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What is a tummy tuck?

Abdominoplasty, commonly called a tummy tuck, creates a flat, toned abdomen by reducing excess abdominal skin and tissue. An abdominoplasty may include:

  • Correction of diastasis, a condition in which the abdominal muscles have vertically separated.
  • The correction of excess skin and fat on the upper and lower abdomen. This typically involves an incision that may be several inches in length and may extend from hip to hip, right above the pubic area. There may also be a small incision around the belly button.

Am I a candidate for a tummy tuck?

Reshaping disproportionate curves and reducing unwanted fat and skin cannot always be achieved through weight loss and exercise alone. Our Michigan tummy tuck can dramatically improve the shape and proportion of your upper and lower abdomen, enhancing your appearance and self-esteem.

These factors generally define ideal candidates for abdominoplasty procedures:

  • Aging, heredity, pregnancy, prior surgery or weight fluctuations have left you with extra skin on your abdomen, abdominal muscle weakness, or both.
  • You do not smoke. Smoking slows down the healing process and increases the risk of serious complications during and after surgery. If you smoke, you must quit at least six weeks before surgery.
  • Your weight is stable. Slender individuals with extra fat and loose skin in the lower tummy are the best candidates; if you are generally obese, this procedure is not appropriate for you.
  • If you have a significant amount of intra-abdominal fat surrounding your internal organs, you may need to slim down before considering a tummy tuck.
  • You are physically healthy. You must be in relatively good physical shape to tolerate this procedure.
  • You are finished having children. The muscles that are repaired during an abdominoplasty can separate again during future pregnancy.
  • Internal or external scars from any previous abdominal surgery may also affect your candidacy.

Why choose Dr. Ringler?

Dr. Steven L. Ringler is a board-certified plastic surgeon who is internationally recognized for his accomplishments in plastic surgery. Whether you want to completely reshape your abdomen or correct a small amount of excess flab in the area, his extensive experience and expertise in tummy tuck procedures, along with his state-of-the-art technology, can achieve what diet and exercise alone cannot.

Drainless Tummy Tuck: The procedure

What to expect

Dr. Ringler performs drainless tummy tucks on an outpatient basis and under general anesthesia. He uses various techniques based on your body type and goals. The drainless tummy tuck approach has allowed for the elimination of surgical drains post-operatively for most Michigan patients. These plastic surgical drains are typically employed to reduce seroma, which is the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen post-operatively.

The two preferred approaches that Dr. Ringler uses to increase patient comfort and speed recovery are the Avelar technique and the use of progression tension sutures. There are times when a mini tummy tuck is all that is necessary for our Michigan patients to achieve their goals. Here’s an overview of these techniques:

Tummy Tuck Michigan


Different types of tummy tucks

  • The progression tension suture technique

    Dr. Ringler’s preferred type of tummy tuck uses progression tension sutures to secure the abdominal skin flap to the underlying connective tissue called fascia, thereby distributing tension over a larger area. This technique eliminates the space where the seroma formation would typically occur and provides excellent results.

    Because there is no room for the seroma to develop, there is no need for surgical drains. Typically, our Michigan patients recover more quickly with increased comfort and mobility and have fewer post-operative concerns with this approach.

  • The Avelar tummy tuck

    This tummy tuck is named after Dr. Juarez Avelar, who pioneered the technique in Brazil in the 1990s. Back then, there were more complications when tummy tuck and liposuction were performed in combination. Dr. Avelar developed a tummy tuck that kept the fat and skin from being separated from the fascia, ensuring that the blood vessels remained intact throughout the procedure.

    With this technique, the risk of seroma (the accumulation of fluids) is minimized and blood flow to the tissues remains intact – which allows liposuction to be safely added. By eliminating the need for outside plastic surgical drains and improving blood flow, your recovery is quicker and more comfortable, with fewer complications.

  • The mini tummy tuck

    A mini-tummy tuck is the correction of limited excess skin confined to the central portion of the lower abdomen. It requires an incision at or just above the pubic region, which may be shorter in length than the one required for a full tummy-tuck. Combining liposuction with a mini tummy-tuck can provide excellent results without the downtime of a full abdominoplasty for some of our Grand Rapids, MI patients.

Enhance your tummy tuck with complementary procedures

Your Michigan tummy tuck may be performed as a stand-alone procedure or in conjunction with SafeLipo, breast augmentation, breast lift, and mommy makeover.


Dr. Ringler uses SofPulse to accelerate recovery for our Grand Rapids, MI patients. SofPulse uses targeted micro-currents to transmit gentle pulses to the tissue, which can reduce swelling and speed up the natural recovery process. Recovery from abdominoplasty may take one to two weeks, but you will be up walking the day of surgery.

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Steven L. Ringler, MD, FACS

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Tummy Tuck FAQ's

Are the results permanent?

Results are long-lasting, but weight fluctuations or pregnancy can change your results. Normal aging and gravity may also affect your outcomes over time.

What will my scars look like?

Scars are normal after surgery and may be concealed by normal clothing and lingerie.

What should I know about abdominoplasty surgery?

  • Abdominoplasty is performed on an out-patient basis.
  • Abdominoplasty is performed under general anesthesia.
  • Scars are normal after surgery and may be concealed by normal clothing and lingerie.
  • Recovery from abdominoplasty may take 1-2 weeks, but you will be up and active the day of surgery.
  • Dr. Ringler uses SofPulse to accelerate recovery. SofPulse uses targeted microcurrents to transmit gentle pulses to the tissue to help reduce swelling and speed up the natural recovery process.
  • Results are long-lasting, but weight loss/gain or pregnancy can change your results and normal aging and gravity may affect your outcomes over time.
  • You will need a capable adult with you for 24 hours after surgery.

Will I be in pain after surgery?

Most patients experience mild to moderate pain throughout the days following surgery, but this pain can easily be managed with prescription medication. We will work with you to ensure you get what you need to ease the recovery period.

Should I wait until after I’m done having children to get a tummy tuck?

Pregnancy will stretch and alter the skin on your abdomen, so if you get a tummy tuck before having children, you may need revision surgery later. If you’re planning on waiting before having another child, it might be worth it to have the years in between look fantastic, and it’s not unheard of for women to choose this path.

Can a tummy tuck help with my stretch marks?

If you’re suffering from stretch marks from pregnancy or weight loss, a tummy tuck in Michigan can reduce or remove the appearance of the stretch marks, depending on where they are located on your abdomen. As long as you voice your goals and discuss them with our surgeon beforehand, we can often perform the surgery with stretch mark removal in mind.

Tummy Tuck Michigan

Steven L. Ringler, MD, FACS


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