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Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, is one of the most popular and effective body contouring options available. This advanced treatment is designed to eliminate excess, inelastic skin in the abdomen while tightening the abdominal muscles. The remaining skin is pulled taut and reshaped to create flatter contours and firmer results. Tummy tuck procedures performed by our Los Angeles and Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, Som Kohanzadeh, MD, can resolve very common aesthetic concerns that often affect the abdomen, ultimately leading to an improved appearance that has a beautiful effect on body proportions.

Am I a Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Even people who are physically fit and maintain the average weight for their body type can develop a protruding abdomen or loose, sagging skin affecting the abdominal area. The most common causes of this include the natural aging process, genetics, pregnancy, previous surgery, and significant fluctuations in weight. A tummy tuck can often be a good option to address these effects on the abdomen. Patients who have diastasis recti may also benefit from a tummy tuck procedure. Diastasis recti is a common condition caused by weakening of the abdominal musculature, leading to a protuberance. This is addressed in a tummy tuck through tightening of the muscles, which not only improves contour and shape but also decreases back pain and improves the dynamics of the torso.

While a tummy tuck is not designed to be a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise, it can be a helpful tool for individuals who simply cannot achieve the abdominal contours they desire through traditional means. Ideal candidates for this procedure are typically women and men who are in relatively good general health and would like to attain a flatter, firmer, more contoured look in the abdominal region.

Dr. Som will talk with you about your needs and goals in the initial consultation and help you determine whether tummy tuck surgery is the best option for you.

Are There Different Types of Tummy Tucks?

There are three different types of tummy tucks:

Complete Abdominoplasty

A complete abdominoplasty requires an incision above the pubic hairline, followed by an incision at or around the umbilicus (belly button), with tightening of the underlying muscles and any gap between them. In some cases, liposuction may be added at the same time. Excess skin is removed and the remaining skin is tightened to create improved abdominal contours.

Partial or Mini-Abdominoplasty

The mini-abdominoplasty is typically performed on patients with minimal amounts of excess skin and without weakness or separation of the underlying muscles. During a mini-abdominoplasty, there is an incision created above the pubic hairline and one higher for resection of the extra skin, but usually not all the way to the level of the umbilicus (belly button). Liposuction may also be utilized in some cases to help with additional contouring.

Circumferential Abdominoplasty

A circumferential abdominoplasty may be more ideal for patients affected by skin laxity and excess tissue involving the abdominal and back regions. In such cases, abdominoplasty can be performed with subsequent liposuction of the back region, or a circumferential abdominoplasty can be performed, where the excision of skin and fat is carried all the way around the midsection. The benefit of the circumferential abdominoplasty is that both skin and fat are removed from the abdomen, hip, and back in a 360-degree fashion, greatly affecting body contour.

Each type of tummy tuck surgery has different outcomes and goals; the right option for your unique needs can be determined once Dr. Som has examined you during the initial consultation.

For patients who are considering tummy tuck surgery, there are a few important things to note. Although this surgery can be very effective, it can also easily be undone by weight gain. Therefore, individuals who believe they may have shifts in their weight in the near-future should postpone surgery to a later time. For example, if you are planning to be pregnant, it is best to wait until you have completed your family before undergoing a tummy tuck.

It is also important to note that stretch marks are not corrected with tummy tuck surgery unless they are located in the areas of excess skin that will be removed as part of the surgery. In those cases, there can often be some improvement in the appearance of stretch marks, but not all are usually removed. If stretch marks are the primary concern, Dr. Som can talk with you about other treatment options that may be better suited to your goals. These options may be performed on their own or in combination with tummy tuck surgery, depending on your needs.

What Can I Expect During the Tummy Tuck Consultation?

During your initial consultation, we will perform a thorough evaluation of your health and medical history. Additionally, Dr. Som will perform a full physical examination to assess the condition of your skin and review all of your options. Photos will also be taken, and Dr. Som will go over them with you to demonstrate the various options and discuss the plan that can best fit your goals and desires. If tummy tuck surgery is the right option for your needs, Dr. Som will create a customized treatment plan designed to meet your expectations with the best possible results.

What Does the Tummy Tuck Procedure Involve?

Tummy tuck surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia in an appropriately credentialed surgical center. A team of highly-trained medical professionals will assist Dr. Som in your surgery. A tummy tuck typically begins with a transverse incision just above the pubic hairline. The exact length of the incision will be determined by the amount of excess fat and skin being removed; however, full tummy tuck procedures often require an incision that starts from one hip and extends to the other hip. As he does in every surgery he performs, Dr. Som will make every effort to make the incisions as discreet as possible so that any residual scarring can be easily camouflaged with clothing.

Next, excess skin and fat will be removed from the lower abdomen. The abdominal muscles will be tightened, and the remaining skin pulled down and smoothed. The incision is then closed with sutures.

In some cases, liposuction in combination with tummy tuck surgery may be required to remove significant amounts of excess fat that may be contributing to the overall aesthetic concern. This can ultimately provide more comprehensive recontouring, but is not necessary for all patients. Once Dr. Som has evaluated you during the consultation, he can determine whether it will be best to include liposuction in your tummy tuck treatment plan.

Tummy Tuck Procedure Steps:

Step 1 – Anesthesia

Intravenous or inhaled medications are administered during the surgical procedure to help keep you comfortable and pain-free during the surgery. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia; Dr. Som will recommend the best option based on your medical history, health status, and other factors. General anesthesia is usually required if muscle work is being performed.

Step 2 – The Incision

InfographicA full tummy tuck requires a transverse incision just above the pubic hairline.

The exact shape and length of the incision is dependent upon the amount of excess skin and body habitus of each patient.

The abdominal skin is lifted and pulled down over the incision to make a determination as to what level to remove the excess skin. In a full tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, the underlying weakened abdominal muscles and any gap (or diastasis) between them are repaired.

Infographic
Infographic

A second incision, usually at the level of the umbilicus (belly button), is made to remove the excess skin.

Once the excess skin is trimmed at this 2nd (upper) incision, then a new umbilicus is created – a new hole is made and the existing belly button is pulled through the skin.

Step 3 – Suture Line: Closing the Incisions

Sutures, skin adhesives, tapes, and/or clips are used to close the skin incisions.

Infographic
Infographic

Step 4 – Dressings/Postoperative Care

The tummy tuck will create a flatter, firmer, and often narrower abdominal shape. Patients are often required to wear supportive clothing for 8-12 weeks depending on the extent of treatment.

Tummy Tuck Risks and Safety Information

It is important to understand not only the procedure itself, but also all of the risks that come with any type of surgical treatment. Once these are known, an appropriate decision can be made. Dr. Som will explain all of the risks associated with tummy tuck surgery and answer any questions you may have. Our entire plastic surgery team is committed to minimizing the potential for complications during the surgery and the postoperative recovery period to provide our patients with the smoothest and safest experience possible.

What Can I Expect During Recovery from Tummy Tuck Surgery?

In general, most individuals will need to plan for at least two weeks of recovery before resuming work or other normal routines following tummy tuck surgery. Some patients may need a longer recovery period. Swelling in the treatment area typically lasts between 8 and 12 weeks; however, the swelling should significantly dissipate during this time. Dr. Som will provide you with compression garments designed to prevent excessive accumulation of fluid in the treated areas and help shape your new figure. Heavy lifting and strenuous exercise will need to be avoided for a minimum of six weeks after abdominoplasty, or as recommended by Dr. Som. With that in mind, we will talk with you about the necessity of taking short walks from time to time in order to minimize the potential for blood clots. You will also be sent home with a detailed postoperative guide designed to help you achieve optimal healing and a safe recovery process.

How Noticeable Are the Scars from Tummy Tuck Surgery?

The incisions required for tummy tuck surgery will result in noticeable scarring; however, the exact nature of the scars will depend on the specific tummy tuck technique utilized. A full tummy tuck will usually result in a hip-to-hip scar just above the pubic region, which is typically designed to be hidden in your underwear or bikini bottoms, as well as a smaller scar in the area of the navel. Dr. Som has performed this procedure many times and strives to minimize the appearance of scars as much as possible. The scars resulting from tummy tuck surgery can typically be well-hidden under clothing (including many types of undergarments and swimwear). Many patients also find that the scars diminish in visibility to some extent over time.

How Much Does Tummy Tuck Surgery Cost?

Cost

The total cost of a tummy tuck procedure at our practice typically ranges between approximately $12,000 to $15,000, which usually includes the cost of anesthesia and the operating room; however, it is very important to note that abdominoplasty procedures are customized to each individual patient’s unique needs and goals. With that in mind, the price of tummy tuck surgery often varies. Our plastic surgery team believes that the opportunity to undergo tummy tuck surgery should not be hindered by financial constraints, which is why we offer numerous options for payment in order to accommodate a variety of budgets.

Factors that will affect the total cost include the specific type of tummy tuck surgery performed, the surgeon’s fee, whether liposuction or other procedures are included in the treatment plan, fees associated with anesthesia and the surgical facility, the overall complexity of the procedure, and other components. Once your tummy tuck treatment program is developed during the initial consultation, a member of our team will produce a cost estimate of the procedure that includes all associated fees. We will be happy to talk with you about the range of convenient payment methods our practice accepts, and we can also answer any questions you may have about financing your tummy tuck procedure. We work with Prosper® Healthcare Lending, a reputable agency that offers qualified applicants a variety of affordable plastic surgery financing plans.

Would you like to learn more about tummy tuck surgery and effective body contouring options available from Dr. Som? Please contact us today for additional information, or to schedule a consultation.