Achieve The Body Of Your Dreams With A Tummy Tuck

Are you after an attractive silhouette but need some help? A tummy tuck in Austin with Dr. Piazza can create a slimmer waist for those who are already at or near their ideal weight and can be the final touch to remove excess skin and tighten muscles for those who have undergone dramatic weight loss. At The Piazza Center, practice founder Dr. Rocco Piazza counts tummy tucks as one of his most requested procedures.

Body Surgery

Dr. Rocco Piazza delves into various categories for abdominal surgery in this video, including post-pregnancy, weight loss, and male aesthetic concerns. Through these procedures, natural reversals of bodily changes can be achieved.

Dr. Piazza examining a female patient's abdominal area

Tummy Tuck at a Glance

To restore balance and shape to the tummy and waistline.

This procedure focuses on reshaping the tummy by restoring the underlying anatomy. Dr. Piazza focuses primarily on repairing separated abdominal muscles (rectus diastasis), reshaping the belly button, and removing excess skin and fat from the lower tummy. Patients may benefit from liposuction to further sculpt the sides of the waist area also known as the flanks, love handles, or muffin top.

General anesthesia
Procedure length: 2.5 to 3.5 hours

There are 2 incisions for a tummy tuck procedure. One incision is inside the belly button and the second is along the bikini line in the lower tummy. The lower incision will have one or two drains that are secured along the incision to minimize scarring. Both incisions will be closed with dissolvable sutures and covered with white Steri-Strips™. A compressive binder will be placed around the abdomen to keep the patient in a flexed or “beach-chair” position (even when upright) for the first 10 to 14 days.

Ranges from 1 to 2 weeks on average. The right-side drain and all Steri-Strips will be removed 5 to 7 days after surgery. Swelling and tightness of the tummy can be expected for the first few weeks. Patients remain in a flexed or beach-chair position for the first 10 to 14 days even when upright. After approximately 10 days, most patients begin to stand more upright as the swelling and tightness have decreased. The second drain is removed 7 to 14 days after surgery.

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Tummy TuckBefore & Afters

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woman's toned abdomen

What Is A Tummy Tuck?

Sometimes referred to as an abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that contours a toned, slimmed torso by tightening lax skin and muscles. A tummy tuck is often paired with other procedures like liposuction, or is part of a full body procedure like a mommy makeover.  

Each tummy tuck is a unique undertaking because everyone’s body and medical history are unique. Dr. Piazza is board-certified and one of a handful of elite surgeons who focus on this procedure. 

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Ideal Tummy Tuck Candidates

Most tummy tucks address three primary concerns, especially for women who have had children:

During the procedure, Dr. Piazza uses liposuction to reduce abdominal fat.

He also repairs the rectus abdominis muscles if they have become separated during pregnancy (diastasis recti repair). He removes excess skin from the abdominal area.

The combination of these three procedures improves the appearance of the abdomen and provides a slim and toned midsection that looks great in a bathing suit. Even though a tummy tuck combined with liposuction reduces fat, it’s not a weight-loss procedure. Ideal candidates for abdominoplasty in Austin at The Piazza Center are in good overall health and are at or near their ideal weight.

Patients with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 30 can safely undergo a tummy tuck. Here’s a BMI calculator that can help you estimate your body fat.

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The Mini Tummy Tuck, Or The "Skin Pinch"

For some patients, a full tummy tuck is not necessary.  These patients are trim and fit and generally happy with their midsection, except for a small bit of extra skin on their lower tummies that gives them a less-than-ideal appearance.  A mini tummy tuck is perfect for these patients.

A mini tummy tuck is a modified take on the original procedure that does not touch the underlying muscles of the torso, but rather removes the unwanted, excess skin of the lower abdomen. By excising this skin, Dr. Piazza can create a balanced and shapely appearance that matches the patient’s vision body. See the results in our gallery.

Recovery time for a mini tuck is about 7-10 days, and incisions are carefully hidden so as to be undetectable in a bikini. Improvements are apparent after swelling goes down, and final results are visible after healing concludes in about 6 months. Learn more about this procedure here.

Your Personal Abdominoplasty Consultation

Women and men considering tummy tuck surgery meet with Dr. Piazza to discuss their concerns and aesthetic goals. During the consultation, he performs a physical exam to ensure that a tummy tuck is the best procedure to meet those goals. Because every patient’s case is unique, Dr. Piazza creates a customized surgical plan based on the exam and your discussion.

How A Revisional Tummy Tuck Works

Unfortunately, botched tummy tucks are not uncommon. This typically occurs when the surgeon lacks the proper experience or adequate training, or has poor communication skills and has neglected to take the time to fully understand the patient’s goals. Revisional tummy tucks are complex procedures that require a degree of advanced skill to do right. Dr. Piazza has corrected many poorly done original tummy tucks, addressing the damage done by the previous surgeon and delivering beautiful results that make the patient proud to show off their body.

What Is The Goal Of A Tummy Tuck?

The goal of a tummy tuck is to reshape the midsection by tightening the underlying muscles and tissue. Often this includes the repair of the rectus diastasis, which separates for many women after childbirth and never returns to its original shape. Another key element of the tummy tuck is reshaping the navel, ensuring that it looks and feels completely natural. Excess skin is removed as necessary, and sometimes liposuction is performed in tandem. 

Your Custom Tummy Tuck 

Dr. Piazza begins your tummy tuck by creating an incision just above the pubic bone. This incision extends across the lower abdomen, where the scar can be easily concealed by a bikini bottom. Dr. Piazza then tightens the abdominal muscles utilizing an advanced suturing technique and uses liposuction to sculpt a toned midsection. After that, he removes excess skin from the area.

Extended Tummy Tuck

This is indicated for a patient who has excess skin AND fat of the sides of the waistline (hips) and the flanks.  This allows Dr. Piazza to tighten all of the tissues around the waist and can drastically transform the total waistline.

Belly Button Positioning

Dr. Piazza repositions your belly button and ensures its appearance is aesthetically pleasing. Dr. Piazza believes that positioning the belly button correctly is one of the most important outcomes of the procedure because the belly button is so visible on the body. He sculpts the abdominal tissue around the belly button and plans the procedure so that the scar is concealed just inside the belly button. Learn more in this blog post.

How Long Is The Procedure?

A tummy tuck can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours, depending on your specific concerns and your anatomy. During your consultation, Dr. Piazza can explain precisely what techniques he uses and answer any questions you may have.

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The Extended Tummy Tuck

For patients who have lost significant weight and have an excess of hanging skin, an extended tummy tuck is typically required. During this procedure, Dr. Piazza will use the same type of incision as a regular tummy tuck, but he will extend it beyond the hips, onto the lower back. He will use liposuction to remove excess fat from the belly, lower back and flanks, then remove more excess skin than can be removed in a typical tummy tuck. He will contour the abdominal area firmly and attractively, creating a natural-looking belly button in the same manner as he would for a non-extended tummy tuck.

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Recovery From A Tummy Tuck

Patients should plan to take 1-2 weeks off of work and social activities to allow time to properly rest and recover after their surgery. Swelling, soreness, and tightness of the abdomen are normal, and subside after the first few weeks. Stay ahead of your discomfort by taking your prescription pain medication on time. We will help educate you on how to monitor and care for your surgical drains during this time. The first set of drains is removed around 5-7 days, and the second set after 7-14 days.

Patients must remain in a "beach-chair" position for the initial 10-14 days. However, it's important to get up and walk around for 5 to 10 minutes about every two hours during the day. Drink lots of fluids, and keep in mind that pain medication can cause constipation, so you may consider taking a stool softener.

Many people choose to take 2-4 weeks off work after their tummy tuck. However, you will likely be able to resume some of your usual activities after about a week or two, such as cooking, driving, and similar low-intensity activities. After about a month, you may be cleared to continue your workout routine. By the six-month point, you will be well-healed and can enjoy your flat, firm tummy!

The Piazza Center is an outlier when it comes to patient recovery, because Dr. Piazza and his fellow surgeons dedicate much more time to the post-surgical patient than is typical. They carefully monitor the healing process and follow up with the patient after the procedure is fully healed. This is to ensure that results look good and that the patient is happy with how they look. 

Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline

You’ll have the opportunity to meet with Dr. Piazza and check on your healing process at the following post-op milestones. 

Week One

Right drain and all incision dressings are removed at your post-op appointment within 5-7 days. You’ll continue to be sore and won’t be able to stand completely upright.

You may still need pain medication during this period. Continue gently walking 7 to 8 times daily to promote circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots.

Week Two

Left drain is removed after 10 to 14 days at your second post-op appointment. It should become easier to walk upright, and you’ll notice much less swelling.

You may get the green light from Dr. Piazza to resume some low-impact exercises.

One Month 

Dr. Piazza will evaluate your incisions and start you on our tummy tuck scar protocol for optimal scar healing. You should be feeling good and seeing a significant reduction in swelling.

You can stop wearing your compression garment, although some people may continue to wear it for support.

You will be cleared to resume your workout routine, but listen to your body and start slowly.

Three Months 

Most people have little to no swelling at this point, but some will experience intermittent swelling.

Scars continue to heal, and you will continue your scar protocol, including sun protection.

Six Months 

At your six-month appointment, we take your “after” photos since most patients enjoy full results at this point.

Your incisions will continue to fade over the course of a year.

Moving Forward 

After your six-month appointment, you will be scheduled for annual follow-up appointments to document your results and ensure you’re happy and healthy.

For more information on recovery after a tummy tuck, see the following blog posts:

Resuming Exercise after a Tummy Tuck

Getting Bikini Ready—Your Tummy Tuck Timeline

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Liposuction vs. Tummy Tuck: Do I Need a Tummy Tuck or Just Liposuction?

Liposuction is a great option for people with firm, elastic skin whose primary concern is addressing extra fat in the midsection. I can sculpt this area with liposuction, and healthy, resilient skin will shrink to fit the new contours. Tummy tuck surgery is the right choice if you have excess, stretched skin and separated abdominal muscles, which is often the case after massive weight loss or pregnancy. Liposuction alone will not improve either of these conditions and would produce an unsatisfying result.

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Tummy Tuck Scars

Many people considering tummy tuck surgery are concerned about scarring. While a necessary consequence of any surgery, scars can be quite tolerable with proper incision placement, creation, and post-surgical care.

Placement of Tummy Tuck & Belly Button Incisions

Dr. Piazza takes care to place the horizontal incision low on the abdomen, where the scar will be covered by clothing. For traditional tummy tucks, he places the belly button incision inside the edge of the belly button to conceal the scar in the natural contours.

Scar Healing Phases

For about 6 weeks to 18 months, expect the scars to look thick and red because of increased vascularity. Within approximately 3 months, the scars flatten and fade to a pinkish color, then become white as they mature, although patient experiences vary.

Incision Care

Patients receive detailed instructions for incision care that include keeping the belly button and the low incision clean and ensuring the incisions stay out of standing water.

Scar Treatment Options

Starting 4 weeks after surgery, patients begin our detailed tummy tuck scar protocol, which includes the application of TNS Recovery Complex® by SkinMedica, prescription scar cream, and paper or silicone tape.

Once scars have completely healed, their appearance can be improved with micropigmentation (medical tattooing), BroadBand light therapy (BBL), or scar revision surgery if necessary.

Learn more about tummy tuck scarring in this blog post.

Tummy Tuck Scars 

Dr. Piazza shows the scars at the six-week healing mark after a tummy tuck. 

Drain Care Tips With Dr. Piazza

In this short video, Dr. Piazza demonstrates how to empty and care for the surgical drains tummy tuck patients use during their recovery process. 

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Real Patients. Real Stories.Helping Our Patients to Live Confidently

Find out what it’s like to be a patient of The Piazza Center. Review the stories and “after” photos of some of the plastic surgery patients who’ve shared their experiences with us.

View all Testimonials
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Complementary Procedures And TreatmentsFor Your Tummy Tuck

While getting a tummy tuck, there are a range of other treatments that can be performed during the same anesthesia period. Dr. Piazza can perform whichever is best for you based on your unique needs. These are his top three complementary procedures that can be performed safely at the same time as your tummy tuck, leaving you with a more shapely, beautiful silhouette. 


Dr. Piazza can use liposuction to address the areas around the breast to achieve a more shapely contour and improve the breast-to-arm transition at the armpit area. This procedure takes about 15 minutes to perform and can boost confidence in sleeveless tops and swimsuits. He can also treat the inner thighs to enhance the thigh gap, which takes about 30-45 minutes. Another target area Dr. Piazza can treat with liposuction is the flank area, or "muffin-top," to transform the lower waistline and blend the transition from the bra line to the lower back.

Cellulite Correction

Dr. Piazza uses the  Aveli Cellulite Treatment to eradicate cellulite on the buttock and thigh area. This treatment is easily combined with a tummy tuck, or it can also be done with local anesthetic as a stand-alone procedure. When combined with your tummy tuck, it adds about 45 minutes to a procedure.

Nipple Reduction

Inverted or overly large nipples can be corrected to achieve a more aesthetic contour to the breasts. Adding nipple reduction or correction as an additional procedure helps women feel more confident in a swimsuit or in intimate settings, and only adds 15 minutes to the tummy tuck. 

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Tummy Tuck FAQ

Is tummy tuck surgery safe?

How much weight do you lose with a tummy tuck?

Should I lose weight before a tummy tuck?

How far in advance should I stop smoking before my procedure?

Can I get a tummy tuck after a C-section?

When can I swim after tummy tuck surgery?

Will I be able to wear a bikini after surgery?

Does a tummy tuck help remove some stretch marks?

Can I still get pregnant after tummy tuck surgery?

What are the symptoms of muscle separation after a tummy tuck?

Is tummy tuck surgery safe?

Yes, tummy tuck surgery has a long record of safety when performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. One of the more significant risks associated with tummy tuck surgery is seroma (fluid accumulation at the surgical site). We typically prevent this complication by placing surgical drains in the area for up to a week after surgery.

How much weight do you lose with a tummy tuck?

Tummy tuck surgery is not a weight loss method; it is important for my patients to understand that this is a body contouring surgery aimed to create a smoother and firmer midsection. While weight loss after a tummy tuck isn’t significant for most patients, many can wear smaller pants and dresses.

Should I lose weight before a tummy tuck?

In general, I prefer my patients to be close to their ideal weight before their surgery, usually within 5 to 10 pounds of their goal weight. For your tummy tuck to be as successful as possible, it is important that you maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. For instance, exercising regularly and not smoking will help you recover faster from surgery. Each patient has their own unique story when they come in for a consultation, and I create a customized treatment plan based on our discussion.

How far in advance should I stop smoking before my procedure?

We tell our patients to abstain from all tobacco products for 4 weeks prior to surgery. This is critical for optimal safety, healing, and results. We want all of our patients to remain tobacco-free permanently after their surgery to prolong their results and their lives.

Can I get a tummy tuck after a C-section?

Yes. I remove scars from C-section delivery when creating the lower incision so patients end up with a single horizontal scar that is usually more attractive and easier to conceal than the one created during delivery.

When can I swim after tummy tuck surgery?

Most tummy tuck patients need to wait about 6 weeks before going swimming. The abdominal muscles need time to heal before any rigorous exercise, and the incisions should be fully healed before submerging them in a swimming pool, hot tub, ocean, or other standing water.

Will I be able to wear a bikini after surgery?

Typically, I am able to place the horizontal incision low enough to be covered by a bikini and most underwear. The improvements from surgery give most patients the confidence to wear a bikini again.

Does a tummy tuck help remove some stretch marks?

Usually, some stretch marks are removed during a tummy tuck. A full tummy tuck removes a significant amount of skin from the abdomen. Any stretch marks on that skin will be removed. Some people find that their remaining stretch marks are less noticeable after surgery when the skin is tighter.

Can I still get pregnant after tummy tuck surgery?

While it is possible to get pregnant after tummy tuck surgery, I usually recommend holding off on tummy tuck surgery if a patient is planning on having more children. Additional pregnancies will once again stretch the skin and muscles and could have a negative effect on the results.

What are the symptoms of muscle separation after a tummy tuck?

I use permanent sutures to repair diastasis recti during tummy tuck surgery. While rare, significant events such as pregnancy or significant weight gain could possibly reverse the muscle plication procedure. Symptoms may include a tummy bulge or softness around the belly button.

Ready for a Flatter, Toned Abdomen?

At The Piazza Center, we believe that beautiful surgical results are enhanced by a healthy lifestyle. Our aim is to help you achieve your cosmetic goals and desires. If you would like to find out more information regarding getting a tummy tuck in Austin with Dr. Piazza, you can request an in-person or virtual consultation online or call our office at (512) 551-1067.

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