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Plastic Surgery

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Abdominoplasty, also known as a “tummy tuck,” flattens and contours the abdomen and waist. Patients who visit California Skin Institute often request this procedure to remove pockets of excess belly fat that cannot be addressed with diet and exercise, as well as sagging skin on the abdomen. Often women request this procedure as part of a mommy makeover, as one or multiple pregnancies may have significantly stretched the skin and the abdominal muscles, to the point where the body cannot repair itself. In such circumstances a surgical tummy tuck may be the only viable option to return the body to its normal state, by surgically removing excess fat and skin.

How is Tummy Tuck Surgery Performed?

During the surgery, your doctor will make an incision just above the pubic area. The excess skin and fat will be removed, which will help address the sagging appearance in the abdomen. However, it is vital to also tighten the abdominal muscles. Women often experience stretching of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy, which contributes to the sagging effect in the stomach. California Skin Institute surgeons are highly experienced in this aspect of the tummy tuck procedure, and execute the tightening in a way that avoids damaging muscle structures.

Further, California Skin Institute surgeons also focus on carefully shaping the belly button during tummy tuck surgery. This is a vital step during the procedure to achieve aesthetically pleasing outcomes, as the abdominal skin will be pulled downward, and the belly button must be re-shaped to look natural.

The tummy tuck procedure takes approximately two to four hours, depending on the patient’s unique needs. At California Skin Institute we’ve performed tummy tuck surgery for many patients, from many walks of life, and with varied medical histories. When you visit us for an appointment, we will be able to discuss your aesthetic goals in detail, review your medical history, and explain in detail how the procedure will apply to your specific situation.

Tummy Tuck Scars

A big concern for many patients is visibility of tummy tuck scars after surgery. This is a very important point, and California Skin Institute surgeons work meticulously to reduce the appearance of tummy tuck scars as much as possible. Although the scar is impossible to avoid completely, our doctors significantly avoid its visibility by making the incision just above the pubic area. This enables the scar to be easily covered by a bikini.

However, California Skin Institute surgeons go a step further. To minimize tummy tuck scars, our doctors suture the incision in several layers, which allows for stronger sutures to be placed underneath the skin and thinner sutures to be placed at the upper-most layers. This significantly reduces the thickness of the final scar.

Who is a Candidate for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Please keep in mind that abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss – rather, it complements a balanced diet and exercise program. The best candidates for tummy tuck surgery are individuals with pockets of fat or loose skin that haven’t responded to diet and exercise. Commonly, California Skin Institute patients who opt for a tummy tuck are women with stretch marks and stretched skin and muscles from pregnancy.


Some patients may be a candidate for a mini-abdominoplasty (mini tummy tuck). What separates a mini tummy tuck from a regular one is the utilization of a shorter incision. The best candidates for a “mini tummy tuck” have only a slight amount of excess skin confined to the lower abdomen (below the belly button). A mini-abdominoplasty can be combined with liposuction or muscle tightening if necessary to optimally contour the abdomen.

Tummy Tuck Recovery

A typical California Skin Institute patient will need several weeks of tummy tuck recovery time to resume normal daily activity. Patients are encouraged to walk the evening of surgery to prevent blood clots. Strenuous activity, jogging or heavy lifting should be avoided until cleared by your surgeon, if the abdominal muscles are tightened, to allow time for proper healing. Combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, the outcomes of an abdominoplasty or mini-abdominoplasty are long lasting.


Treatment results will vary, talk to a practitioner to see if this treatment or procedure is right for you.

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