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> My Tummy Tuck USA Home > Search for Plastic Surgeon > Jon F. Harrell, F.A.C.S.
Plastic Surgery FAQ Provided by Dr. Jon Harrell

Frequently Asked Questions

Enhancing your appearance with a Tummy Tuck

A tight, sculpted tummy is a hot commodity these days. Many people spend hours in the gym and meticulously watch what they eat in order to achieve 'rock hard abs'. For the rest of us, however, the tasks of diet and exercise are not so easy. Many factors contribute to excess fat around the waistline, including:
  • Childbirth
  • Dramatic weight gain or loss
  • Lack of exercise
  • Age
  • Genetics
The abdominoplasty procedure, commonly referred to as the "Tummy Tuck" can be an effective way of eliminating excess fatty tissues and stretched skin, and even tightening weak and collapsed abdominal muscles, dramatically flattening the waistline.

What it won't do

This procedure has yielded amazing results for countless people, but it is not a replacement for proper diet and exercise. Rather, when the abdominoplasty is used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, the results can be both amazing and long-lasting. There are some things you should consider before an abdominoplasty, however. If you are planning on dramatic weight loss, or plan on becoming pregnant, it would make sense to postpone abdominoplasty, as weight loss or pregnancy can have adverse effects on the results of the Tummy Tuck.

Stretch marks can also be a concern for those seeking abdominoplasty, and although the procedure can oftentimes remove some of the damaged skin, especially below the belly button where excess skin is removed, the abdominoplasty is not specifically performed to remove stretch marks. Talk to your doctor regarding your concerns and perhaps he or she will have a suggestion for the best course of action.

Is it right for me?

As with any cosmetic enhancement surgery, you should first consider your motivations for surgery to be sure that you're choosing surgery for yourself and not to fulfill someone else's' desires or expectations of you or your body. It is a very personal matter and any decision for surgery should come after careful consideration of all the facts and emotions involved.

The abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck may be a good option for you if you:

  • Maintain good physical health and weight
  • Don't smoke
  • Have realistic expectations
  • Are frustrated by your attempts at weight loss and firming of your abdominal area with diet and exercise
  • Have stretch marks from lack of elasticity
What to expect during your consultation

In order to create the best possible results from your Tummy Tuck surgery, it is important that your surgeon consult with you to discuss your desires and expectations, as well as how abdominoplasty surgery will impact your health, lifestyle and general well-being. It is a good idea to prepare by considering the following before your consultation:
  • General medical history, including the results of laboratory work and past surgeries
  • A detailed account of current prescription medications, supplements (vitamins or others) that you take
  • Any use of tobacco or other drugs
  • What are your motivations for surgery? What are your expectations?

At the consultation, your surgeon will also:

  • Evaluate your current health
  • Photographically document the abdominal area
  • Based on the information gathered, your surgeon will discuss your surgical options and recommend a course of treatment
  • Disclose the risk of common complications associated with abdominoplasty surgery and the use of anesthesia
  • Cover what to do the day of surgery
  • Cover post-operative care and recovery

Preparing for surgery

In the weeks before surgery, your surgeon may request:

  • Further laboratory testing or medical evaluations
  • Adjusting current prescriptions
  • That you avoid the consumption of alcohol, drugs and abstain from smoking for a certain period surrounding surgery

Finally, your surgeon will go over the options you may have regarding the location of your surgery. Typically, abdominoplasty procedures are performed in an accredited surgical center, outpatient ambulatory surgical center or a hospital.

Important facts about the safety and risks of abdominoplasty

Ultimately, the decision to undergo the Tummy Tuck procedure is yours alone. After careful consideration of both the risks and benefits of surgery, you'll have to weigh the risks against the potential benefits to make an informed decision that you can live with. Your health care professional will go over all potential risks of surgery and will make themselves available to answer any and all of your questions.

Here is a listing of some of the risks associated with Tummy Tuck surgery:

  • Adverse scarring
  • Excessive bleeding (hematoma)
  • Infection
  • Complications associated with scar healing, including pain associated with surgery
  • Fluids aggregation
  • Necrosis, or fatty tissues deep within the affected area may die
  • Leg swelling that won't go away
  • Skin loosening persists
  • Potential risks of anesthesia use
  • Blood clots

What happens during tummy tuck surgery?


Depending on your individual circumstances, your doctor will suggest either intravenous or general anesthesia.

The Incision

Surgeons today have almost perfected the art of the abdominoplasty incision, so that scarring is minimal and is located between the pubic hairline and the belly button where it can be covered by bathing suits or underwear. Of course, the length of the incision will be determined by your surgeon, based on the nature of your individual surgical needs.

The incision itself is the portal through which the surgeon will remove excess fatty tissues and repair sagging, weak abdominal muscles. A second, smaller, vertical incision may be required between the pubic hairline and the belly button to remove excess skin left by the removal of the fatty tissue.

Closing the incisions

Once the procedure has been completed, the incisions are closed with layered sutures, clips and surgical tape.

See the results

The immediate results are oftentimes difficult to see through the swelling and discoloration caused by the procedure itself. However, within a week or two you'll be fully ambulatory, able to stand-up straight and appreciate the new, slimmer you.

My recovery

The recovery period immediately following your surgery is critical to achieving the best results possible from the surgery. It is, therefore, of paramount importance that you follow your doctor's instructions exactly. Bandages will need to be changed and restrictions on physical activity are just a few of the steps one must take in order to fully realize the potential results of abdominoplasty surgery. In most cases, you can return to work within two weeks and resume limited physical activity shortly thereafter.

Here are some important questions regarding recovery to ask your doctor before surgery:

  • Where will I recover directly after surgery?
  • Will I be prescribed any post-surgery medications?
  • How often do my bandages need to be changed and when will they be removed permanently?
  • When will the stitches be removed?
  • How soon will I need to return for a follow-up visit?
How much will tummy tuck surgery cost?

Cost depends on many varying factors, including the experience of the surgeon and the location of the procedure. Be sure to interview several surgeons when doing your research so you can get a clear picture of your options. Oftentimes, higher cost is not indicative of higher quality; but, it can also be said that you get what you pay for. Shop around and do your homework.

Costs you can expect to incur:

  • Surgeon's fee
  • Facility fee
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Medications
  • Laboratory tests

In addition, many plastic surgeons offer their own patient financing plans, so be sure to ask your doctor!


Email Dr. Harrell

Jon F. Harrell, F.A.C.S.
Center for Cosmetic Surgery
Office Address:
2133 North Commerce Pkwy.
Weston, FL 33326
Email Dr. Harrell

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