With warm weather around the corner, it’s time to start planning for hitting the beach at spring break and summer. If you aren’t getting the results from all those stomach crunches, counting calories, and exercise, it is time to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Dr. Mark Mason, Medical Director of Southlake Plastic Surgery, has been performing tummy tuck surgeries for 16 years and shares his thoughts on this popular procedure. “If you have excess skin and separation of your abdominal muscles, all the sit-ups in the world will not tighten your tummy. An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is the answer in removing the excess skin and fat and surgically tightening the stomach muscles.”


An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, tighten the abdominis recti (stomach muscles) which separate during pregnancy. The separation of these muscles, diastasis recti, causes the “pooch” many women cannot get rid of after having children. The procedure also is used to remove the excess skin and fat resulting in a flat stomach. Depending on your size and desired results, there are a few options available:

  • Full Abdominoplasty

This procedure is best for women who are close to the ideal weight and do not intend to have more children. An incision is made from hipbone to hipbone just above the pubic area (under the bikini line). The navel, or belly button, is often repositioned due to the removal of excess skin so that it is in the correct position after surgery. Many patients choose to have liposuction of the flanks at the same time. The result is a firmer, flatter stomach, and often a narrower waistline.

  • Mini Abdominoplasty

This procedure is performed for patients who only require the removal of excess fat and skin below the navel without muscle repair. The position of the navel is not affected by a mini tummy tuck, and the incision is usually much smaller than in a full abdominoplasty.

Before you undergo a tummy tuck procedure, it is best to be within 10 pounds of your ideal weight and to maintain a healthy diet in order to get the best results. Nutrition and exercise play important roles in your recovery.

The Recovery Period

Enlist the help of family or friends for the first week after your tummy tuck. Your body will be recovering from major surgery, and you need time to rest and heal. It helps to have a handheld showerhead and plastic chair in the shower stall during the first few weeks when you cannot stand completely straight for periods of time. It may feel awkward getting around the first couple of weeks, and a cane or walker can help.

The recovery time can vary among individuals, but typically full recovery takes up to 6 weeks. Your body will continue to heal, and swelling will continue to decrease even up to 6 months. With a healthy lifestyle and barring more pregnancies, your results are relatively permanent.

Dr. Mark Mason is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons and is the Medical Director of ­Southlake Plastic Surgery in Southlake, Texas. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Mason and his staff, click on his profile or call 817-442-8900. Dr. Mason has been named a Top10MD for the past three years—recognition honored for only 1 in 3 doctors.