Tummy Tuck

If you want to improve the appearance of your abdomen, Dr. Neal Goldberg is proud to offer tummy tuck surgery at his plastic surgery practice.

A tummy tuck is designed to address excess abdominal skin and loose tissue after pregnancy or major weight loss. Also referred to as “abdominoplasty,” the procedure may be part of a comprehensive post-bariatric body contouring plan. During surgery, excess skin and fat are removed, and the muscles of the abdominal wall are repaired.

The techniques used during the tummy tuck procedure — liposuction and surgical excision — are common to many body contouring techniques. Surgical excision is used to remove excess skin, while liposuction targets fat. Often utilized as a combination approach to address an expanded waistline, liposuction and excision are conducted during a tummy tuck to produce a tauter, more contoured abdomen.

What Can a Tummy Tuck Accomplish?

Abdominoplasty is the only body contouring procedure designed to address the skin, fat, and underlying muscles to achieve a firmer and flatter abdomen. This can produce excellent results for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight, who have previously had children, or whose abdominal muscles have naturally weakened due to the forces of genetics and aging. In general, a full tummy tuck is performed to:

  • Get rid of sagging, excess skin to attain a smoother look
  • Repair the abdominal muscles to reduce a bulging aesthetic
  • Remove fat to provide slimmer abdominal contours

As a result of the improvements listed above, many individuals find that their clothes fit much better after surgery and they enjoy higher levels of self-confidence. For patients who were bothered by chafing and irritation caused by the excess skin folds, a tummy tuck may also be able to provide relief.

Am I a Good Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

If you are concerned about the loose skin and fat surrounding your midsection, you may be a good candidate for this procedure. Your midsection may look out of proportion with the rest of your body, a common problem following pregnancy or substantial weight loss.  Men and women who have lost a significant amount of weight typically benefit from the procedure, as weight loss tends to leave behind loose, inelastic skin around the waist and abdomen. A tummy tuck can be an excellent treatment to remove excess tissue, resculpting the abdomen to achieve a more taut, smooth contour. Ideally, you should be of stable weight, in good health, and a non-smoker if you’re considering abdominoplasty.

Though the procedure doesn’t make pregnancy impossible, it is best if you are not planning any future pregnancies. Having children after a tummy tuck tends to alter or “undo” the final results, and you may be left with additional excess skin and/or stubborn fat following your pregnancy. Finally, candidates for tummy tuck surgery should have realistic expectations for surgery. Dr. Goldberg will go over the types of results you can expect to achieve during your consultation and show you before-and-after photos from previous patients.


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Why Does the Abdomen Bulge Outward?

Even if you live an active lifestyle and stick to a healthy diet, many patients still struggle to improve a hanging or protruding abdomen. This can cause immense frustration for men and women who do not see their efforts come to fruition, no matter how hard they work to achieve their ideal figure. There are a few reasons why the abdomen may still have a bulging appearance despite regular exercise: 

  • Visceral fat vs. subcutaneous fat: Dieting and exercise are very effective in reducing internal fat between the abdominal organs — known as “visceral” fat — but subcutaneous fat is located in isolated areas outside of the body, and can be resistant to exercise. This is why some patients choose liposuction to smooth stubborn bulges that do not respond to efforts in toning, dieting, or working out. 
  • Separated or weakened abdominal muscles: Pregnancy and weight gain can both cause the underlying musculature to stretch or weaken. Even after losing weight or giving birth, the abdominal muscles do not self-repair. This can prevent patients from gaining the taut or flat belly they desire, no matter how much exercise is performed. 
  • Inelastic abdominal skin: Over time (and often exacerbated by factors like genetics, pregnancy, or weight gain), the skin on the abdomen can become looser and thinner. If you notice a loss of skin tone, there are no non-surgical treatments that can remove excess, hanging skin and restore its natural elasticity. 

If you maintain an active life and still do not see your desired results, abdominoplasty may be the right solution to help you obtain a slimmer, leaner, and more contoured abdomen. Dr. Goldberg can help you determine the right treatment option upon a discussion of your concerns and goals.

“Dr. Goldberg and his staff are very friendly and professional. I had a tummy tuck done by Dr. Goldberg and he did an excellent job. I am extremely happy with my results. Dr. Goldberg is an amazing surgeon that I would highly recommend.”
- Diana J.
March 23, 2018

What to Expect From the Tummy Tuck Procedure

Tummy tuck surgery is a rather extensive surgery that requires between 2-5 hours of operating time. After general anesthesia has been administered, Dr. Goldberg initiates surgery by marking the incision sites, being careful to minimize visible scarring as much as possible. These incisions are made just above the pubic hairline, below the abdomen, and at the swimsuit line.

Next, the abdominal muscles that have been stretched out from previous pounds or pregnancy are repaired and tightened with sutures. Excess skin in these areas is pulled down and inward, or ’tucked’. The skin is then re-draped, and the incision closed. If liposuction is conducted on the upper abdomen, hips or flanks, it is administered before the incisions are closed. The navel may be remodeled and possibly relocated in order to simplify the process of tightening and re-draping the skin.

What Is a Mini Tummy Tuck?

For some individuals, our board-certified plastic surgeon may choose to perform a mini tummy tuck. In this procedure, a single incision will be made in the pubic hairline and often, more aggressive liposuction may be performed to achieve the desired result. This type of surgery does not necessitate the recreation of the umbilicus as a traditional tummy tuck may.

Full Tummy Tuck

Mini Tummy Tuck

Full vs. Mini Tummy Tuck

Choosing between a mini and full tummy tuck is about more than personal preference. Patients who have excess or loose skin around and above the belly button will not fully benefit from a mini tummy tuck the way they would with a complete procedure. A mini tummy tuck is best for individuals with concerns exclusively located below the belly button, as this method does not address the upper abdomen.

Your Recovery From Tummy Tuck Surgery

Gauze dressings and mild compression are applied immediately after surgery to minimize swelling. You may be advised to begin walking within 12-18 hours following surgery to assist the recovery process. Compression garments also serve to minimize swelling and to support circulation, and should be worn for about six weeks following surgery.

The recovery period is an essential part of achieving the discussed outcome. While everyone heals at their own rate, most individuals return to work and other daily tasks after about two or three weeks. You should continue to avoid vigorous exercise for a few more weeks after this point, but walking is encouraged soon after the surgery to help you heal as quickly and as fully as possible. If you have any questions about other types of activity, Dr. Goldberg will be happy to discuss your options and a timeframe for returning to your favorite fitness regimen. If you receive other procedures at the same time as your tummy tuck surgery, such as a breast lift or more comprehensive body contouring, this may affect the estimated recovery time. Dr. Goldberg will review the plan with you so you can be prepared to make the most of your post-operative experience.

How Long Will My Tummy Tuck Results Last?

Tummy tuck surgery is designed to provide lasting results, and you may not have any need for retreatment if your weight remains stable and you continue to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Minor fluctuations in weight should not have a noticeable effect, but significant weight gain and/or loss could alter the results of your procedure and change your body contour. If you have a child after the operation, this could also modify your results. If you choose, you may be able to have another cosmetic treatment to re-obtain your desired look at a future date.

What Will My Tummy Tuck Scars Look Like?

The incision will be placed low on the hipline and above the pubic hairline. This is done to keep the residual scar as unnoticeable as possible. Dr. Goldberg will take care to make the incision low enough that it is not visible in most types of clothing, including underwear and swimwear. He will indicate where this line will be during your initial consultation, so that you can develop a good idea of what to expect. While the scar will never completely disappear, most patients find that the mark fades in color and prominence over time. If you would like to further reduce the appearance of the scar, we can provide non-surgical suggestions, including laser skin resurfacing, which can support improved healing.

How Much Does Tummy Tuck Surgery Cost?

The price of tummy tuck surgery at our practice starts at $8,000 and includes the surgeon’s fee, hospital facility fee, and anesthesiology fee. Every treatment plan designed at our practice will be tailored to your needs and goals. As a result, the price of your tummy tuck surgery will often vary from someone else’s. Some of the factors that go into determining the cost include complexity of the treatment, number of techniques used, and other considerations. As an aid to our patients, we provide a detailed breakdown of the anticipated full cost of treatment during your initial consultation. We also work with leading plastic surgery financing companies, as many individuals prefer to pay for their operation in installments. We are happy to help you find the ideal approach for your lifestyle and budget.

Can I Still Have Children After a Tummy Tuck?

While we recommend that patients wait until they have finished building their families to have a tummy tuck, the procedure should have no effect on your ability to conceive or bear children. In the event you decide to have another child, you may experience many of the changes in body contour that initially led you to consider a tummy tuck. If you decide at a later date to address these new concerns, Dr. Goldberg can go over your options to restore your abdomen to its previous appearance.

Alternative and Complementary Procedures to a Tummy Tuck

Tummy tuck surgery is not for everyone, and in some cases an alternative approach may optimize your outcome and better achieve your cosmetic goals. We offer a comprehensive range of aesthetic treatments, including surgical and non-surgical options, to best suit your needs and goals. Liposuction is a popular option for individuals who have excess fatty tissue but good skin quality. Additionally, many women and men like to add on other treatments to address concerns in nearby areas. Breast augmentation or a breast lift may help a mother restore her pre-baby body. Post-weight loss surgery body contouring can be used to trim excess skin from the abdomen as well as the thighs, buttocks, and arms. Regardless of your interests, we can help you develop a personalized plan with your desired outcome in mind.

Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck

Part of your consultation with Dr. Goldberg will involve discussing your goals and ensuring a tummy tuck is the ideal procedure to shape your abdomen. Along with abdominoplasty, liposuction is another highly effective body contouring technique that is often utilized to attain a flatter, more taut look. While both treatment options can sculpt the abdominal region, the main difference between liposuction and tummy tuck surgery is that each procedure is performed to address separate concerns.

Liposuction is solely intended for fat removal and cannot treat the other aesthetic concerns that may be deterring a more contoured abdominal appearance, such as loose skin and stretched musculature. If your only concern is redundant fat around the abdomen and hips, liposuction is likely enough to achieve your goals. However, many patients also experience some degree of skin laxity and separated musculature, which are both factors that can result in a hanging or protruding abdomen. For these concerns, tummy tuck surgery is the only procedure designed to address the skin and musculature simultaneously. Abdominoplasty and liposuction can also be combined to incorporate fat reduction into your tummy tuck treatment plan for more comprehensive results.

Choosing the Best Tummy Tuck Surgeon for Your Needs

The quality of your results and overall satisfaction after the procedure rely on your choice of plastic surgeon. While a little research is required to find the right provider for your needs, the following checklist can help you narrow down your options. Generally speaking, a top-notch tummy tuck surgeon should have the following qualifications:

  • Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery: A board-certified plastic surgeon has completed a higher level of post-graduate training in aesthetic procedures when compared to a practitioner who has not achieved accreditation. This focused experience in cosmetic surgery can be vital to a surgeon’s ability to tailor a tummy tuck to your unique needs and goals.
  • An Extensive Patient Gallery: Before-and-after photos provide a realistic idea of the results possible with tummy tuck surgery. Exploring these outcomes can help you decide whether a plastic surgeon is able to meet your expectations and attain your individual goals. In addition to having an extensive online gallery showcasing the results achieved for women, Dr. Goldberg also offers examples of male abdominoplasty results for men interested in body sculpting.
  • A Reputation for Excellent Outcomes: Every person’s experience is unique, but a plastic surgeon’s reputation within their community can speak volumes about their standards of care. Read online reviews and research patient ratings to learn more about what type of experience you can expect when you visit a surgeon’s practice.
  • The Ability to Thoroughly Explain the Procedure: Meticulous patient education is often key to mutual satisfaction after a tummy tuck. During your consultation, your plastic surgeon should patiently listen to your concerns, answer all of your questions, and help you understand every step of the procedure so you’re well-informed of what the entire tummy tuck process entails.

Above all else, your plastic surgeon should make you feel confident and comfortable enough to entrust them with your aesthetic desires. Your health, safety, and overall satisfaction are paramount, and you should never feel compelled or pressured by your surgeon to make a decision about treatment.

Is a Tummy Tuck Safe?

A tummy tuck is considered a very safe and effective body contouring procedure for individuals who are deemed good candidates for surgery. Decades of scientific research, peer-reviewed academic articles, and clinical results support abdominoplasty’s ability to repair the skin, fat, and muscles of the abdomen with excellent, predictable results. However, the safety of any procedure relies on the experience of your provider — this is why it’s important to ensure you’re under the care of a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can tell you whether a tummy tuck is an ideal solution to achieve your individual goals. While some degree of risk exists with all surgical procedures, the chances of complications occurring are extremely low for those who entrust an aesthetic surgeon accredited by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) to perform their surgery.

Additional Tummy Tuck FAQs

Can abdominoplasty get rid of a C-section scar?

Tummy tuck surgery is not for everyone, and in some cases an alternative approach may optimize your outcome and better achieve your cosmetic goals. We offer a comprehensive range of aesthetic treatments, including surgical and non-surgical options, to best suit your needs and goals. Liposuction is a popular option for individuals who have excess fatty tissue but good skin quality. Additionally, many women and men like to add on other treatments to address concerns in nearby areas. Breast augmentation or breast lift may help a mother restore her pre-baby body. Post-weight loss surgery body contouring can be used to trim excess skin from the abdomen as well as the thighs, buttocks, and arms. Regardless of your interests, we can help you develop a personalized plan with your desired outcome in mind.

Is a tummy tuck able to remove stretch marks?

A tummy tuck may be able to eliminate stretch marks depending on the location of your stretch marks and the extent of your needs. Patients usually have a higher chance of successful removal if the stretch marks are concentrated in the region wherein excess abdominal skin is removed, which is typically below the naval.

Does insurance cover a tummy tuck?

Insurance usually doesn’t provide any coverage for cosmetic procedures like abdominoplasty, but our office accepts financing plans from qualified patients to make out-of-pocket costs more flexible. Financing is offered through CareCredit® and ALPHAEON® Credit, which are both national healthcare lending companies that are frequently utilized for cosmetic treatments and elective procedures, such as tummy tuck surgery.

What should I eat after a tummy tuck?

A seroma is a relatively common reaction after tummy tuck surgery and other procedures in which a substantial volume of tissue was removed/disrupted. Seromas refer to a collection of fluid (serum) underneath the skin, typically taking the form of a lump or bump. A seroma will usually disappear on its own, but you should consult a doctor if you experience pain or fever-like symptoms from a seroma.

Is a non-surgical tummy tuck possible?

At this time, there is no non-invasive treatment or technique that can achieve the same results as a tummy tuck without surgery. As a procedure that aims to repair the abdominal muscles as well as elevate and redrape the skin, a tummy tuck is simply unmatched by non-surgical treatments like “fat burning” creams, compression binders, or the Tummy Tuck Belt®. The Tummy Tuck Belt®, in particular, is advertised to achieve the same effects as a tummy tuck through a daily regimen of applying a “thermal accelerating” cream, then wearing the belt for ten minutes while performing certain standing exercises. Needless to say, this cannot replicate the outcome of a procedure designed to surgically correct the anatomy of the skin and muscles.

These products purport to reproduce the same outcome as abdominoplasty without surgery; however, there is no scientific or medical evidence to support these claims. A tummy tuck is currently the only effective body contouring procedure that can not only correct diastasis recti (separated abdominal muscles), but also provide long-lasting results.

Can I gain weight after a tummy tuck?

Abdominoplasty does not prevent patients from gaining weight, therefore it’s essential to complement your tummy tuck results with an active lifestyle in order to keep your weight as stable as possible. Recurrent weight fluctuation can, again, separate the abdominal muscles as well as decrease skin elasticity, possibly leading to some of the same concerns that a tummy tuck originally sought to correct. For this reason, we advise maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen to help ensure results endure long into the future.

Does a male tummy tuck differ from a female tummy tuck?

Although the surgical techniques are generally the same for both male and female patients, an individual’s natural anatomical indicators — as well as the distinctive ideals of beauty held by men and women respectively — may influence how the procedure is performed. For example, women generally desire a curvier body contour when compared to men, who often aim to preserve a sleek, masculine aesthetic. These factors will be accounted for during your tummy tuck to ensure your goals are achieved without sacrificing natural-looking results. That said, the goal of every procedure is to make your desired aesthetic a reality, and Dr. Goldberg will ultimately perform a tummy tuck according to your needs and wishes for the outcome.

How do I prepare for abdominoplasty?

Dr. Goldberg will provide you with detailed information about how to prepare for your tummy tuck, but patients can generally expect to abstain from smoking for a period of time before and after the procedure. Dr. Goldberg may also ask you to avoid taking certain medications, such as NSAIDs, to reduce bleeding and bruising during surgery. Since the procedure will be performed under general anesthesia, you will need to arrange a ride to and from the surgical facility with a friend or loved one. We advise having someone available to help you with daily household tasks and/or child supervision in the first few days of your recovery. Dr. Goldberg will fully explain other necessary pre-operative instructions during your appointment.

What’s the difference between a tummy tuck and a panniculectomy?

A tummy tuck and a panniculectomy are both surgeries designed to treat the abdominal region, but these procedures differ in many respects. A panniculectomy is performed to remove the “apron” of excess skin and tissue on the lower abdomen, often to alleviate skin rashes, irritation, and chafing. Unlike abdominoplasty, a panniculectomy does not repair the underlying abdominal musculature and is not typically considered a cosmetic procedure. Although the outcome of both surgical options can look similar, abdominoplasty is performed for aesthetic purposes while a panniculectomy is usually pursued for medical reasons.