Everything You Want to Know About Tummy Tucks

First published on July 20, 2021. Updated on December 9th, 2022 for accuracy and completeness.

Do you want a flat, toned abdomen? Has childbirth changed the way your stomach looks and feels? Many women struggle with excess skin or fat in the abdominal area for a number of reasons. Fortunately, this is a problem that an expert cosmetic surgeon can solve!

Tummy tucks not only help women look better – studies show that tummy tuck surgery also improves back pain by strengthening the core, and can also help with incontinence by tightening the pelvic floor. They are also able to live life more fully by being able to do more activities they love with a stronger core, or no longer having back pain.

With a procedure like abdominoplasty, your stomach can look toned and fit just as it did in your younger years. This very popular plastic surgery procedure helps women to get their desired figure back in no time at all.

Learn more about these procedures and how to get a tummy tuck in Beverly Hills in our comprehensive guide.

What is a Tummy Tuck?

An abdominoplasty is most commonly referred to as a “tummy tuck.” This is a plastic surgery procedure that modifies the appearance of the abdomen, making it look flatter and slimmer.

According to the ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons), about 130,000 tummy tucks are performed in the U.S. every year, making it an extremely common procedure!

Tummy tucks are great for women who have given birth and no longer have a flat stomach. After pregnancy, your stomach may be left with loose skin from the fluctuating weight in that area. You may also be carrying a few extra pregnancy pounds that you can’t seem to lose. Abdominoplasties can help remove this extra weight or excess skin in the lower abdominal region and create a more appealing appearance.

Understanding the Anatomy

Your abdomen refers to the front part of your abdominal trunk. The abdomen is comprised of skin, muscles, tissue, and fat that sits outside of your abdominal cavity, protecting your internal organs.

The amount of skin, fat, and muscle in the abdomen varies from person to person. Many people carry excess fat in this region due to poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, childbirth, and other factors. Some people have excess skin in this region, too, after losing a large amount of weight or giving birth. Excess skin is very often seen in patients who have undergone weight loss surgery.

The Procedure

In addition to being one of the most common plastic surgery procedures, tummy tucks are also one of the simpler options. They are performed under general anesthesia and the patient remains at an aftercare facility for a few hours to one or two days, depending on the extent of their procedure.

During a full abdominoplasty, a cosmetic surgeon removes the excess skin and fat from the abdomen. To correct abdominal wall looseness or muscle separation, the underlying connective tissue is tightened using sutures. The remaining skin is then repositioned on the abdomen to give a flatter, tighter appearance.

Renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, Dr. Cat explains her specialized tummy tuck procedure and the care that goes into every unique case:

“When I perform tummy tucks, there are 3 things I put meticulous detail and artistry into creating; a natural-looking innie belly button, beautiful abdominal contouring, and a thin and barely visible incision with minimal scarring. I accomplish that with a special surgical technique that I’ve developed over the years. It is so rewarding to help women achieve the aesthetic goals they desire and deserve.  They are also able to live life more fully by being able to do more activities they love with a stronger core or no longer having back pain.  I absolutely love giving women their body back to enjoy their life more fully.”

For a full tummy tuck, you may be required to stay at an aftercare facility for one or two days after your procedure.

Some patients are only in need of what is known as a partial or mini tummy tuck. This refers to the removal of excess skin or fat just below the navel. This procedure is far less extensive than a traditional tummy tuck, as the belly button does not need to be repositioned and much less skin needs to be adjusted.

Mini tummy tucks are usually performed as outpatient procedures, with the patient returning home on the same day.

When they are performed correctly by a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in tummy tucks, these procedures have remarkable results. Abdominoplasties can give older women, mothers, or those who have struggled with fluctuations in their weight the appearance of a perfectly toned stomach.

Who is a Good Candidate for Abdominoplasty?

Individuals often get tummy tucks to improve their physical appearance and increase their self-esteem. Anyone who is unsatisfied with the look of their stomach would likely benefit from an abdominoplasty. This may include an older woman whose stomach is sagging. It may also include someone who lost a significant amount of weight and now has loose skin in their abdominal area.

Tummy tucks are also a great option for mothers who have low confidence due to the effects of pregnancy on their bodies. Whether it’s from a hanging pouch or a few extra pounds around the midsection, women who suffer from these issues are often good candidates for abdominoplasty.

Who Should Avoid Abdominoplasty?

Tummy tucks may be a great option for many people, but there are some individuals who should avoid the procedure. This includes people who smoke or have serious underlying health conditions.

If you have health concerns, always consult with a physician before having any cosmetic procedures done.

Individuals that are overweight are not good candidates for tummy tucks. This is because tummy tucks are not designed to be weight loss solutions. They are intended to essentially sculpt or tone the abdomen. They will only work if there are a few extra pounds or excess skin in that region. You cannot have a plus-size tummy tuck.

Women who plan to get pregnant in the future should not get abdominoplasties, as pregnancy will likely stretch and damage the surgical site.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tummy Tucks

Prior to having a plastic surgery procedure done, you may want to know what to expect. The following section represents just a few of the most frequently asked questions about tummy tucks and abdominoplasty.

What Is the Best Time of the Year to Get a Tummy Tuck?

The post-operative compression needs to be worn for at least 6 weeks after surgery. Because of this, many patients prefer to have tummy tuck surgery during the winter since the compression garment hides well under winter clothing such as sweaters, coats, and pants. However, during the summer months, the compression garment can still be discreetly hidden under long and flowy sundresses. The timing of tummy tuck surgery is ultimately up to the patient’s preference. It is just extremely important to keep the garment and post-op care instructions in mind when scheduling tummy tuck surgery, as well as any trips planned after surgery.

How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?

The cost of a Tummy Tuck depends on the extent of the procedure and the expertise of the surgeon. In cities with a high demand, like Beverly Hills, the cost can be anywhere between $7,000 and $50,000. In general, the national average cost of a tummy tuck can be anywhere from $3,300 to $14,000.

Is Abdominoplasty Covered By Insurance?

In nearly all cases, no, tummy tucks will not be covered by insurance. This is because abdominoplasty is a cosmetic procedure. Most insurance companies will only cover procedures that are deemed to be medically necessary.

What is the Expected Tummy Tuck Recovery Time?

The recovery process after a tummy tuck depends on the health and overall condition of the patient prior to the procedure.

After surgery, you may be given anti-inflammatories to relieve any pain and inflammation. With the specialized technique that Dr. Cat uses, patients experience minimal pain after their procedure. Patients are also required to wear a binder at the surgical site for six to eight weeks post-surgery.

You will have surgical drains for the first week or two after the procedure. These drains are used to remove excess fluid from the area.

It is a good idea for you to take at least two weeks off from work after your procedure and to avoid excessive activity. For these first two weeks, you will need to walk slightly bent over, likely with the aid of a walker.

You should also avoid strenuous exercise and sexual activity for at least the first four weeks after surgery. Ideally, we recommend that you wait until the binder is removed to partake in these activities.

What is the Aftercare Process Like?

After an abdominoplasty, you will have swelling and scars throughout the healing process. Scar treatment usually begins around two weeks after surgery. Your cosmetic surgeon will discuss specific products and medications to aid in your scar treatment.<

The severity of your scars will depend on your surgeon’s surgical techniques. Dr. Cat Begovic, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon known for her natural-looking Tummy Tucks, uses a special incision closure technique so her patients’ scars are basically invisible once they are fully healed. This is why it is very important to go to a surgeon skilled in abdominoplasty to ensure the best possible results.

After surgery, you should keep the area clean with mild, gentle soap to avoid infection. Do not submerge the surgical site in the water while your drains are still in place.

Taking the appropriate aftercare will help you avoid revision surgery in the future.

Are There Any Potential Risks During or After an Abdominoplasty?

Tummy tucks are typically procedures that have few complications, if any. In some cases, there may be excess fluid accumulation at the surgical site, which drains should help to avoid.

Some women report severe swelling, scarring, and loss of sensation in the skin surrounding the surgical area.

A Panniculectomy vs. Tummy Tuck:  What’s the Difference?

A panniculectomy is a much more extensive surgical procedure that is designed to remove a large pannus or flap of skin that extends over the abdominal region and downwards over the genitals.

This is usually used for individuals that have lost an extreme amount of weight and have excess loose skin. It is a much more involved and extensive procedure than a tummy tuck. In some cases, a panniculectomy is covered by insurance.

What’s the Difference Between Tummy Tuck and Liposuction?

A tummy tuck repairs the abdominal muscles, tightens the abdominal wall, and removes and tightens excess skin.  Liposuction removes and thins excess fat. Liposuction removes fat from areas that do not respond to diet and exercise. These areas include the abdomen, hips, thighs, neck, arms, back, thighs, knees, calves, and ankles. Click here to learn about the differences between Lipo 360 vs tummy tucks.

Getting a Tummy Tuck in Beverly Hills

If you are looking to have a tummy tuck in the Los Angeles area, look no further than Dr. Cat, a board-certified plastic surgeon who performs a wide variety of cosmetic procedures.

When Dr. Cat performs tummy tuck surgery, she takes into consideration all the little details – keeping scars thin, low and symmetric, creating a “signature natural-looking belly button,” and shaping the waist and abdomen to create the appearance of abs while keeping curves. Her gentle technique leaves minimal scarring and leads to a quick recovery!

Call our office today to schedule an appointment and learn more!

tummy tuck before and after example

To see more tummy tuck before and after images please click here.