What is an Abdominoplasty?

Overview

Published: 12/12/2011

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Also known as a "tummy tuck," abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure that improves the appearance of the abdomen by tightening muscles and removing excess fat and skin. Both women and men can reap benefits from a tummy tuck; however, some patients are better candidates than others. Typically, patients must have muscle weakness, extra skin around the abdomen or both to see benefits from surgery. Additionally, ideal candidates should be in relatively good physical shape and not planning a future pregnancy.

 



The Procedure

 



Abdominoplasty usually takes between two to five hours and is performed while patients are under general anesthesia; however, on some occasions, treatment may be rendered using local anesthetic and a sedative. Surgery typically begins with a long incision from hip bone to hip bone across the abdomen. A second incision usually follows around the belly button to separate it from the abdominal tissue. Once the skin is separated from the wall of the abdomen, the abdominal muscles are repositioned and stitched; then, excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is replaced over the abdomen and sutured. Finally, the belly button is repositioned to a new, appropriate location.



After surgery, your abdomen will be sore and swollen for a few days, with pain typically the most intense within the first 24 hours. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to ease your discomfort, and in certain situations, you may be required to spend the night in a hospital or surgical facility. You will receive detailed instructions on how to care for yourself during the healing process; you may also receive antibiotics to minimize the chance of infection.

 



How much does the procedure cost?

 



The cost of a tummy tuck usually includes a facility fee, surgeon's fee and anesthesia fee. Though the amounts of each fee may vary, on average, surgeon fees come to around $5,000; although you may pay less depending on your specific goals and requirements. Anesthesia and facility fees can vary widely based on specific circumstances. For instance, facility fees may cost only about $1,200 if your surgery is performed in a doctor's office or as much as $10,000 if it occurs in a hospital, where an overnight stay is required.



In the end, costs can vary drastically based on the surgeon, the extent and type of surgery, and your specific region of the country; however, on average, a tummy tuck may cost somewhere around $7,475 to $17,650.