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An abdominoplasty is surgery to remove fat and skin from your abdomen. This surgery is also called a tummy tuck.


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.

During your surgery:

  • Your surgeon will make marks on your abdomen. These marks will help guide him or her while making incisions. You will be given anesthesia medicine to keep you asleep and pain-free during your surgery. Your surgeon will cut your skin along the marks. He or she may make cuts above and below your belly button.
  • Your surgeon will cut out extra fat and skin from your abdomen. He or she may also suction out extra fat. Stitches will then be used to tighten your abdomen muscles. Your surgeon will put drains in to help remove extra fluid. He or she will also adjust the position of your belly button. Your incision will be closed using stitches or staples. A bandage will be used to cover your stitches or staples. This bandage keeps the area clean and dry to help prevent infection.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room where you can rest. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will need to wear a support garment, which is a tight piece of clothing wrapped around your abdomen. Pressure garments help support your abdomen after your muscles have been cut

  • You may need to walk around the same day of surgery, or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your healthcare provider says you can. Talk to healthcare providers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let healthcare providers know you need help.
  • You will be able to drink liquids and eat certain foods once your stomach function returns after surgery. You may be given ice chips at first. Then you will get liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your stomach does not become upset, you may then be given soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once you can eat soft foods easily, you may slowly begin to eat solid foods.
  • Medicines: You may need the following medicines:
    • Nausea medicine to help prevent or treat nausea.
    • Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Blood thinners may be given before, during, and after a surgery or procedure. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
    • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
    • A pain pump, or PCA pump, is pain medicine that you control. Healthcare providers set the pump to let you give yourself small amounts of pain medicine when you push a button.
    • Stool softeners help prevent constipation while you are taking pain medicine.


You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may not be happy with the results of your abdominoplasty. Your abdomen may be uneven, and you may still have loose skin and fat. You may have small bulges of tissue on the sides of your abdomen. Your surgery area may become swollen, bruised, or painful. You may have scars. The skin or nerves near your cuts may be damaged. You may need another surgery to fix some of these problems. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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