Tummy Tuck FAQ Los Angeles

Tummy Tuck FAQ

We’ve assembled this FAQ to help answer some of the most common questions about tummy tucks for Beverly Hills, Pasadena, and Santa Monica residents.

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Who is a candidate for a tummy tuck?

The Long Beach and Pasadena abdominoplasty patients who come to Marina Plastic Surgery Associates generally have excess skin and fat on their abdomens. Those who have laxity primarily below the umbilicus (belly button) are candidates for a mini-tummy tuck. Loose skin and fat above the belly button require a full tummy tuck to achieve optimal results. After pregnancy or substantial weight gain, the abdominal muscles are frequently stretched beyond their ability to bounce back. In these cases abdominal exercises will not be effective at flattening the torso. Once the internal pressure distending the muscles is removed, as with weight loss, it is possible to tighten the muscles during the tummy tuck procedure. The combination of tightening muscles and excising excess skin and fat from the abdomen may result in dramatic improvements in abdominal contour.

Is it advisable to do multiple procedures at one time?

It is common to perform multiple procedures in one operation. Liposuction of surrounding areas will frequently achieve complementary changes in the patient’s figure. Breast surgery and facial surgery are also frequently performed at the same time. In a thorough consultation, Dr. Stevens will advise the patient whether single or staged operations would be appropriate.

Will an abdominoplasty procedure remove stretch marks?

Stretch marks below the belly button may be removed when the skin in that area is excised. Above the belly button it is frequently impossible to remove stretch marks. When the skin of the abdomen is tightened, however, the texture of the stretch marks usually improves and becomes less noticeable.

Where are the scar locations from a tummy tuck?

Most tummy tucks result in a horizontal scar along the bikini line. The incision is designed so that it may be easily concealed with a bathing suit. Depending on a patient’s preferences for bathing suit styles, the lateral incisions may be made higher or lower. Dr. Stevens will discuss this with the patient when drawing the pre-operative markings. For the full tummy tuck procedure, there is also a circular scar around the belly button.

Is there a difference in the size of the scars between the mini and the full tummy tuck?

The amount of skin excised with the tummy tuck determines the length of the scar. For full tummy tucks, a large amount of skin is removed and the resulting scar is usually from hip to hip. The scar resulting from a mini tummy tuck may be one half that length. The size and location of the scar is planned with the patient based on their individual anatomy and desires.

Is it better to do a tummy tuck before or after pregnancy?

A tummy tuck is usually performed after childbearing has been completed. If a pregnancy is planned for the distant future, however, some women may be considered candidates for tummy tucks.

A patient who has lost large amounts of weight, for example, may have substantial overhanging skin of the lower abdomen. If she plans on pregnancy in only the distant future, the advantages of doing a tummy tuck now may outweigh the disadvantages. The surgeon may recommend doing a modified tummy tuck that addresses the lower abdomen only. This would also be the case for women with undesirable scarring on the lower abdomen from previous surgeries (such as a C-section). A mini tummy tuck may sometimes be advisable even if future pregnancies are planned.

A patient may still have children after a tummy tuck, but abdominal stretching during pregnancy may offset much of the benefit of the procedure. Further abdominal contouring procedures may be recommended after childbirth.

There are a large number of variables that affect a patient’s candidacy for a tummy tuck in Los Angeles. The decision to undergo the surgery should only be made after a thorough consultation with one of our board certified plastic surgeons at Marina Plastic Surgery Associates in Los Angeles.

Is it better to lose weight before or after a tummy tuck?

The closer a patient is to their ideal weight, the tighter the abdomen can be made during a tummy tuck. Many patients will be inspired by their surgical improvements and lose additional weight through diet and exercise after surgery. If a patient needs to lose substantial amounts of weight, however, it is better to do it before surgery.

When is liposuction possible instead of a tummy tuck?

Liposuction (especially power-assisted liposuction) is an effective way of removing fat, but not skin. Patients are candidates for liposuction when their skin has adequate elasticity to tighten after removal of fat. Patients who are younger and who have localized deposits of fat are the best candidates.

Patients who have excess skin and fat on the abdomen are best treated with a tummy tuck. Longer incisions are required, but the improvements in tightening the skin and muscle may be dramatic.

During a tummy tuck, abdominal fat is removed in addition to skin excision and muscle tightening. Many patients will also benefit from liposuction of the surrounding areas to achieve their ideal figure. Liposuction of these areas is commonly performed at the same time as a tummy tuck.

How long does the tummy tuck operation take?

Tummy tuck surgery lasts approximately two hours.

How long is the recovery from a tummy tuck?

Patients should plan to miss one to two weeks of work after a tummy tuck. An elastic compression garment is worn under clothing for several weeks following surgery. Vigorous exercise should be avoided for about six weeks following surgery.

Is the recovery time different for full and mini tummy tuck?

A mini tummy tuck is a significantly smaller operation than a full tummy tuck, and the recovery is faster. Most patients will miss only one week of work. Vigorous exercise should be avoided for about six weeks following surgery.

How common is tummy tuck surgery for men?

Tummy tuck is a common procedure for men. Patients who have lost a significant amount of weight frequently have excess skin that may be excised with a tummy tuck. This skin usually would not tighten with exercise or dieting alone. Abdominoplasty can help Long Beach, Pasadena and Los Angeles patients achieve their ideal figure following a successful program of diet and exercise.

What is the main difference between a mini and full tummy tuck?

There are several important differences between a mini and a full tummy tuck. The majority of patients will benefit from the full procedure. The full procedure tightens the skin of the upper and lower abdomen. The mini tummy tuck tightens only the skin below the belly button. The full procedure tightens all of the muscles of the upper and lower abdomen. The mini tightens only the muscles of the lower abdomen. The full procedure removes enough skin that it requires repositioning of the belly button with a circular scar resulting. The mini removes a smaller amount of skin and does not require repositioning of the belly button. The improvements made with a full tummy tuck are more dramatic than those made with the mini.

What kind of anesthesia is used?

For tummy tuck procedures we use general anesthesia administered by a anesthesiologist certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology with training and certification in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). Please request the name of the anesthesiologist assigned to your case to verify their board certification. This maximizes patient safety and comfort. We also use a long-acting local anesthesia solution at the end of the operation. This helps to minimize patient discomfort in the hours following the tummy tuck and leads to a smooth recovery.

You’ve done your homework, you’ve considered your options. Are you ready to discuss abdominoplasty with one of our Los Angeles plastic surgeons? You can save up to $150 on your appointment when you request online and schedule during one of the convenient times our board-certified plastic surgeons have set aside exclusively for Web visitors.