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Reconstruction of the umbilicus (belly button) following an abdominoplasty surgery. The original umbilicus is sutured into a new hole created by the surgeon.

Abdominoplasty or "tummy tuck" is a cosmetic surgery procedure used to make the abdomen thinner and more firm. The surgery involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall. This type of surgery is usually sought by patients with loose or sagging tissues, that develop after pregnancy or major weight loss.


Modern abdominplasties were developed starting in the 1960s. Heavier populations have led to increased demand for the surgeries, while technological advancements have improved their quality.[1]


Abdominoplasty operations vary in scope and are frequently subdivided into categories. Depending on the extent of the surgery, a complete abdominoplasty can take from 1 to 5 hours. A partial abdominoplasty (mini-tuck abdominoplasty) can be completed between 1 and 2 hours.

Complete abdominoplasty[edit]

In general, a complete or full abdominoplasty follows these steps:

  1. An incision is made from hip to hip just above the pubic area.
  2. Another incision is made to free the navel from the surrounding skin.
  3. The skin is detached from the abdominal wall to reveal the muscles and fascia to be tightened. The muscle fascia wall is tightened with sutures.[clarification needed]
  4. Liposuction is often used to refine the transition zones of the abdominal sculpture.
  5. A dressing and sometimes a compression garment are applied and any excess fluid from the site is drained.

Partial abdominoplasty[edit]

A partial or mini abdominoplasty proceeds as follows:

  1. A smaller incision is made.
  2. The skin and fat of the lower abdomen are detached in a more limited fashion from the muscle fascia. The skin is stretched down and excess skin removed.
  3. Sometimes the belly button stalk is divided from the muscle below and the belly button slid down lower on the abdominal wall.
  4. Sometimes a portion of the abdominal muscle fascia wall is tightened.
  5. Liposuction is often used to contour the transition zone.
  6. The flap is stitched back into place.

Extended abdominoplasty[edit]

An extended abdominoplasty is a complete abdominoplasty plus a lateral thigh lift. The resulting scar runs from the posterior axillary line (when placing one's open hands on the hips, the thumbs lie along the posterior axillary line). The operation does all of the abdominal contouring of a complete abdominoplasty and allows further improvement of the flank (waist), as well as smoothing the contour of the upper lateral thigh.

High lateral tension tummy tuck[edit]

This is an advanced technique that takes a little more than four and half hours to perform. Conventional abdominoplasty tightens muscles in a vertical line. In this new method, known as high lateral tension abdominoplasty, in addition to vertical-line tightening, muscles are tightened horizontally. The result with this technique is a dramatically flat abdomen with significantly better-defined waistline.

Floating abdominoplasty or FAB technique[edit]

This new technique, also known as an extended mini abdominoplasty, allows for tightening and shaping through a smaller incision that is not placed around the belly button. Through this smaller incision, excess skin is removed and the belly button is temporarily detached, floating above the muscles during this process. The muscles are tightened and reshaped from sternum to pubic area. The skin is then tightened and the belly button is reattached, or moved down one or two cm if desired. Liposuction may also be performed to achieve desirable results.

Circumferential abdominoplasty[edit]

A circumferential abdominoplasty is an extended abdominoplasty plus a buttock lift. The resulting scar runs all the way around the body, and the operation is also called a Belt Lipectomy or lower body lift. This operation is most appropriate for patients who have undergone massive weight loss.

Combination procedures[edit]

An abdominoplasty can be combined with liposuction to make a Lipotuck, which performs body contouring around the hips, thighs, and buttocks.

It can also be combined with liposuction contouring, breast reduction, breast lift, or occasionally hysterectomy, depending on the reason for the hysterectomy. A popular name for breast enhancement procedures performed in conjunction with an abdominoplasty is a "mommy makeover".


Abdominoplasty is considered to be a safe procedure, but the risk of complication is higher than in other cosmetic surgeries.[1] Possible complications include seromas, infection, necrosis of the skin, and hematomas.[1]

Related procedures[edit]

Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, is a type of surgery that removes fat from the human body in an attempt to change its shape.

Abdominoplasty is one type of body contouring,[1] which is plastic surgery performed on different parts of the body with the aim of improving the shape and tone of the underlying tissue that supports fat.

Breast reduction, or reduction mammoplasty, is the cosmetic surgery used in resizing the breast, in women with oversized breasts and men with gynecomastia. This type of surgery is performed to treat a breast condition known as hypertrophy, which refers to oversized breasts. This condition usually occurs in both breasts and commonly develops at puberty or immediately after.

Breast lift, also referred to as mastopexy, is the surgical procedure that removes the excess skin and tightens the surrounding tissue of the breast, resulting in raising and firming the breast. Mastopexies carry a certain degree of risks as any other type of surgery does.

Hysterectomies are sometimes performed with abdominoplasty. A hysterectomy consists in removing the uterus and it may be complete (when the body, fundus and cervix are removed) or partial (when only the uterine body is surgically removed). This procedure is normally performed by gynecologists and it is one of the most common gynecological surgeries. This type of surgery is used to treat some benign tumors, cancers of the ovaries, uterus or cervix, Adenomyosis but not endometriosis and are also performed in trans men.

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  1. ^ a b c d Louri, Nayef A.; Ammar, Hamad M.; Abdulkariml, Fatema Abduljabbar; Alkhaldi, Turki Abdulla Sanad Ahmed Eid; AlHasan, Rashed Noaman (March 2020). "Abdominoplasty: Pitfalls and Prospects". Obesity Surgery. 30 (3): 1112–1117. doi:10.1007/s11695-019-04367-5. PMID 31898048. S2CID 209543055.