Tummy Tuck Myths Dispelled

I was making my rounds Thursday morning and overheard two gynecologists talking about a patient we operated on stating how “bad” a tummy tuck is, especially when added to a hysterectomy. This is a huge misconception leading to this aptly titled blog post about tummy tuck surgery in Birmingham, Alabama.

As in any surgery, combination surgery is dependent on the surgeon performing it and the patient. There has to be a competent, experienced surgeon and a patient who is a good candidate for combining abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) with another procedure.

Look for a Qualified Surgeon

Let’s look at the surgeon. Anyone seeking a tummy tuck needs to find a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. If he/she is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Surgery, it signifies that this surgeon meets the aformentioned criteria plus has proven enhanced skills in aesthetic surgery, sort of an “elite” aesthetic surgeon.

Experience Is Important Too

Once you have established this, you need to assure the plastic surgeon has vast experience performing tummy tucks. Surgeons are not masters of every procedure, some specialize in facial procedures, breast surgery, liposuction, etc. As with any skill, the more one does a procedure, the better they should be at it.

What to Look for In a Tummy Tuck Surgeon

You should seek answers to the following to make sure you found a good plastic surgeon:

  • Are you a board certified plastic surgeon?
  • Are you an ASPS member
  • Are you an ASAPS member
  • How many tummy tucks do you perform each year?
  • How long does it take to perform a tummy tuck?
  • Do you have before & after photos I can look through?

A competent surgeon should perform over 30 tummy tucks a year and be able to readily provide before & after photos of at least 10 cases. An abdominoplasty should not last more than 2 to 2 1/2 hours, if the surgeon takes 4 to 6 hours to complete this procedure, this should raise concerns.

Make Sure You’re a Good Candidate

Patients need to be good candidates for a tummy tuck, which means they fit all of the following criteria:

  • In good health
  • Within 15% of their ideal body weight
  • Under the age of 65
  • A non-smoker

Meeting these criteria should enhance safety and improve the chances of a good outcome. Abdominoplasty is NOT a weight loss procedure!

So, Is It Safe to Combine a Tummy Tuck With Other Procedures?

Tummy tucks can be performed safely with other procedures as long as the total operative time is not over 4 hours. As with the plastic surgeon, the other specialist (such as a gynecologist) has to meet similar criteria for selection.

An abdominoplasty is not a terribly painful procedure and is often performed on an outpatient basis with patients being discharged same day or within 23 hours. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most painful) patients usually rate a tummy tuck in the 5 to 6 range. With new non-narcotic pain management these numbers are trending towards 3 to 4!

So, a tummy tuck is not all that bad, is not terribly painful, should not take all day to perform, and can be combined with other surgeries. As long as you find a qualified plastic surgeon and are a good candidate, the chances of a safe procedure and nice result are very good.

If you are interested in having a tummy tuck combined with another surgery, please contact Dr. Beckenstein using our online for or by calling 205-933-9322 or 1-866-MSBMD77. Michael S. Beckenstein, M.D. is also a boarded general surgeon and can repair abdominal hernias while performing your abdominoplasty.

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