woman in white underwear and bra has a measuring tape around her wrist while her hands are on her stomach

People get plastic surgery for all kinds of reasons. It could be to look better, to take care of unwanted and unnecessary skin, or even to help with medical issues. And an hourglass tummy tuck is no different. It is also one of the most common procedures done in plastic surgery. 

Many people may assume that plastic surgery is done for vanity and on areas that could be fixed through other means. But often, and with tummy tucks especially, someone has done all they can, and the sagging skin in that area will never change without a more permanent solution. A tummy tuck helps with issues that might never be resolved otherwise. 

It can be done in combination with other procedures like breast augmentation or on its own. And there are different kinds someone may wish to choose from. The traditional tummy tuck does differ from the hourglass tummy tuck. 

Why Tummy Tuck?

Someone might choose to get a tummy tuck because of many factors, not just looks. These could include significant weight change, leaving excess skin or fat, pregnancy, surgery (like a C-section), wanting a different body shape, or aging. And all of those reasons are valid. A tummy tuck can help someone feel more confident in their body, remove excess skin and fat, and help someone move through the world more easily. 

There are, of course, times when getting a tummy tuck might not work for you. If you are planning to lose a lot of weight, have a BMI higher than 30, smoke, plan to get pregnant in the future, or suffer from a chronic health issue that could provide complications during the procedure, getting a tummy tuck may need to wait. But speaking with a licensed plastic surgeon is the best way to determine if getting a tummy tuck is a good fit for you.  

What is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is designed to remove any excess skin and stubborn fat from the abdomen. It is also called an abdominoplasty. The surgery removes the skin and fat and may also involve the tightening of fascia, the connective tissue in the abdominal wall, with sutures. The skin is then arranged to create a more toned look at the end. 

It is a fairly invasive procedure, but also common. While there are risks, it is not excessively dangerous and people often choose to get a tummy tuck due to body issues that cannot be resolved through a healthy diet and weight loss alone. 

The Traditional Tummy Tuck

A traditional tummy tuck is incredibly common and is based around removing loose skin and fat from the abdomen. It will not change the exact shape of your body outside of that, but it can be all someone is looking for. 

This procedure involves an incisional scar across the lower portion of the abdomen. It results in a longer scar, but it is easy to cover up, even when wearing a bathing suit. The surgeon will remove the loose skin in that area after stretching it to see what can comfortably be taken away. The abdominal muscles in that area can also be tightened through the procedure. 

Some plastic surgeons do things differently, so be sure that you get all the details you need if you are considering a tummy tuck. Do they use a drain to remove excess fluid? Are these results (which will only remove the skin and fat) precisely what you want?

The traditional tummy tuck will tighten your abdominal skin and give you a flatter belly, but will not narrow your waist significantly. 

Some people want to go for a more sculpted look that will actually change their physical figure. In this case, they may choose to go with an hourglass tummy tuck, which can create a more hourglass waist shape along with removing the excess fat and skin like a traditional tummy tuck.

The Hourglass Tummy Tuck

The hourglass tummy tuck, as the name suggests, aims to adjust your figure to a more hourglass shape and change your body more than a traditional tummy tuck. Knowing the difference is important to get the correct procedure for you and knowing what to expect. People may see the before and after images of an hourglass tummy tuck and think it is the traditional tuck. 

This procedure is more complicated than a traditional tummy tuck and involves more work to change the body shape. It involves a traditional tummy tuck, liposuction, and a Brazilian butt lift. Changing the body’s shape more than taking away excess skin and fat is more invasive, but the results are also more dramatic. 

You are more likely to achieve the look you want with an hourglass tummy tuck, especially if you want to change your previous physique. It will change not only your abdominal area, but also the silhouette of your waist.

How to Prepare

Like any medical procedure, you want to make the proper preparations to both have the surgery and recover safely. You will need to consult a plastic surgeon about all the required procedures and what will work for your body. You will have a complete medical exam done to ensure there won’t be any complications and review your medical history. 

Depending on your reasoning for a tummy tuck, your doctor may have additional questions. If you are getting it done for or after weight loss, you should discuss your history of weight loss and gain. Remember to mention any allergies to medications and your previous surgical experiences. 

Some steps would make your procedure safer, including quitting smoking and maintaining a stable weight. If you have undergone significant weight loss and want to remove the excess skin, it is usually recommended that you maintain your weight for about a year before getting the procedure. 

You may be asked to stop taking or avoid taking certain medications, like any anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin, as they can increase bleeding. But speak to your plastic surgeon about this and any other concerns, so you know what to expect. 

As the surgery is invasive, you will need to plan how you will recover and see who can help you through that process. The hourglass tummy tuck is more involved, so you will need to plan for time off to rest and recuperate. 

The Procedures

To achieve an actual hourglass look, more has to be done to the body. This is especially true if you didn’t have much of a waist before. The hourglass tummy tuck involves three different procedures, all wrapped up together to give you that smaller waist and sleeker silhouette. 

Tummy Tuck

As detailed above, a traditional tummy tuck is still involved in an hourglass tummy tuck. By removing excess skin and fat and tightening the muscles in the abdomen with sutures, the waistline is tauter and able to enhance the hourglass look further when obtained. 

This procedure primarily focuses on the front of the body, whereas the other two procedures round out the look. A tummy tuck is crucial to obtaining the hourglass shape, but it can’t do it alone. 


Liposuction helps with more of the sculpting required on the hips, waist, and back. This allows for a more sculpted look by removing fat from very specific areas and placing them elsewhere. Most surgeons will remove fat from the waist area and add more shape to the hips to help create that expected hourglass look. 

It’s important to note that sculpting with liposuction will not fix specific things. The procedure isn’t done for weight loss purposes and will not remove scarring or cellulite from the skin. Liposuction is added to the tummy tuck to help achieve a more specific figure. 

Brazilian Butt Lift

A Brazillian butt lift is a fat transfer that helps you achieve a more full and perky backside and is essential to the hourglass look. It helps enhance the buttocks and complements the look established through liposuction. This does not involve implants or anything foreign being added to the body. It is the redistribution of fat from other areas.

While a Brazilian butt lift helps with the overall look, it also depends on what you want. Some people may not want fat added to certain areas, so it is up to you to decide how the final result should look. 

Expectations and Risks

Before you begin the process of getting plastic surgery, you need to know what to expect. You will be put under anesthesia and need an adequate amount of time to recover. This also means you may not immediately be able to see or appreciate the results since there will be some swelling and bruising in the area. You should not experience any pain during the procedure, but may be given pain medication after.


The recovery takes time, so it is good to know you can take that time off and have people to assist you. After 2 to 4 weeks, you will probably be able to resume regular activity. Since an hourglass tummy tuck is more work than a traditional tummy tuck, you may need a bit more time to feel back to normal.

Following the surgery, you may have drains for a few days and need medical staff to show you how to prevent infection. You will need to wear protective garments like an abdominal binder for several weeks to help with the healing process and support the areas where work was done. 

The Benefits

Getting an hourglass tummy tuck will help with skin and fat you can’t get rid of through diet and exercise and will give you the curvy body you may have always wanted. It will do more than a traditional tummy tuck and could help you better realize your dream figure. 

The hourglass tummy tuck is more work, but has a bigger payoff. When you look up pictures of tummy tucks, be sure you know if you’re looking at an hourglass or a traditional tummy tuck, so you know what you want and what to expect. For more dramatic and sculpted results, the hourglass tummy tuck is the way to go.

Talk to a Pro

When seriously considering plastic surgery, the best way to better understand the process is to talk to a plastic surgeon. A professional can provide you with all the ins and outs of your surgery and give you realistic expectations for what can be done and how your body can look. And if you’re looking for an ideal plastic surgeon, Leif Rogers, MD is an Ivy-League educated, board-certified plastic surgeon and standing member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Get in touch with his team to schedule a consultation today.

Back to Blog

Your Path to Perfection begin your radiant transformation

Schedule Consultation
Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at (310) 388-1851.
Contact Us