inflammatory fluids to help heal wounds and fight microorganisms.
    • The swelling will peak approximately one week following tummy tuck surgery. Then, it will start to disappear. Mild edema will persist in the lower abdomen for a few more months.
  • Bruising
    • You should expect bruises following your abdominoplasty because injured blood cells gather beneath the skin. Initially, the bruises will be dark red or purple. They will gradually become blue, then yellow-green, and, ultimately, fade away after three or four weeks.

Apart from these side effects, people may experience side effects related to anesthesia or other severe complications. Discussing your side effects with your doctor before the procedure is important.

How to maintain the results of a tummy tuck

For many reasons, people may gain weight following a tummy tuck. Understanding how weight gain occurs may help you avoid these problems and maintain your results.

  • Lifestyle
    • Living an unhealthy lifestyle is the most common cause of undesired weight gain.
    • Eating high-calorie foods with a sedentary lifestyle might lead to rapid weight gain.
    • A balanced diet and regular exercise are essential to maintaining an optimum physique. Regardless of how many plastic surgery treatments you choose, developing healthy behaviors is the ideal way to look and feel your best.
  • Hormones
    • If your hormones are out of balance, your body may acquire weight quickly. If exercise and good nutrition are not enough to solve the problem, talk to your doctor about getting checked for a hormonal disorder.
  • Stress
    • Typically leads people to eat more and sleep less, contributing to weight gain. Stress might result in hormonal disorders.
    • If you are going through a bad phase, exercise, yoga, and meditation may relieve your stressors.
  • Post-surgery water retention
    • The body is placed under a lot of strain because it works to recuperate and mend after surgery. Water is often trapped in the space between your organs, giving you a bloated look.
    • Swollen hands and feet may indicate that you require additional time to break down these fluids naturally. Be active and carefully follow your doctor's post-op recommendations.

Gaining a few pounds following your treatment will not jeopardize your overall tummy tuck outcomes. You might fluctuate within 10 to 15 pounds of your target weight without concern. Weight gain of more than 15 pounds can cause skin and abdominal muscles to gradually expand out of position. This might cause a stomach bulge and reduce skin elasticity.

How soon can I see my tummy tuck results?

People are likely to notice a difference in the appearance and projection of their abdomen immediately following tummy tuck surgery. It may not resemble the flat abdomen they imagined. The time it takes for the abdomen to recover may differ among people. People may have noticeable edema after three to four months. However, it might take up to a year to see the complete result.

Swelling makes the abdomen look bloated following rehabilitation. When this heals, the abdomen will start to take on its new form. During the surgery, the skin, muscles, and fat of the abdomen were all restored or changed. These structures require time to recover and adjust to their new surroundings.

Ultrasound massages can help alleviate edema and fluid buildup. The results appear between three and six months but may take up to a year.

What is the outcome of the tummy tuck procedure?

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the tummy tuck treatment is one of the top five surgical procedures. The results are positive, and people may see instant benefits that restore self-esteem.

A tummy tuck can give the abdomen a more toned and leaner appearance by removing extra skin and fat and strengthening the abdominal wall. If you maintain a constant weight, the benefits of a tummy tuck are generally long-lasting. Some medical difficulties, such as back pain caused by improper posture and the weight of a ventral hernia, could be resolved.

A tummy tuck will cause lifelong scars. Even though the scar heals nicely, it may take up to 18 months or two years for certain people for the scar to diminish and reap the full stomach tuck effects.

If you are unable to shed the increased weight, you may require a tummy tuck revision. Revision surgery is usually more complicated than the first treatment. Doctors advise people to maintain active, healthy lifestyles following surgery and avoid dramatic lifestyle changes.

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Medically Reviewed on 1/18/2023
Image Source: iStock image

Tummy Tuck.

Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).