Despite diligent exercise, achieving a tight tummy becomes difficult with age, especially if you’ve experienced significant weight fluctuations or pregnancy. Over time, these factors can cause abdominal tissue to weaken, resulting in a loose or sagging appearance. Abdominoplasty, also known as a “tummy tuck,” is a surgical procedure that helps resolve this common issue by removing excess skin and fat from the abdomen.
Tummy tuck patients in Beverly Hills often find that their procedure gives them the freedom to wear clothing styles they previously avoided, in addition to giving them a general boost in confidence. Partial or complete abdominoplasty can produce excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. And in most cases, the results are long-lasting, especially when paired with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
To schedule your consultation for abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck, contact Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery today at (310) 746-5439.
Ideal Candidates for a Tummy Tuck
Ideal candidates for a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty include those who are in fairly good shape but are unhappy with the appearance of loose abdominal skin or excess fat deposits on the abdomen that don’t respond to diet and exercise. This procedure is particularly helpful for women who’ve given birth and have significantly stretched their abdominal muscles and surrounding tissue. For these patients, excess skin remains no matter how much weight is lost, which is why a tummy tuck can be so beneficial. Older patients with a loss of skin elasticity can also benefit from abdominoplasty.
If you plan on losing a significant amount of weight in the future, your surgeon might advise you to postpone your tummy tuck surgery. Also, women planning to get pregnant in the near future might be advised to wait as well, because abdominal muscles that are tightened during surgery can separate again during pregnancy.
Abdominoplasty and tummy tuck procedures are excellent options for enhancing your appearance and self-confidence, but it’s important to have realistic expectations about the outcome. It’s also important to be aware that abdominoplasty is major surgery, so it often requires a lengthy recovery period. For a better idea of what results you can expect from a tummy tuck, view our before-and-after photo gallery.
Choosing a Board-Certified Surgeon for Your Abdominoplasty
By choosing a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, you can be assured that the doctor has the training, skills, and expertise needed to increase your chances of an optimal outcome. In addition to education, training, and experience, a doctor must pass comprehensive written and oral exams in order to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Through years of practice in Beverly Hills, board-certified surgeons Dr. David Kim and Dr. Eugene Kim have developed expertise that allows them to understand patients’ needs, prevent complications, and appropriately deal with unforeseen obstacles during surgery.
Your Consultation for a Tummy Tuck in Beverly Hills
At your initial consultation, your surgeon will review your medical history and current health, assess your skin tone, and determine the extent of fat deposits in your abdominal region. Be sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke and if you’re taking any medications, vitamins, or other drugs. Your tummy tuck consultation will give you a chance to discuss your questions, concerns, and expectations about the procedure. Likewise, your surgeon will explain any risks and limitations of the procedure, in addition to exploring alternatives that may be more appropriate.
For example, if you only want to treat the area below the belly button, a partial abdominoplasty might be a better option for you. Also known as a “mini tummy tuck,” this is a much simpler surgery that can usually be performed on an outpatient basis. Likewise, some patients could benefit from a tummy tuck performed along with liposuction to remove fat deposits from the hips, which often provides a better body contour. Or perhaps liposuction alone would create the best results for your specific areas of concern. And for patients who’d prefer a non-invasive method of body contouring, CoolSculpting can shape the body without surgery or downtime needed.
Other topics that will be addressed during your tummy tuck consultation include anesthesia options, where the abdominoplasty will be performed, and the costs involved.
About the Tummy Tuck Procedure
Depending on the amount of work required, a complete abdominoplasty usually takes two to five hours, while a mini tummy tuck will take an hour or two. In most tummy tuck procedures, Dr. David Kim or Dr. Eugene Kim will make an incision above the pubic area, from hipbone to hipbone. A second incision will be made to free the navel from surrounding tissue. With a mini tummy tuck, the incision is much shorter and the navel usually isn’t moved.
During the procedure, the surgeon will separate the skin from the abdominal wall up to the ribs, and then lift a large flap of skin to reveal the abdominal muscles. Weakened or separated muscles are restored by pulling them close together and stitching them into a new position. This provides a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline, often resulting in a rejuvenated, youthful appearance.
The main skin flap is then stretched down and any extra skin is removed. A new hole is cut for your navel, which is then stitched in place. The method of cutting the hole will greatly affect the appearance of your belly button. The surgeons at Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery take great care to create a belly button that looks as natural as possible. After the belly button is created, the incisions will be stitched and dressings will be applied. If needed, a temporary tube may be inserted to drain excess fluid from the surgical site.
Preparing for Your Surgery
Prior to your tummy tuck, your surgeon will give you instructions on how to prepare for your procedure, including dietary guidelines, restrictions on smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. If you smoke, you should plan to quit at least three weeks before your surgery and don’t resume for at least two weeks after your surgery. Smoking greatly increases the risk of complications, and even after quitting smoking you may be at an increased risk. Avoid overexposure to the sun and any extreme diets, as these factors can reduce your body’s ability to heal. If you develop a cold or infection of any kind, your surgery will likely be postponed.
Whether your surgery is done on an outpatient or inpatient basis, you should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a day or two after you leave the hospital. While assistance at home isn’t always needed, many patients find that it allows them to fully focus on recovering and healing.
Risks Associated with Tummy Tucks
While every surgery involves risk, abdominoplasty is a relatively safe procedure, especially when the patient is an appropriate candidate for the surgery and you choose a board-certified plastic surgeon. Thousands of tummy tuck surgeries are performed successfully each year. When done by a qualified plastic surgeon who is trained in body contouring, the results are generally quite positive. Nevertheless, there are always risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure.
Post-operative complications are rare, but they can occur, and they typically include infection or blood clots. Infection can usually be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but it will prolong your hospital stay. Your risk of developing blood clots can be reduced by getting up and walking around after the surgery as soon as possible. If you heal poorly and develop noticeable scars, a second operation might be needed. But overall, you can greatly reduce your risk of complications by closely following your surgeon’s pre-operative and post-operative instructions.
To schedule your consultation for abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck, contact Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery today at (310) 746-5439.
Where Will the Tummy Tuck Surgery Be Performed?
Both partial and complete abdominoplasties are usually performed in an outpatient surgical center in the Beverly Hills area or onsite at Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery’s state-of-the-art surgical center at their office. Depending on the extent of the tummy tuck procedure, it may be performed at a hospital, where patients can stay for several days.
What Are My Options for Anesthesia?
For optimal comfort, general anesthesia is most often used during tummy tuck procedures. In some cases, local anesthesia is used, and it can be combined with a sedative for added comfort. With this combination, you’ll still be awake, but very relaxed. You may feel a tugging sensation or occasional discomfort.
What Can I Expect Immediately After a Tummy Tuck?
In the first few days following a tummy tuck, most patients have a swollen abdomen and will likely experience some pain and discomfort, which can be controlled by medication. You may be released within just a few hours, but for more extensive tummy tuck procedures, you may have to remain at the hospital for a few days.
Your stitches will eventually dissolve on their own, and the dressing on your incision may be replaced by a support garment. Your surgeon will provide you with instructions for showering and changing your dressings. Although you might not be able to stand straight at first, you should start walking as soon as possible to prevent the development of blood clots.
What Is Recovery Like After a Tummy Tuck?
Healthy patients who are in relatively good shape often have an easier recovery process, but in general, it may take weeks or months for you to feel back to normal completely. Some tummy tuck patients are able to return to work after only two weeks, while others may take three or four weeks to rest and recuperate.
Exercise is always a good way to facilitate healing, so it’s a good idea to begin as soon as you can. Even if you didn’t have an exercise routine before your procedure, you should consider beginning one to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone muscles. Vigorous exercise, however, should be avoided until you can do it comfortably.
Will a Tummy Tuck Surgery Give Me Scars?
Yes, but most tummy tuck patients find that their scars are minimal and well camouflaged. While they won’t completely disappear, your abdominal scars will not show under most clothing, even under bathing suits. Your scars might seem to get worse as they heal during the first three to six months after your procedure, but this is normal. Due to the lengthy nature of scar healing, your scars may take nine months to a full year before they flatten out and lighten in color.
How Long Do the Results of a Tummy Tuck Last?
Your Beverly Hills tummy tuck is a permanent procedure, not one that requires touch-ups or refresher treatments. That said, future pregnancies or weight gain could negatively affect your results. As long as you maintain a stable weight, you’ll keep the slimmed, toned contours of your tummy tuck. Your skin will continue to age naturally but should never return to the looseness of your pre-surgery abdomen.
Can a Tummy Tuck Be Combined With Other Procedures?
Yes. We’ve mentioned that liposuction can be performed with a tummy tuck for more extensive fat removal. Many women also combine a tummy tuck with other body enhancement procedures in what’s known as a “mommy makeover.” That can include breast augmentation, breast lift, Botox or dermal filler injections, or other procedures.
What’s the Difference Between a Full Tummy Tuck and a Mini Tummy Tuck?
A standard or full tummy tuck removes excess skin and fat in both the upper and lower abdomen. It often includes muscle repair to tighten and reconnect muscles that have been stretched and separated by pregnancy or weight changes. The incision for a full tummy tuck typically runs from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area (and below the line of most bathing suit bottoms). A full tummy tuck is the best option when you have loose skin and a bulging stomach both above and below your belly button.
A partial or mini tummy tuck removes loose skin from only the lower abdomen — below the belly button — and requires a somewhat shorter incision. If the skin on your upper abdomen is still relatively tight, but you have looseness below your belly button, a mini tummy tuck may be a good option for you. Our Beverly Hills tummy tuck specialists will work with you to determine the method that’s right for you.
Can a Tummy Tuck Help Me Lose Weight?
While a tummy tuck will remove some fat from your belly, it is not a weight-reduction procedure. The fat and tissue removed usually amount to no more than one or two pounds. It is recommended for women who are close to their ideal weight after pregnancy or weight loss. A tummy tuck can also motivate you to adopt better exercise habits. You’ll likely feel more confident in yoga or gym clothes, so it can have an indirect effect on helping you maintain a healthy weight.
Will a Tummy Tuck Help Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
While this isn’t the primary goal of a tummy tuck, if you have stretch marks in your lower abdomen, that area of skin may be removed as part of the procedure. Stretch marks on the upper abdomen may be slightly less noticeable when the skin is tightened, but they will still be there.
To schedule your consultation for an abdominoplasty, contact Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery today at (310) 746-5439.