Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck Surgery or Abdominoplasty Surgery is designed to tighten and remove loose skin and repair abdominal wall looseness or muscle separation that can occur as a result of weight fluctuations or pregnancy.
Dr. Cat Begovic is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California. She is a three-time winner of Best of Beverly Hills Award in the cosmetic surgeons category.

What is Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck Surgery or Abdominoplasty Surgery is designed to tighten and remove loose skin and repair abdominal wall looseness or muscle separation that can occur as a result of weight fluctuations or pregnancy. Weight gain or pregnancy stretches the skin and causes the skin to lose its elasticity and many times creates stretch marks. It can also pull apart the muscles and loosen the abdominal wall creating a pooch or bulging.

Diet and exercise, although important, often cannot repair or treat the skin and underlying muscles that have been stretched. Even some of the thinnest patients have excessive skin that they just can’t remove that a tummy tuck can help with. If there is excess fat in addition to excess skin, patients may also need to have liposuction as an additional procedure. If the mons pubis is also hanging, patients may also need to have a pubic lift.

Dr. Cat Begovic

Things You Should Know Before Your Tummy Tuck Procedure

Patients on a weight-loss plan should be close to their goal weight before having tummy tuck surgery. For best long term results it is advisable that weight is stable after surgery (without a lot of yo-yoing up and down). Patients can get pregnant after surgery, however, the tissues will likely get stretched out again and they may need to do a revision or re-do after pregnancy. A tummy tuck is not a treatment for obesity. It does not remove the pinch of fat under the skin, or the internal fat (visceral fat). Because internal (visceral fat) creates a lot of pressure, there is a limit to how much tightening can safely be performed in a tummy tuck. As I’ve mentioned before, plastic surgery is not an exact science. Every person has a unique anatomy and their own idea of what their body goals should be. This is why consultations are vital so we can work together to create the best possible plan, customized for your personal needs and goals.

I will do a detailed consultation, take a complete medical history and conduct a careful examination and develop a customized plan based on your anatomy as well as your aesthetic goals. I consider age, overall health, emotional well being, as well as expectations for surgery when evaluating a candidate for this procedure.

How to Prepare for Your Tummy Tuck Procedure

To make sure you have the best possible outcome, it is very important that you do all you can to prepare for your tummy tuck procedure. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Two months before surgery – stop smoking. This includes all nicotine products but also any other inhalants. Anything that affects your lungs will affect the way you recover from surgery. Nicotine can also interfere with the blood flow to your skin, and that affects wound healing.
  • Several weeks before your tummy tuck procedure – arrange for someone to drive you to your surgery and back. Please do not count on a taxi or Uber; you need someone to drive you home, get you settled, make sure you take your medications.
  • Two weeks before surgery – it is important that you stop taking Aspirin, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Alleve (Naproxen), or other NSAIDs. You should also discontinue all herbal medications, vitamins, and diet pills and stop drinking alcohol. Do not take Advil even if you have a headache, or cramps, take Tylenol instead.
  • Two weeks before surgery – do not overexpose yourself to the sun or get a sunburn.
  • The week before your tummy tuck surgery – let us know if you have a cough, fever or any other illness, or any skin changes or infections. If you are feeling sick, please do not take over-the-counter medications without asking us.
  • The week before the surgery – pick up your medications. When you go to the pharmacy, you should also pick up the special soap we recommend – Hibiclens soap, and also above-the-knee, low compression ted-hose.
  • Two days before tummy tuck – thoroughly wash your body with the Hibiclens soap. This will minimize the chance of infection. Shave or remove hair around your surgery site.
  • Two days before surgery – stick with a light diet. You want to avoid being bloated during or after your tummy tuck.
  • The night before your surgery – do not eat or drink anything after midnight. This includes water. You can take your high-blood pressure medications with a sip of water the morning of surgery, but otherwise, do not eat or drink anything the night before your surgery.
  • On the day of the surgery – do not use makeup, creams, lotions, hair gels, sprays, perfumes, powder, or deodorant on your skin, hair, or face. Also, do not bring or wear any valuables or jewelry to your surgery. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes.

What Happens During Tummy Tuck Procedure

In the pre-operative area I will mark you with a surgical pen so together we can determine exactly where you want your incision to be placed.

What Kind of Anesthesia is Used?

For your comfort and safety, tummy tuck surgery will be performed under general anesthesia.

Every part of the surgical team is essential to having a perfect and smooth surgery so every part of my extended team is focused during surgery, and pays attention to every detail. We will all ensure that as you enter the operating room and are gently placed under anesthesia you will feel relaxed and calm and excited. During the operation we will all be focused on keeping you warm, comfortable, and cared for. During the surgery, I am gentle and and respectful and ensure a positive and calm environment around you. I will also place a numbing solution in your abdomen so you will not feel pain even though you are under anesthesia.

How Long Does a Tummy Tuck Procedure Last?

The surgery may take 4-7 hours depending on complexity and how much skin you need removed or if any additional procedures are done at the same time.

What Does a Tummy Tuck Do?

I will make a low curved incision that is marked together with you prior to surgery. I encourage my patients to bring an underwear or bikini bottom they like to wear so I can try to hide the incision under it. The skin and fat is then lifted off the abdominal wall up to the edges of your ribs. When I get to the belly button, I cut a small circle around our belly button (it stays in place) and lift the skin around it. This exposes loose tissue covering the abdominal muscles. Loose, stretched out muscles are tightened with sutures, and excess skin and fat are removed. The skin is lowered over the abdomen and the new belly button is reconstructed. I consider the belly button to be one of the most important parts of the tummy tuck and have developed a special technique that creates my “signature, natural looking innie belly button.” I take extra time to make a beautiful oval shaped with a little dimple – my goal is for it to look like you never had surgery.

I also have several other technical details that I perform to create a natural looking contoured abdomen and a thin, nearly invisible low scar. I believe it is important to create the best possible result and incision without any bunching, irregularities or step offs. I take extreme pride in my attention to detail with every single step of this surgery.

Tummy Tuck Results & Recovery: What To Expect

I have developed a gentle tummy tuck technique that has minimal pain and a quick recovery. You will spend the first night at a plastic surgery after care facility with nursing. They will pick you up from the surgery center and bring you to my office for your first post op visit. After surgery, your abdomen will feel tight but should not be painful. If you do have discomfort, tylenol is usually all that’s needed. I will give you a prescription for a few pain pills to have in case you need them but they are usually not necessary. I encourage patients to stick to Tylenol instead of the prescription pain medication since those pills often create constipation and bloating. You will need to walk bent over for the first 1-2 weeks. There is usually some swelling of the tissues for a few weeks after surgery. You will wear an abdominal binder or compression garment to support your abdomen for 6-8 weeks after surgery. This is something we will measure and provide for you. You will have a few drains places that are removed about 1-2 weeks after surgery. Most of my patients feel almost back to normal at around 1 week after their tummy tuck surgery.

To make sure you have the best possible recovery from your tummy tuck surgery, please follow these instructions:

  • You will need to spend the first night at our plastic surgery aftercare center. After that you will need a friend or a family member to help you.
  • You need to wear a compression garment and the binder for six weeks after surgery.
  • You will likely two or three drains after your surgery and you do not want to get the drains wet. You will need to wait two days after the drains are removed to take a full shower or get your entire body wet. You will record the drains output every 12 hours.
  • The first, and sometimes the second week, you will need to walk bent over. You can get a front-wheel walker from the pharmacy.
  • The first night of your surgery, you will need to start walking and make sure when you’re getting in and out of bed you’re not using your stomach muscles.
  • After two weeks you can do more extensive cardio, but you’ll have to wait six weeks before you can lift heavy objects, such as purses or boxes greater than 5 lbs.
  • If you have any post-operative nausea, carbonated sodas and dry crackers may settle the stomach, but you can also take anti-nausea pills.
  • If you feel normal, start with liquids and bland foods and if those are well tolerated, progress to a regular diet. If you are constipated you can take milk of magnesia or miralax.
  • At around three to four weeks after your surgery we can begin thinking about the scar therapy treatment, to make sure you have the most invisible scar possible. Keep in mind that it takes two years for the scar to completely fade.
  • After your tummy tuck surgery you might be a little bruised or swollen, but that is normal. This will last for about two weeks after your surgery, but it does take three to four months for all the swelling to go down.
  • If you develop a fever, or notice dark red blood going into your drains, you can call our office and let us know what is going on.

How Long Does Tummy Tuck Recovery Last?

The speed of recovery depends on your physical condition prior to surgery; those with stronger abdominal muscles usually recover faster. Allow at least 2 weeks to recuperate before returning to work. If you are a patient from out of town, you will need to stay in town for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Wait at least 4 weeks to start any strenuous exercise and 6 weeks to do abdominal exercises. Prior to your tummy tuck, please make plans to have someone help you ambulate after surgery.

Does Tummy Tuck Leave Scars?

Scars take about 12 months to fade. You will start scar treatments at around 2 weeks after surgery. I will discuss scar care in detail with you and also provide you with scar medications and products.

Tummy Tuck Surgery is one of the most life changing surgeries that I do! My patients feel that they can finally fit into clothes that they like without the extra hanging skin getting in the way. They feel much more confident in a bathing suit or bikini. Also many patients are able to exercise better – in addition to cosmetic benefits, abdominoplasty strengthens the core, helps with back pain, and also helps support the pelvic floor. It gives me so much joy to hear many of my patients tell me they finally can walk and exercise without back pain, or that they are able to do certain activities that they couldn’t.

About Dr. Cat Begovic

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Cat Begovic is a board certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California. She gradated from Harvard University with Honors in Molecular and Cellular biology. From there she was awarded her medical degree at UCLA, were she also finished two surgical residences. Dr. Cat has been in private practice since June 2010.

Dr. Cat’s passion for plastic surgery and for women’s transformation, her meticulous attention to detailed, and her unique skill has positioned her as a leader in the field of cosmetic surgery.

Where To Start

I understand that getting a plastic surgery procedure is one of your biggest life decisions. It takes time, planning, and resources. I want you to know that myself and my team are here to help you every step of the way. Your plastic surgery journey starts in 4 easy steps:

Free Phone Consultation

Schedule a free phone consultation with one of our knowledgeable surgical consultants who are trained by Dr. Cat. They will answer many of your questions and you can decide if you are ready for your consultation with Dr. Cat.

Consultation with Dr. Cat

Meet Dr. Cat for your initial consultation in-person or video consultation. The consultation cost is $500 and it’s applied towards your plastic surgery procedure.

Preparations & Surgery Day

After you reserve your surgery date, Dr. Cat and her team will make sure you are well informed and prepared for your big day. Preparation is a very important part of your plastic surgery journey.

Enjoy Results

The post-op phase is an important time of healing and recovering so you can enjoy your amazing results and your improved quality of life that you have envisioned.

Start your Plastic Surgery Journey Now by scheduling your free phone
consultation with one of our Plastic Surgery Experts.

Tummy Tuck Before & After Cases

Case TTK-0816

Tummy Tuck with Pubic Lift

This patient is in great shape but after multiple pregnancies, she was left with excess skin of her abdomen and mons pubis as well as loosening of the abdominal wall. Abdominoplasty with Pubic Lift performed by Los Angeles Tummy Tuck specialist, Dr. Cat Begovic.

Case TTK-0759

 Abdominoplasty with Pubic Lift

This patient had a life-changing Tummy Tuck with Dr. Cat Begovic, board certified Plastic Surgeon. This patient reported a significant improvement in back pain and core muscle strength after her Tummy Tuck in Los Angeles.

Case TTK-0815

Tummy Tuck with Pubic Lift

This patient had excess skin of the abdomen and loosening of the abdominal wall after three pregnancies. Los Angeles Tummy tuck with Pubic Lift performed by Dr. Cat Begovic

Case TTK-0814

Abdominoplasty with Pubic Lift and Liposuction of the Mons Pubis

This young patient lost over 40 lbs and as a result, she has excess skin on her abdomen and loosening of the abdominal wall, and excess fat in the mons pubis. She had a tummy tuck and pubic lift with liposuction of the mons pubis.

FAQ

Does Dr. Cat do Mini Tummy Tucks?
Yes.
Should I lose all the weight first or is it possible to work on losing weight after the surgery?
I would recommend being close to your goal weight before having surgery. And continuing a healthy diet and exercise is recommended after surgery.
Can you get pregnant after tummy tuck?
Yes. However the tightening that was done with the tummy tuck will likely stretch out again and you may need to re-do the tummy tuck.
Is it better to get tummy tuck before kids or wait until I’m done having kids?
It’s really a personal choice. It’s ideal to wait until you are done having kids but many patients do get tummy tuck before then. Many of my patients want to have a flatter and tighter stomach now and don’t want to wait for years until they are much older. The most important thing to know is that you may need to re-do the tummy tuck after future pregnancies.
Do you do lipo with the tummy tuck?
Yes but it depends on your anatomy, total OR time and the areas that need to be liposuction. The blood supply to the stomach skin during the tummy tuck runs through the fat so it is not recommended to do extensive or aggressive liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck.
Do you have to be at a certain BMI before you’ll do a tummy tuck?
It is recommended that your BMI be close to 30 to have a tummy tuck. However, there are some exceptions that can be made based on patient anatomy and overall health.
If I have diabetes can I get a tummy tuck?
As long as your diabetes is well controlled and your Hemoglobin A1C and glucose are normal and you are overall healthy, you should be able to get a tummy tuck.
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