How Long Does Abdominoplasty Surgery Take?


Dr Bernard Beldholm

If you’re wondering how much a tummy tuck costs, it pays to understand factors that affect pricing. Time spent in the operating room has a big impact on tummy tuck pricing. With so many different kinds of tummy tucks, operation times vary considerably. Keep reading to find out how long it takes to perform each type of abdominoplasty. You’ll also find the link to Dr. Bernard Beldholm, FRACS recent tummy tuck costs below.

Download our short guide: “Preparing for your Abdominoplasty Surgery Checklist”

Preparing for your Tummy Tuck Surgery

Why does time in the operating room affect tummy tuck cost?

Whether you need a mini tummy tuck, a full tummy tuck or a body lift, the surgeon, anaesthetist and hospital staff must be paid for their time. The longer it takes in the operating room, the more costly the procedure. Since insurance doesn’t cover tummy tuck surgery in many cases, there is a good chance you’ll have to pay out of pocket. Knowing how long the surgery takes gives you an idea of what to expect in terms of cost if you are deciding between two procedures.

Longer procedures are more complex. Surgery may be longer because you are getting liposuction or separated ab muscles repair in addition to loose skin removal. Some tummy tuck surgeries are major operations, but not all. A mini tummy tuck can be a 1-hour operation. A full tummy tuck or body lift is going to take several hours longer. And there are many different types of tummy tucks in between.

These variables mean the cost of a quick operation like a mini tummy tuck will be quite different from a 6-hour operation. It also depends on what’s been done during your tummy tuck. So if you have muscle separation, hernias or other things that need to be fixed, it will cost more and increase operating room time.

Why do some tummy tuck operations take so long?

The operation takes several hours to perform. The exact time in the operating room depends on the type of tummy tuck surgery you need. The extent of skin removal varies from person to person. Then, there are add-ons you can choose, such as liposuction. These factors all play a role in the total surgery time…and of course, cost.

All tummy tucks are not the same

Each tummy tuck takes a different length of time in the O.R.. It really depends on what is being done during your individual tummy tuck surgery. Doctor Bernard’s tummy tuck procedure is fully customized to you. You may wish to remove loose skin, excess fat, repair separated abdominal muscles, have a hernia repair, and more.

A tummy tuck may seem like a straightforward procedure. Your surgeon is cutting away excess skin on the abdomen. Liposuction is sometimes added to a tummy tuck. As mentioned, it may also involve separated ab muscle repair or a tummy tuck with hernia repair, depending on what the patient needs.

The extent of loose skin and fat removal varies by patient as well. You may just need a mini tummy tuck to remove loose skin on the lower abdomen. That is a fast procedure. Other patients may benefit more from a full tummy tuck, which removes upper and lower loose abdominal skin. This adds more time in the O.R.

The Lipo-abdominoplasty shapes your tummy with VASER lipo and also tightens muscles and skin, but the operation takes slightly longer than a standard tummy tuck. Then there are body lifts, extended tummy tucks and fleur-de-lis tummy tucks. We’ll talk about the total operation time for each below.

The tummy has definition

Another factor to consider is that the tummy is not a flat plane. If you look down at your belly or view photos of other people, you will see that there is abdominal definition. The abdominal wall is not just a flat sheet. It has contours. It has got definition, It has muscles, it’s got concavities. This is something Doctor Bernard keeps in mind during the tummy tuck.

Moving the belly button

Most tummy tucks require navel repositioning. That means the belly button gets moved during surgery. If a lot of skin is removed, then the skin is pulled downward, the navel would look strange. It would be too low. Therefore, Doctor Bernard moves the belly button to a natural position on the tummy once the loose skin is removed. It’s all about giving the patient a natural-looking result.

It takes time to reposition the belly button. If you would like to learn more about how the belly button is moved during tummy tuck surgery, click here. Side note: If your surgeon mentions belly button removal, don’t be alarmed. Click here to find out why.

Not all tummy tucks require navel repositioning. An exception is the mini tummy tuck. Mini abdominoplasty is great for removing the flap of skin that remains after a c-section birth, assuming that is the patient’s only concern. As a mini procedure, it only focuses on loose skin removal on the lower part of the abdomen, below the bellow button. A minimal amount of skin is removed. Thus, when the skin is pulled downward to close the incision, the belly button does not move much. For this reason, navel repositioning isn’t usually needed for a mini tummy tuck. That cuts down on operation time significantly.

Book your appointment online now

How long does each kind of tummy tuck operation take?

Tummy tuck operation times vary. Below, you’ll find the operation times for the most common types of tummy tuck.

Mini tummy tuck operation time

With the shortest operation time, a mini tummy tuck takes just 1 to 3 hours in the operation room. In a “skin-only” procedure, only a small overhang of skin on the lower tummy is removed. That takes 1 hour or less. Navel repositioning is not needed. Since a small amount of skin is removed. the skin isn’t pulled much in order to close the incision. The belly button can stay where it is.

Less skin removal also means less time in the O.R. Mini tummy tucks generally do not address abdominal muscle separation (diastasis recti) after childbirth or major weight loss. It is a simple procedure. As the least-invasive tummy tuck option, it is also the fastest to perform surgically. As such, a mini tummy tuck has a faster recovery time and also costs less than a full tummy tuck.

Mini tummy tuck with liposuction operation time

You can also have a mini tummy tuck with lipo. The extent of liposuction varies based on how much fat the patient wishes to remove. Operation time increases by adding lipo. While a “skin only” mini tummy tuck takes 1 hour, a mini tummy tuck with liposuction takes 2 to 3 hours in total.

Full Abdominoplasty operation time

While mini tummy tuck benefits are numerous, there is a catch. It only addresses loose skin on the lower abdomen. It has limited uses. Most women and men that come in for a tummy tuck benefit more from a standard tummy tuck. The full tummy tuck addresses sagging skin on both the upper and lower abdomen. The whole tummy area gets a nice transformation. The result is a smooth, flat tummy — all the way from just below the chest to the pubic mound.

In a full tummy tuck, the skin is dissected up to the ribs. Then, the extra skin is removed and pulled down. The incision is stitched closed in a neat, horizontal line on the lower abdomen. Ideally, the incision is hidden in the underwear line. Some tummy tuck surgeons use tummy tuck drains, so that can add some time in the operating room. Doctor Bernard’s tummy tuck does not require drains, however. In total, a full tummy tuck usually takes 2-1/2 to 3 hours. This is reflected in the average Australia tummy tuck cost.

Full tummy tuck with lipo operation time

Many patients are interested in a tummy tuck with liposuction. This goes a step further than a traditional tummy tuck. In addition to removing extra skin on the upper and lower tummy, lipo is used for surgical fat reduction. This adds at least an hour or so to the total operation time.

Keep in mind that removing loose skin by surgically cutting it away does remove some fat, even without lipo. Some fat is always attached to the skin. So when the extra skin is removed, fat comes along with it.

Yet most patients that are concerned with fat reduction get a better result by adding lipo to the procedure.

Lipo-abdominoplasty using VASER liposuction operation time

How long does a tummy tuck with VASER lipo take in the operating room? Since we are adding an extra step to shape the tummy, it takes a bit longer than a full tummy tuck. While a full tummy tuck takes 2-1/2 to 3 hours, a VASER lipo-abdominoplasty adds nearly 2 hours more in the operating room. This procedure has a 5 to 5-1/2 operation time in total.

During this time, separated abdominal muscles can be stitched together if needed. Of course, loose skin reduction is also performed. Doctor Bernard’s Lipo-abdominoplasty also involves extensive lipo of your abdomen (front and sides of your torso), as well as mons pubis liposuction, if needed. The goal is to create a shapely abdomen with natural-looking definition.

VASER vs traditional lipo during a tummy tuck

VASER lipo takes longer than old-school lipo because it is a less aggressive type of liposuction. In Doctor Bernard’s opinion, VASER is worth the extra time in the O.R.

Extended tummy tuck operation time

Post-weight loss patients often have loose skin on both the front and sides of the tummy. The extended tummy tuck is ideal for this. It has a longer incision to remove excess skin on the abdominal front and around the hip area. This adds about 30 to 45 minutes to the operation time. Doctor Bernard performs an Extended Lipo-abdominoplasty for further definition of the abdomen.

Body lift operation time

A lower body lift (belt lipectomy) is an extensive procedure. It is the biggest skin reduction procedure for patients that have lost a significant amount of weight, often with gastric bypass, bariatric or lap band surgery.

Body lifts remove loose skin 360 degrees around the abdomen. Once the extra skin is removed, the skin on the lower body is pulled upward — like pulling your pants up and cinching your waist like a belt. This procedure takes at least 5 to 6 hours in the operating room. Like all of Doctor Bernard’s post-weight loss tummy tucks, it is customizable to your needs. Hernia repair, liposuction and abdominal muscle repair can all be added to your procedure if desired.

Operation time affects pricing

Operating room time is the main factor that affects abdominoplasty costs in Australia and other parts of the world. As discussed, operating room times varies considerably from patient to patient. A tummy tuck is a highly customized procedure. The variations make it difficult to give price quotes over the phone. A surgeon needs to see you in person at a tummy tuck consultation to get an idea of how long the surgery will take and what needs to be done surgically to achieve the body you want.

To see Doctor Bernard’s tummy tuck pricing, click here. These prices are a guideline only. The cost may vary slightly when you come in for a consultation. For example, if you have lost hundreds of kilos, that person will need more skin removal than someone that is just removing a little bit of skin and fat after pregnancy.

The bottom line is operating room times vary, and that is a big factor when it comes to tummy tuck pricing. To learn more about Doctor Bernard’s skill and expertise as an Australia body contouring surgeon, click here.

Bernard Beldholm Logo


30 Belmore Rd
Lorn NSW 2320


This website contains adult content. You must be 18 years or over to read. All surgery carries risks. You should seek a second opinion before proceeding. Results vary from patient to patient. See our disclaimer.
This is default text for notification bar