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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:

  • Ask your surgeon if you need to stop using aspirin or any other medicine before your surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your surgeon. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your provider if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Your surgeon will ask you about your health history. He or she will ask you what surgeries you have had in the past. If you are female, he or she will ask you if you have ever given birth. Your surgeon may also ask you about your future plans for being pregnant. Tell him or her if you or your relatives have bleeding problems, cancer, or heart disease. Also tell your surgeon if you have ever had any problems with your abdomen.
  • Your surgeon may want you to exercise or lose weight before your surgery. Ask him or her about the best exercise program or weight loss plan for you.
  • If you smoke, you will need to stop before your surgery. You may heal more slowly after surgery if you smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Your surgeon may want you to stop taking certain medicines before your surgery. Ask about any changes to your diet or medicine.

The night before your surgery:

  • Ask about directions for eating and drinking.
  • Your surgeon may ask you to wash your abdomen and the area around it with antibacterial soap. This soap may help fight infection caused by germs called bacteria.

The day of your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives the surgeon permission to do the surgery. It also explains the risks and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You will need anesthesia medicine to keep you asleep during surgery. Tell him or her if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • 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 cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get sick with a cold or the flu.


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.

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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.

Further information

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