Tummy Tuck

Our Anchorage plastic surgeons perform abdominoplasty, often called a tummy tuck, to help patients from the Kenai Peninsula and Wasilla, Palmer, and other Mat-Su Valley communities restore a tighter, flatter stomach. This body contouring procedure removes excess skin and fat tissue from the abdomen and tightens the abdominal wall muscles. Abnormalities of the abdominal wall such as hernias or split muscles, which can be seen after pregnancy, can also be addressed with this operation.

The operation will not reduce fullness in the flank area and will have no effect on the position of the breasts as these areas are outside the zones treated by this operation.

To schedule an appointment, please call (907) 563-2002 today.

Tummy Tuck
 Before & After Photos

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Tummy Tuck Incision Placement

This operation requires an incision directly above the pubic region and extends outward toward the hip bones. The length of the incision will be determined by the amount of skin to be removed. The incision is placed low enough to be covered by underwear and swimsuits, so the scar will be well hidden once healed. Having a flattened midsection is generally accepted as being a worthwhile tradeoff for the easily concealed scar.

Your Abdominoplasty Procedure

Once the incision is made, the skin of the abdomen is elevated to the level of the ribs, staying out of the actual abdominal cavity. The abdominal muscles are then sewn together to tighten the abdominal wall.

The excess skin and fat tissue are measured and removed. The remaining skin, having been elevated and released, is pulled down towards the pubis. Sutures are then placed to close the wound. These will be removed in 5 to 7 days.

Drains will be placed beneath the skin to remove any blood or serum that may accumulate. These may stay in for 7 to 10 days and are easily removed in the office. You will also be placed in an abdominal “binder” to further secure the area and lessen the amount of fluid accumulation.

The operation may be done as day surgery with the option of spending one night in the hospital. It takes from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours and requires a general anesthetic to do the operation.

Abdominoplasty Recovery

The recovery time varies but, usually, activity is restricted for 4 to 6 weeks to let the area heal. This may be longer if fluid persists and requires aspiration or if wound healing problems arise.

The final abdominal contour may not be evident for several months due to swelling. Swelling is most prominent in the area just above the incision. Usually, this fullness will resolve with time but if it persists, it may require a secondary procedure. This additional procedure can often be done in the office under local anesthesia. Wearing the abdominal binder will lessen the amount of swelling and hasten your recovery.

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Meet Our Surgeons

Our surgeons are uniquely talented and share a dedication to providing our patients the type of personalized care that has established Plastic Surgeons of Alaska as the premier practice in the state.

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Is Tummy Tuck Surgery Safe?

In any operation, there are risks to be considered. These include bleeding, infection, numbness, pain or discomfort, widening of the scars, thick or ugly scars, areas of fullness or asymmetry, reactions to the medications or anesthetics, removal of too much or too little skin or fat, and /or failure to achieve your desired appearance. Numbness of the abdominal wall will exist after the operation and may last several months. Delayed healing may also occur. This is the result of the effects of impaired blood supply (as some of the blood vessels are interrupted during elevation of the skin during mobilization) and increased tension as the skin edges are sewn together at the completion of the operation. This may take the form of blistering or, rarely, the wound may open. This opening may require additional suturing or prolonged local wound care to close the wound. The resultant scar may be wider than desired and this can be addressed with scar revision surgery if needed. Smoking, diabetes, and obesity are several factors that increase the risk of this occurring. If you smoke, you should stop for 2 weeks prior to and 3 weeks following surgery.

Efforts will be made to reduce the risks of this operation. You must help by following all preoperative and postoperative instructions and by keeping all scheduled appointments. You must report any changes in your condition to the office so that treatment may be altered if necessary. If you smoke, your healing will be delayed and you increase the risk of a complication following your surgery. Any potential problems could result in the need for additional surgery and recovery time, time lost from work, possible hospitalization, financial loss, disappointment and/or psychological stress to you.

Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction

Tummy tuck surgery primarily removes excess skin and repairs abdominal muscles to create a firmer, slimmer midsection. Liposuction can address extra pockets of fat in many parts of the body, from the upper arms and back to the hips, flanks, buttocks, and thighs. It is an effective standalone option for those whose concerns are caused by excess fat, and who retain enough skin elasticity that the skin can “shrink back” once the fat is removed. It is also effective when combined with procedures like a tummy tuck so sagging, excess skin can be removed at the same time as excess fat to create flat, smooth contours.

Tummy Tuck FAQ

Will the fat come back after a tummy tuck?

The fat removed during a tummy tuck is gone for good. However, the area’s remaining fat cells can expand with weight gain. For this reason, tummy tuck patients are encouraged to maintain a stable weight following the procedure so they may enjoy their tummy tuck results for years to come.

What is a diastasis recti and how can a tummy tuck help?

Diastasis recti is a separation of the rectus abdominis muscles, and it’s usually caused by pregnancy, rapid weight gain, or improper lifting of heavy weights. A surgeon sutures the muscles together during a tummy tuck to repair the separation and create a flatter-looking tummy.

I’ve heard that you can’t stand up straight after a tummy tuck. Is this true, and how long does this last?

Yes, since the midsection skin is pulled taut down to the incision line during a tummy tuck, it’s important to avoid putting tension on the incision after surgery. Keeping your body slightly hunched or flexed while standing, walking, and sitting reduces the pressure on the incision, allowing it to heal properly. Most patients can straighten a bit after their sutures are removed the week after surgery and gradually work up to a fully straight posture.

Is there anything I should avoid after an abdominoplasty?

As mentioned above, do not stretch your torso, stand up straight, or lie completely flat on your back after surgery. If you are a smoker, abstain from tobacco products for several weeks pre and post-op, as smoking impairs healing. Refrain from lifting heavy objects, consuming alcohol, or driving while taking prescription pain medication, and exposing your incision to direct sunlight. Your surgeon will provide you with additional instructions for your recovery.

Will my scars really be hidden? What if I’m wearing a bikini?

Tummy tuck incisions and their resulting scars are placed very low on the torso—just above the pubic area—so they are easily concealed by underwear and even bikini bottoms.

Do you get a new bellybutton with tummy tuck surgery?

Your bellybutton technically stays the same during tummy tuck surgery, but your surgeon reshapes the navel opening to create a more attractive bellybutton. During the surgery, an incision is made around the bellybutton to release it from the surrounding skin. When the upper abdominal skin is pulled down to the incision line, a new, more appealing opening is made for the bellybutton.

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Call us at (907) 563-2002 to schedule an appointment or request a consultation at our practice using the online form.

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