Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is one of today’s most popular body sculpting procedures, both nationwide and at Dr. Ellen Mahony’s plastic surgery practice serving Westport and Fairfield, Connecticut.

Tummy tuck surgery picks up where a healthy diet and regular exercise leave off, helping to reshape your midsection by flattening and tightening your stomach. It’s designed to remove excess skin from the waist and abdomen, and tighten abdominal muscles that have been stretched and weakened over time.

Ideal candidates include: people who’ve lost a good deal of weight (including through gastric bypass); women whose abdominal muscles and skin have been stretched and weakened by pregnancy or age; and men who are self-conscious about their spare tire.

If your excess skin is limited to just your lower abdomen, you may only require a mini tummy tuck. This less invasive procedure — which involves only minimal skin removal, scarring and recovery time — is an excellent choice if you want to define your waistline and tighten your lower abdomen.

On the other hand, for some people, a tummy tuck alone will not fully re-sculpt your midsection. In this case, a tummy tuck along with sculpting the hips and flanks with tumescent liposuction may help you explore for a more proportional look.

Here are three common styles of tummy tucks to meet the needs of just about every belly:

  • A mini tummy tuck removes just a little bit of skin along the lower tummy. An example would be to remove an old cesarean section scar and some nearby loose skin only.
  • A modified tummy tuck removes additional skin from the lower belly, but the belly button and upper tummy are not changed. The muscles of the lower belly can also be tightened.
  • A full tummy tuck includes removing the maximum amount of skin as well as tightening the upper belly skin and repositioning the belly button. The muscles of the upper and lower belly can also be tightened.

What’s the appropriate choice for you? Come in and talk with Ellen and read her blog on the topic here. She’ll discuss your unique situation, outline your options (for example, full or mini tummy tuck), and explain what you should expect in your recovery period — all in the straightforward, honest manner that has become her trademark.


Ellen understands that by educating her patients, they become empowered. Toward that goal, she has provided her personal answers to some of the questions she is often asked by her patients considering tummy tuck surgery in Westport, Connecticut.

If you don’t see your question here or would like to find out whether a tummy tuck is right for you, request a no-pressure consultation with Ellen or call (203) 221-0102. She serves tummy tuck patients from nearby communities including Fairfield, Hartford, New Haven, and Westchester, NY, and as far away as Fiji. She looks forward to seeing you soon.

Stomach exercises are a major part of my fitness routine and I’ll want to keep them up after my tummy tuck to preserve my results. How long before I can do them again after my surgery?

I can relate to any workout obsession (read about my 2014 body building obsession!) Even though you’ll have amazing results after your tummy tuck you still need to keep the underlying muscles strong and flexible. You’ll have to wait about 6-10 weeks post-op; the time varies depending on whether muscle tightening work was done during your surgery. We’ll work together in your post-op appointment to craft a plan to slowly ramp up your activity and to get you back to crunches and other exercises for your midsection- there is no question that what you do after the surgery to finesse your results will continue to contribute to the overall result!

If I get a tummy tuck in the spring, will I be bikini ready by summer?

While everyone’s recovery time is different, if you follow your post-op instructions, you should have no problem slipping into your favorite bikini by the warm summer months here in Fairfield County, CT! I find most women need to be reminded to slow down and allow their body to heal at its own pace – don’t try to do too much! You’ll be able to start exercising again about 4 weeks after surgery, depending on your regimen. We’ll create a great plan together in your post-op consultation. I’m a fitness fanatic myself so I’ll be cheering you on your way to a beautiful recovery!

Can men get a tummy tuck?

Great question! While most people think about women when it comes to tummy tucks – and an overwhelming number of my patients for the procedure are women (perhaps because I’m one of the few female board certified plastic surgeons in Fairfield County) men are certainly great candidates for a tummy tuck. Like women, if men gain and then lose a lot of weight, they can be left with loose skin and lax muscle tone that no amount of gym time can solve. You can tone muscle but you can’t tone the skin after it becomes loose and the gut is one place that men tend to gain weight when they gain.

Is it OK to get pregnant after a tummy tuck?

It’s OK to have a baby after a tummy tuck, but expect that you may have recurrent laxity of the skin, which may require a revision. The best situation is to complete your family before committing to a tummy tuck so that the beautiful results will be long lasting. However, if you are uncertain of plans for children, there is no reason to deny yourself the opportunity to enhance your shape, just be aware that a revision may be necessary in the future and the results are typically not as nice as the first surgery.

Will my stretch marks be gone after a tummy tuck?

The stretch marks that are at the lowest part of your belly are often able to be removed, but those that are along the hips and above the belly button are not removed. The good news is that those above the belly button are often in a lower position after a full tummy tuck.

Is muscle tightening part of my tummy tuck?

Repositioning the long muscles in the belly can be valuable when they are separated due to prior pregnancies or surgery. The gap between the muscles may reduce the ability of the muscles to fully tighten and flatten the belly. When the gap is visible or the muscle wall is weak, the muscles can be realigned to provide greater support to the belly. So, not everyone needs the procedure but when weakness or a gap is noted, repositioning is helpful.

Is liposuction part of a tummy tuck?

No. A tummy tuck really just involves removing the excess skin and the attached fat from the belly. Adding liposuction to an associated area is an additional procedure.

Can I combine other procedures with my tummy tuck?

This can be a great idea if the time in the operating room is not excessive and you’re healthy! I like to determine this on an individual basis. Combination procedures are often referred to as Mommy Makeovers.

How much is this going to hurt?

Ahhhh, the good news is that it’s less “hurt” and more like tightness. It will feel like you did way too many sit-ups. And the tightness is in both directions: up and down as well as side to side. That’s because the surgery creates tightening in both of these directions to best sculpt your tummy.

Will I need drains?

The simple answer is that you might. Think of it this way: All of that loose skin is lifted away from your muscles, where it was previously adherent. At the time of surgery, it is no longer adherent. In fact, it takes several days for that newly taut skin to “stick” back down. In the meantime, your body is actively healing the area and sends the healing cells below your skin, with water. If too much water is under the skin, it gets in the way of the skin sticking down to the muscle. So, the drains are simply placed to expedite the healing (take up the excess water), and get you up and running ASAP. Sure, they’re a nuisance but really no big deal. As far as taking them out? Don’t sweat it … totally overrated event!

Will my belly button look worse after my tummy tuck?

Gosh, I hope not! In a full tummy tuck, your belly button appears on your belly in a new location, after all the skin is tightened up. Here’s how it works: The belly button is actually attached at its base to the muscle area. During the surgery, the part that you can see is separated from the surrounding skin. Then, once the tummy is tightened and the skin repositioned, your belly button is brought up and out through a new opening. I like to shape it as an oval, and I think they look way better!