Tummy Tuck at a glance.
Procedure Time
3-4 hours
Recovery Time
Back to work in 10 days

For many women and men, the abdomen is the hardest part of the body to maintain. In cases of weight loss, pregnancy, or even the natural aging process, many people find they cannot rid themselves of stubborn fat deposits or sagging skin around their middle. Diet and exercise are not always enough to fix these problems, which is why many people visit our experienced plastic surgeon Dr. Clayton Crantford for a tummy tuck in Charleston, SC. This popular body contouring surgery is an effective way to tone and define the midsection.

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck, also referred to as an abdominoplasty, removes excess skin and fat deposits around the abdomen to produce firmer, more youthful contours throughout the midsection. It may also include muscle repair if the abdominal muscles have separated.

A tummy tuck can address an array of aesthetic issues, including:

  • Stubborn pockets of fat
  • Skin laxity around the waist and abdomen
  • Stretch marks from weight gain or pregnancy
  • Abdominal muscle separation (diastasis recti)
  • Protruding stomach even at goal weight
  • Lack of confidence due to poor contours

If you are struggling to sculpt the shapely abdomen you desire through diet and exercise alone, a tummy tuck can yield dramatic improvements that bring you closer to your body goals.

Picture Your Results in 3D

At Crantford Costa Plastic Surgery, we offer the state-of-the-art VECTRA® XT 3D imaging system to capture face, breast, and body images to help simulate your surgical outcomes during your consultation.

How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost In Charleston, SC?

Tummy tuck prices depend on a variety of factors, including the surgeon’s credentials, surgical technique, and individual patient factors. Patients are provided with a personalized price quote as part of their initial consultation.

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Who’s an Ideal Candidate for Abdominoplasty?

Candidates for any surgical procedure should be in stable physical and mental condition before undergoing surgery and should have reasonable expectations for their results. Abdominoplasty is a body contouring procedure, not a weight loss operation. The best tummy tuck candidates are in good physical condition but have excess fat, loose skin, or stretched muscles that cannot be improved with diet and exercise.

Traditional Tummy Tuck vs. Mini Tummy Tuck

A less invasive version of a traditional (full) tummy tuck, a mini tummy tuck improves a limited section of the abdomen that spans from the bellybutton to the pubic bone. It is best for patients who do not have a significant amount of lax abdominal skin and whose abdominal muscles do not need to be repaired. Very few patients are suited for a mini tummy tuck.

Tummy Tuck vs. Liposuction

Patients often wonder if they need a tummy tuck or liposuction to improve their abdominal contours. A tummy tuck tightens lax skin and stretched abdominal muscles. Liposuction removes isolated pockets of fat. Often, a combination of the procedures provides the smooth, firm contours patients are hoping for.  

Your Tummy Tuck Procedure

Abdominoplasty is done under general anesthesia and takes several hours to perform. The technique your surgeon uses will depend on the amount of excess skin and fat that must be removed, whether or not muscle repair is needed, your personal goals, and what type of recovery you are prepared for.

In general, the procedure can be divided into the following steps.

1. Anesthesia

In most cases, we use general anesthesia for tummy tucks since it provides the most comfort for our patients. This ensures you are completely comfortable and relaxed throughout the surgery. Local anesthesia with IV sedation may be appropriate for smaller procedures.

2. Incisions

There are 3 main abdominoplasty incision options your doctor may use in your procedure.

  • standard incision spans the front of the lower abdomen under the bikini line, providing optimal access for correction.
  • mini tummy tuck incision utilizes a shorter incision in the same area for those who require minimal correction.
  • An extended tummy tuck incision can reach all the way to the back of the patient’s hips, correcting much more substantial skin laxity and sagging.

3. Adjustments & Redraping

Excess abdominal skin and fat are removed. If necessary, the rectus muscles are tightened. The remaining skin is pulled down and redraped to create firmer contours. The bellybutton may be moved to a more natural and attractive position.

4. Sutures

Once all the necessary corrections have been made, the incisions are closed and dressed. Surgical drains may be used to help prevent a buildup of fluid.

What Is the Recovery Timeline for a Tummy Tuck?

Directly following your procedure, you will be given post-surgical instructions. It is imperative that you adhere to these instructions to have the smoothest, safest recovery. Failure to follow them could result in poor wound healing or suboptimal scarring.

You can expect some pain, discomfort, and swelling directly after the procedure. Your incision line will initially be red and tender. Try to be patient as you await your results. This stage is a temporary and normal part of the healing process, and what you see in the first few weeks is much different from what you can expect once you are fully recovered.

Refrain from exercise and other strenuous activities to avoid putting strain on your abdomen. Wear your compression garment as directed. You will continue to make a steady recovery and should be able to resume all of your usual activities around 6 to 8 weeks after your tummy tuck.

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What Results Can I Expect From a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is a powerful body contouring procedure with long-lasting results. It will remove any loose, sagging skin or pockets of stubborn fat hanging around your abdomen area. You can expect a firmer, flatter, more youthful appearance around your waist and stomach, leading to a more balanced body-wide contour. These improvements are long-lasting, affected only by future weight gain, pregnancy, or natural aging. Making healthy choices will increase the longevity of your results.

Can My Tummy Tuck Be Combined With Another Procedure?

Combining your tummy tuck with another procedure is not only possible, it is preferred in many cases. Patients frequently choose to combine their tummy tucks with procedures that improve their body’s contours further, such as liposuction, breast augmentation, or a breast lift. This suite of procedures is often referred to as a mommy makeover. Brazilian butt lift surgery is also a beautiful complement to a tummy tuck.

There are notable benefits to taking this approach. By combining procedures, you achieve more dramatic final results, and your surgeon can fine-tune their techniques to maximize your body’s proportionality and aesthetic harmony. You also lower surgical, facility, and anesthesia fees because you do not need multiple surgery days, and you reduce the risks associated with anesthesia because you only have to be put under once.

If you are interested in pairing your tummy tuck with additional procedures, let your surgeon know during your initial consultation.

What Happens During A Consultation

Because we want to create your ideal surgical results, the consultation is a critical part of the process. Your surgeon will walk you through your options and help you make choices that align with your anatomy and goals. This time will also be used to conduct a thorough medical history and address all your concerns and questions.

You will have another preoperative appointment closer to the date of your surgery. At this time, you will sign the consent forms, have photos and measurements taken, and receive detailed instructions for before and after surgery. Please adhere to these instructions closely as they are instrumental in ensuring your safety and comfort.

Model posing for tummy tuck

Tummy Tuck FAQs

Should I have a traditional or a mini tummy tuck?

Whether you have a traditional or mini tummy tuck depends on the results you’re looking for and the current condition of your abdominal area. For a traditional tummy tuck, a longer incision is made and it addresses the upper and lower abdomen. A mini tummy tuck only addresses the lower abdomen, has a shorter incision, and is perfect for those who don’t need as much correction.

When will I see the results of my tummy tuck?

You will start to see the full results of your tummy tuck in the first few weeks after surgery as the swelling and bruising diminish. Full results take anywhere from six months to a year to show up.

Can I have liposuction and a tummy tuck done at the same time?

Absolutely! A tummy tuck and liposuction are often combined together for an ultimate abdominal transformation.

Are the results of a tummy tuck permanent?

Yes, the results of a tummy tuck are considered permanent. That said, if you gain a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, the results can be affected. That’s why we recommend that you don’t have a tummy tuck until you are done having children.

When can I start working out after my tummy tuck?

You can start to do light exercise at about six weeks and can move to more strenuous activities around 7-10 weeks.

Can a tummy tuck treat diastasis recti?

Yes. A tummy tuck is the preferred solution for repairing diastasis recti, the partial or complete separation of the abdominal muscles that may occur during pregnancy.

How much weight do you lose with a tummy tuck?

While patients often look slimmer and fit into smaller clothes after tummy tuck surgery, it does not help them lose a significant amount of weight. Abdominoplasty is a body contouring procedure not for weight reduction.

Is tummy tuck surgery safe?

Tummy tucks, like all plastic surgery procedures, are generally safe operations. However, if you have preexisting medical conditions such as nicotine/tobacco addiction, obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes, you are at a higher risk of developing complications during surgery and recovery.

Is the surgery painful?

Moderate pain is common for the first few weeks after abdominoplasty; in most cases, it can be managed through medications prescribed by the plastic surgeon. Patients who have had muscle repair will not be able to stand completely upright for approximately a week or two. This tightness is normal and decreases as tissues gradually relax.

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Ready To Learn More?

Our doctors have decades of experience performing tummy tuck procedures and are excited to lend their expertise to your goals. If you are interested in learning more about tummy tuck procedures or would like to get started on creating your ideal figure, please contact our Charleston, SC, practice at (843) 722-5904 or request a consultation online.



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