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Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Some women and men start thinking about a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) when loose tissue and stubborn pockets of fat develop around the midsection. Often these cosmetic concerns do not respond to dieting and increased exercise. There are many factors that can contribute to dramatic changes around the waistline, including: weight loss, weight gain, pregnancy, and aging. In certain situations, a tummy tuck can remove large areas of stretch marks or surgical scars in the midsection. Our Vero Beach plastic surgeon, John M. Sarbak, MD, is highly skilled and experienced in tummy tuck and body contouring techniques, which allows him to achieve consistently outstanding results for his patients.

What is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure designed to improve the structure and appearance of the midsection through the removal of excess skin and fat and tightening of the abdominal muscles. Each tummy tuck is customized to suit the unique needs of the patient, and the ideal result is usually a more toned and slender abdomen. Often, liposuction techniques are incorporated into the tummy tuck procedure to sculpt the area and eliminate fat for smoother, more refined contours.

What are the Benefits of Tummy Tuck Surgery? 

Tummy tuck is a dynamic procedure that can offer many aesthetic and physical advantages to both male and female patients. Abdominoplasty can potentially achieve the following improvements:

What Can I Expect in My Tummy Tuck Consultation? 

During an abdominal evaluation, your plastic surgeon assesses the amount and quality of your skin (Is there too much? How elastic is it? Does it have stretch marks? Are there scars?). He will also evaluate the thickness and distribution of the fatty layer (How much is the fatty layer contributing to the overall condition? Is there too much in one area?). Additionally, your plastic surgeon will look at the location and tone of the abdominal wall muscles (Have the muscles been stretched or weakened? Have they separated with pregnancy or weight gain?)

One final factor that Dr. Sarbak looks at is the amount of tissue inside the abdomen. This is the tissue that is beneath the muscles, around the intestines. Many people are surprised to hear that individuals can have fatty buildup around the intestines (in some people this can be quite significant). Unfortunately, this tissue cannot be addressed surgically. Having said that, it can still significantly influence the shape of the abdomen even after a tummy tuck (it pushes against the muscle tightening portion of the procedure from the inside out). Addressing this area is typically dependent upon the patient choosing to engage in a diet and exercise program designed to reduce this type of fat. 

Additionally, the consultation offers Dr. Sarbak the opportunity to talk with you about your ultimate goals and determine whether tummy tuck surgery is the best option for your needs. You are encouraged to ask any questions you may have, and Dr. Sarbak is happy to explain all aspects of the procedure and recovery process. 

Tummy Tuck Before & After Photos 

If you are considering a tummy tuck and would like to see examples of our plastic surgeon’s work, we encourage you to browse through our results gallery featuring our real patients:

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*Individual Results May Vary


What Does the Tummy Tuck Procedure Involve? 

The overall analysis performed during the consultation allows Dr. Sarbak to formulate a treatment plan that may involve skin excision, liposuction, abdominal muscle tightening, or any combination thereof. Sometimes, his recommendation may involve weight loss before the procedure can be scheduled, as it is typically best that patients are at or near the average healthy weight for their individual body type before undergoing tummy tuck surgery. 

Dr. Sarbak’s innovative approaches to tummy tuck also allow additional tightening of the upper abdomen. The upper abdominal area is not particularly well-addressed by older, more traditional abdominoplasty operations. For that reason, he finds that many of our patients who have had a previous tummy tuck performed by another surgeon are choosing to undergo the procedure again because their upper abdomen is still too loose.

In some cases, we may find an unexpected hernia that can be addressed during the surgery.

How Long Is the Recovery After Tummy Tuck Surgery? 

Each individual’s rate of recovery depends on the details of their surgery and general level of health. When muscle tightening is required (and the vast majority of patients require this) the muscles tend to be sore for about seven to ten days. Recent improvements in the tummy tuck technique allow Dr. Sarbak to avoid the use of drains in the vast majority of cases, which seems to improve patient comfort post-operatively. Medication can be prescribed to control any bothersome discomfort during the initial phase of healing; however, it is possible that patients may still feel some intermittent discomfort for up to six weeks. Typically, most of our patients are able to return to work within two to three weeks and resume rigorous activities by six weeks.

What Will My Tummy Tuck Scars Look Like? 

Abdominoplasty is an invasive surgical procedure; therefore, there will be residual scarring. Fortunately, Dr. Sarbak takes great care to minimize visible scarring as much as possible by utilizing advanced suturing techniques and by placing the primary incision along the bikini line. This can make it easier to conceal the most extensive scarring under clothing and swimwear. The resulting scars may also fade to some extent over time. 

How Long Does a Tummy Tuck Last? 

Tummy tuck results can last for many years if proper health and lifestyle habits are maintained. Weight fluctuations can affect the tightened skin and improved appearance, so a healthy diet and active lifestyle are highly recommended. Additionally, we suggest that patients remain adequately hydrated with water, avoid sugary drinks, and limit consumption of alcoholic beverages. Taking good care of your skin, eating healthy foods, and limiting excessive fluctuations in weight can all help extend the results of tummy tuck surgery for as long as possible. 

How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost? 

The cost of a tummy tuck varies from patient to patient, depending on individualized treatment plans. As of 2023, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that the average cost of a tummy tuck procedure is $6,154; however, this is just a general average and does not account for all associated expenses.* It is not specifically reflective of the potential cost of tummy tuck surgery at our practice. Factors that contribute to the overall cost of tummy tuck surgery include: 

After your treatment plan has been developed, you will be supplied with a customized cost that includes all expenses currently associated with your procedure. We can also discuss financing options that can help qualified applicants pay for tummy tuck surgery in a series of installments. 

Are There Any Alternatives to Tummy Tuck Surgery? 

There are minimally invasive procedures and devices occasionally referred to as a “non-surgical tummy tuck” that have been discussed elsewhere online. While some non-surgical treatments, such as CoolSculpting®, are capable of contouring the abdomen by reducing excess fat deposits, there are no procedures or devices that can precisely replicate or reproduce the very particular kind of results that can be obtained with an abdominoplasty. Tummy tuck surgery is designed to eliminate excess skin, tighten abdominal muscles, and smooth the skin’s appearance for firmer results and enhanced abdominal contours. Procedures such as liposuction and CoolSculpting® can reduce excess fat, but they cannot tighten the skin or underlying muscles, and non-surgical options are also not capable of these achievements to the degree that tummy tuck surgery can accomplish. During your consultation, Dr. Sarbak will be able to evaluate your needs and talk with you about your ultimate goals. If a tummy tuck may not be necessary to achieve those goals, he can explore any potential alternatives with you and answer any questions you may have.  

To schedule a tummy tuck or body contouring consultation with Dr. Sarbak, please contact our office

Medical Resources 

*American Society of Plastic Surgeons