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Is a Tummy Tuck Right for Me?

A tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that is meant to contour the shape of your midsection. Through the removal of fat and the tightening of skin and muscles, you can achieve a flat, attractive core that lasts a lifetime with the right maintenance. If you still have belly fat regardless of your diet or exercise plan, a tummy tuck may be the solution you’ve been searching for. 

As a lecturer for the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a mentor for medical students, Dr. Saira H. Saini only uses the safest body contouring methods that provide long-lasting results. It’s important to choose an experienced and board-certified plastic surgeon if you’re considering a tummy tuck, and Dr. Saini is a well-qualified and caring provider that puts her patients’ wellness and safety first. To speak with Dr. Saini on what a tummy tuck can offer you, call Carolina Plastic Surgery in Fayetteville, NC at (910) 323-1234, text us at (910) 359-2407 or request a consultation at your earliest convenience. 

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About Abdominal Fat 

Excess fat in the abdomen can develop for a number of reasons, and there are two types to know: subcutaneous and visceral. Pregnancy, aging, or even just your natural body shape can cause more subcutaneous fat buildup- the fat right under your skin. Visceral fat surrounds the organs and is often more dangerous for your health, but only subcutaneous fat can be removed with a tummy tuck. This type makes up about 90% of our overall fat composition, so its presence makes a huge impact on health and wellbeing. In obese women, excess visceral and subcutaneous fat have been found to be risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and high blood pressure. (1) While the procedure is ideal for getting rid of unwanted body fat, patients should not be within the obese weight range. 

Benefits of a Tummy Tuck

Though the procedure may seem self-explanatory, tummy tucks have quite a few advantages over other procedures and treatments: 

  • Removes loose, sagging skin. 
  • Restores core muscles. 
  • The incisions made can be hidden by a bathing suit. 
  • It may be able to remove or reduce stretch marks and/or scars from other surgeries. 
  • The results can last a lifetime if it’s maintained with diet and exercise. 
  • It improves patients’ sense of wellbeing and body confidence. (2)
  • It may improve issues with incontinence. (3)

Ideal Candidates 

Patients that qualify for a tummy tuck are healthy individuals that can undergo a major surgery. Dr. Saini will likely recommend a tummy tuck if you meet this criteria:

  • You have no medical conditions related to your ability to heal- or are managing them well.
  • You have maintained a stable weight within the last year. 
  • You are a non-smoker or planning to quit 4 to 6 weeks before the procedure.
  • You have excess skin from pregnancy or significant weight loss. 
  • You are close to your ideal body weight. 
  • You have made tried diet and exercise to lose belly fat but can’t.  
  • You are simply unhappy with the appearance of your midsection. 

Other Body Contouring Treatments for the Abdomen

For patients that are unable or unwilling to undergo a surgical procedure, noninvasive treatments are available. CoolSculpting Elite uses cryolipolysis to eliminate fat cells, and patients can see gradual and long-lasting results after just one treatment session. Liposuction is a minimally invasive surgery that permanently removes unwanted fat, and is often combined with tummy tucks for a more slender, sculpted abdominal appearance.


Preparation for an abdominoplasty can start months before you even enter a doctor’s office. Diet and exercise are the first aspects of your life to evaluate before considering surgery.Whether you need to bring down your BMI for the purpose of getting a procedure or just to form good habits to maintain your results, healthy eating habits will contribute to the quality of your results. 

Staying active is the other aspect of your plan. Consider talking to a personal trainer to find out which physical activities work for your lifestyle and body.  If you have limitations, a chronic condition or pain, you may want to talk to a physical therapist who has more knowledge on how to incorporate movement into your life safely. 

As you get closer to your procedure date, limiting your alcohol consumption and quitting smoking is incredibly vital to your overall health as well as the success of your tummy tuck. It has been proven that elevated amounts of alcohol consumption is associated with more abdominal fat, (4)  so limiting it as much as possible will improve and help maintain your results. You should completely quit smoking for a few weeks; smoking reduces the performance of your heart and lungs which are placed under stress with any major procedure. Finally, you will have to avoid taking any blood thinning medications or supplements for two weeks before your surgery so that there isn’t a risk of excessive bleeding. They should also be avoided for the following two weeks after as well. 

Dr. Saini will provide you with the tools you need to recover safely, but you might want to stock up on certain items such as gauze pads, over-the-counter pain medication, and ice packs for any discomfort during the recovery process. Also, you will need loose, comfortable clothes that are easy to change into. 


This procedure comes in four forms: the mini tummy tuck, the extended tummy tuck and the full tummy tuck. Each are considered tummy tucks but have slight variations that address different aesthetic concerns. 

Full Tummy Tuck

Prior to a full tummy tuck, Dr. Saini will administer general anesthesia to maximize comfort and safety for the patient. She will then make one incision around the belly button and one right above the pubic area. Both of these incisions are discreet so that patients can feel confident in their midsection after the procedure. Then, she’ll remove loose skin and suture abdominal muscles in such a way that creates a tightened, strong midriff when healed. She’ll then use liposuction to remove fat. Both insisions are closed with sutures before they are removed a couple weeks later. 

Extended Tummy Tuck

An extended tummy tuck is very similar to a full, but the pubic area incision is extended to the flanks so that a smaller waist is contoured. Excess fat on the hips is removed with this type of procedure. 


For patients with excessive tissue on the lower half of their abdomen, a panniculectomy can contour the area and resolve the discomfort and irritation of abdominal tissue that hangs over the groin and thighs.

Mini Tummy Tuck 

Dr. Saini can perform a mini tummy tuck with just local anesthesia and sedation, if preferred. While it follows the same principles of the full tummy tuck, this procedure only requires a small incision above the pubic area and only focuses on removing lower belly bulges.


A tummy tuck is an outpatient procedure that requires someone to drive you home afterward. It is highly recommended that you get someone to help you out with your daily tasks for the first few days. You’ll be prescribed both medications to help with the soreness and to prevent an infection at the incision sites. Dr. Saini may place a drain at the incision site to that any buildup of fluid can leave and reduce swelling; this drain is often only needed for a few days. It’s important to keep the area clean, and a new bandage should be replaced at least every other day. 

In many cases, you’ll be able to shower within a couple of days after surgery.  For at least the first three days after surgery, you should limit yourself to only a little bit of activity and rest in bed as much as you can. 

After about a week, mild activity is recommended. Getting up and walking carefully will promote the blood flow needed to get your incision site to heal faster.  Resuming your regular exercise should only be considered after consulting Dr. Saini. She also recommends a diet low in sodium and a compression garment to reduce swelling. You should expect to wear your garment anywhere from 2-8 weeks at all times of the day, excluding showers. However, you will probably have enough energy to return to work after 2-3 weeks. 

Personal Consultation

During a consultation, you will get a chance to discuss your aesthetic goals with Dr. Saini. She will thoroughly go through your medical history and any health conditions that need to be considered. During your discussion, she may recommend another treatment or procedure that is more suited to your vision. One of the other procedures featured on our blog may catch your interest. As a board certified surgeon, teacher, and mentor, Dr. Saini only wants the very best outcomes for her patients- just glance over her patients reviews! To get the amazing results you’ve been wanting, call Carolina Plastic Surgery at (910) 323-1234, text us for more information at (910) 359 2407 or schedule a consultation online. 

Cost of a Tummy Tuck in Fayetteville, North Carolina 

The cost of your tummy tuck will vary based on how how much tissue needs to be modified and the type of procedure you get (mini, full, or extended). Dr. Saini offers financing options to make this procedure more affordable for prospective patients. She will go over the details of the cost during your personal consultation


How long do tummy tucks take to complete? 

Depending on the kind of tummy tuck you get, it may take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. 

Is a tummy tuck a weight loss procedure?

A tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure, but it’s designed to contour your midsection. Patients should be close to a healthy weight to get the best results. 

How can I minimize scarring after a tummy tuck?

There are a variety of ways that scarring can be reduced: Avoid corticosteroids, keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range, quit smoking, eat a healthy diet that is high in protein, wear your compression garment as direction, incorporate scar massages when it is safe to do so, and use topical scar creams and gels. 


  1. Elffers TW, de Mutsert R, Lamb HJ, et al. Body fat distribution, in particular visceral fat, is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors in obese women. PLoS One. 2017;12(9):e0185403. Published 2017 Sep 28. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0185403 
  2. Saariniemi KMM, Salmi AM, Peltoniemi HH, Helle MH, Charpentier P, Kuokkanen HOM. Abdominoplasty Improves Quality of Life, Psychological Distress, and Eating Disorder Symptoms: A Prospective Study. Plastic Surgery International. 2014;2014:197232. doi: 
  3. Carruthers KH, Kocak E, Hulsen JH, McMahan JD. Improvement in stress urinary incontinence after abdominoplasty. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2014;34(7):1091-1098. doi: 
  4. Schröder H, Morales-Molina JA, Bermejo S, et al. Relationship of abdominal obesity with alcohol consumption at population scale. Eur J Nutr. 2007;46(7):369-376. doi:10.1007/s00394-007-0674-7 
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