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Tummy Tucks - Pearwood Plastic Surgery - Dr. Kevin Murphy

Tummy Tucks



Tummy Tucks

Sagging abdominal skin and a protruding midsection can have a large effect on women and men’s self-confidence. These cosmetic concerns can arise as a result of weight loss, pregnancy, age, or heredity. No matter what the cause, a tummy tuck may be the right solution.


A tummy tuck, clinically known as abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure that removes loose or excess abdominal skin and repairs diastasis recti (abdominal muscles that become stretched apart) in order to improve midsection contour*. This procedure is commonly performed on women after pregnancy or those who have experienced large fluctuations in weight. Depending on the extent of the cosmetic concerns, there are different techniques Dr. Kevin Murphy can utilize to provide each patient with their desired results. A tummy tuck procedure will provide a flatter, more toned abdominal wall and more contoured waist which, in turn, can improve self-image*.


A good candidate for a tummy tuck is someone who has moderate to significant excess skin on their midsection which may be accompanied by separated abdominal muscles. Patients looking into this procedure should be in good health and have realistic expectations. Mothers who have had one or more pregnancies often look into a tummy tuck procedure to correct skin laxity and diastasis recti*. Significant weight loss is another reason patients may consider a tummy tuck because once skin has stretched to a certain degree, it will not return to normal tautness through exercise alone; it will require surgical intervention.

It is important for potential patients to understand that a tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss. Women and men interested in this procedure should be within 50 lbs of their goal weight. It is advised that candidates first reach a stable weight before coming in for a consultation as excess weight can cause complications during surgery. Women considering a tummy tuck should not plan on future pregnancies; they should first complete their family.

Pearwood Plastic Surgery - Tummy Tuck


At Pearwood Plastic Surgery, we understand that no two patients are alike. Through his years of experience, Dr. Murphy has perfected his tummy tuck techniques and custom variations to address an array of cosmetic concerns. Dr. Murphy will advise you on what will result is the most optimal results for your body and your desires*.


The mini tummy tuck procedure focuses on the lower portion of the abdomen for those who only have lower abdominal contour concerns. This incision is the smallest of all the abdominoplasty techniques, allowing it to be well concealed under the pant line. The doctor will separate the skin from the muscles between the pubic line and the navel (belly button). This will allow him to tighten the lower abdominal muscles, and remove excess skin and any fat deposits that reside in this region. The navel may or may not be re-positioned depending on the needs of the specific patient.


The standard tummy tuck addresses the abdomen both above and below the navel. An incision is made low along the abdomen from hipbone to hipbone as well as around the bellybutton. The abdominal muscles will be tightened with sutures in addition to removing excess skin. The belly button opening will be re-positioned for proportionate results. This technique is best for patients who have a large amount of excess skin or excess skin in the upper portion of the abdomen. Liposuction may be used throughout the upper and lower abdomen or flanks to remove any localized fatdeposits.


Dr. Murphy has found that in order to provide optimal results for women, a high lateral tension tummy tuck may be one of the most appropriate methods for selected patients*. This technique is based on the finding that after weight loss or pregnancy, skin redundancy occurs not only in the central portion of the tummy but also in the flanks. Moving some of this excess tissue from the flanks towards the central abdomen improves the appearance of the flanks and waist*. The tissue is redistributed to enhance the recti (‘six-pack’) muscles creating a more natural shape that created by some techniques*. Wound healing problems and stretched scars are less likely as there less tension on the central abdomen*. With this philosophy, the midsection is kept feminine and natural-looking while providing smoother, more defined results.


The extended tummy tuck is similar to the standard technique. However, the extended tummy tuck requires a larger incision to address a wider area. The incision runs from one side of the lower back across the lower tummy to the other, covering not only the central abdomen but also the flanks. This is more likely to be required in patients who have a broader body habits or have undergone larger changes in weight. Failure to recognize and address excess tissue in the flanks can result in disappointment despite an excellent correction of the tummy itself. The abdominal muscles are tightened with sutures and excess skin is removed. Liposuction may be used to remove excess fat deposits as necessary.


During the initial consultation with Dr. Kevin Murphy, he will ask the patient about his or her concerns and what their desired cosmetic goals are. The doctor will then review the patient’s medical history, previous surgeries, and routine medications in order to ensure that this procedure can be accomplished safely and with minimal complication profile.

Pearwood Plastic Surgery - Tummy Tuck

The next step of the consultation is an examination toidentify the patient’s particular concerns and what can realistically be accomplished*. This will help the doctor determine candidacy and ensure that a tummy tuck will be the ideal procedure to obtain the patient’s desired results*. If there is the possibility that the patient may have an unrecognized hernia, this will need to be characterized to avoid unexpected problems during the tummy tuck surgery*. The hernia may also be addressed by a specialist at the time of surgery treating both problems at once to ensure a good cosmetic outcome and maintenance of good health.

If a patient is deemed to be a good candidate, Dr. Murphy and the patient will then work together to build a personalized treatment plan. This will include a plan to decide on which surgeries to perform, how to minimize risks associated with the surgery and anesthesia and how to optimize scarring for an excellent result*.

During this time, the patient will receive an individualized quote for their tummy tuck procedure and any other surgeries. Before leaving the office, the patient will be given the option to schedule their procedure date, but this is not obligated. If the tummy tuck surgery date has been scheduled, the patient will be given preparatory instructions to follow to ensure safety and the best possible results.


In the weeks preceding a tummy tuck surgery, patients will be asked to follow certain instructions in order to properly prepare for their surgery.

It is advised that all patients avoid taking any anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) two weeks before their procedure. These are contained in aspirin and almost all over the counter (OTC) painkillers except acetaminophen. Herbal remedies including fish oil and many others can also create a bleeding tendency and patients should abstain from these for all of the products for at least one week prior to surgery.

Patients that smoke will be asked to cease active and passive smoking six weeks prior to undergoing surgery. Support is available to help you so you don’t have to do this alone. Patients who cannot abstain are at increased risk of problems with wound healing and wound separation and may not be good candidates at that time.

Many patients are being prescribed steroids or newer immunosuppressive medications with increasing frequency for a variety of common chronic conditions.

These may interfere with appropriate and timely wound healing. Reduction or temporary cessation of these medications need to be considered in the consultation with the prescribing physician and patient to minimize complications during or after surgery or adverse health effects from the condition being treated.

If you have felt nauseated after an anesthetic before, this can often be prevented by administering medications before, during, or and after your surgery for a smoother ride than before*.

Dr. Murphy requires patients to arrange a ride home the day of the procedure because they will be unable to drive themselves. More individualized instructions will be provided at the consultation. Patients who have any questions regarding preparation or the procedure itself should feel free to contact our office. Please let us answer your questions. We are happy to help!


Tummy tucks are performed on a day surgery basis and take about two to three hours to complete. This surgical time will vary if the patient decides to undergo additional procedures such as liposuction, an extended tummy tuck or other procedures such as breast lift or breast augmentation.

Pearwood Plastic Surgery - Tummy Tuck

Before beginning the procedure, a certified anesthesiologist will interview the patient to ensure patient safety and comfort under general anesthesia during the procedure. Dr. Murphy will place some reference markings on the patient’s skin in the standing position since the surgery is performed with the patient reclined. Once the patient is asleep, Dr. Murphy can begin the tummy tuck. The incision length, incision location(s), and extent of the procedure will vary depending on the technique that is being used. If liposuction is utilized, the doctor will insert a cannula through some tiny skin incision depending on the areas that need to be addressed. A special fluid mixture in injected for pain relief and to minimize bleeding as a special suction and cannulas are used to remove the correct amount of excess fat.

Once this has been completed, Dr. Murphy may place drains before closing the incisions with sutures.

The drains will collect surgical fluid that may accumulate within the abdominal wall after the surgery. Lastly, the doctor will wrap the patient’s midsection in a compression garment.

When the anesthesiologist is happy that the patient has emerged sufficiently from general anesthesia, he or she will be taken to the recovery area (PACU) while they slowly wake up fully from the anesthesia.


The patient will be required to stay in the recovery room for one to two hours before being released to go home. During this time, the patient will be closely monitored by nursing staff. Before leaving the office, the patient will be given recovery instructions to follow to ensure a successful recovery and optimal results*. To help with any discomfort during the healing process, patients will be provided with a prescription for pain medication; normally a combination of a narcotic and acetaminophen*. The narcotic is normally phased out as patient comfort allows after a couple of days and can be replaced with other drugs such as tramadol and ibuprofen.

For patients with a personal or strong family history of clotting disorders, a medication may be recommended to reduce your risk of developing these. Any drains will normally be removed several days later in the office and these do not require any anesthesia. The compression garment should be worn at all times throughout the recovery period; this will help to reduce swelling and bruising*.

Deciding to perform a tummy tuck or other surgical procedure is an investment in yourself and your personal satisfaction with your body image. Dr. Murphy recommends that his patients slowly increase to normal light daily activities one there to five day period and for about three days and avoid strenuous activities that put pressure on the abdomen for four to five weeks. This may vary depending on the extent of the case. Patients who have any questions or concerns during this time should contact our office. Our knowledgeable staff is happy to assist in any way they can.

Dr. Murphy advises his patients to briefly walk the night of the procedure to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of blood clots in the leg veins.


Enjoying activities like laying poolside in a bathing suit and enjoying new confidence in social settings is realized quickly by most patients.

Pearwood Plastic Surgery - Tummy Tuck

Patients who undergo abdominoplasty will see a noticeable difference in the contour of their midsection*. Their abdominal muscles will no longer protrude loosely and the skin will lay tight and flat on the abdominal wall*. Scars all mature and fade over a 6-18 months period in most patients*. Ideally, they should not be exposed to strong sunlight which can adversely affect this progression in some patients. The majority of patients begin to feel more confident and find themselves wearing tight-fitting dresses or fashionable sheer clothing in the fitness center*.


After the initial recovery period, the psychological and physical improvements resulting from a tummy tuck procedure are achieved very quickly*. Whether you desire to look your best for the winter holiday party season, après-ski in spring or looking your best for that sun vacation season, planning that new you with plenty of time for recovery will ensure you look and feel your best*.


The cost of a tummy tuck procedure varies depending on factors such as the technique used and additional procedures undergone to meet the patient’s desired results. During the initial consultation at our Pearland location, Dr. Murphy will be able to provide the patient with a personalized tummy tuck quote that is tailored specifically to his or her needs.

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