A flat, toned stomach is a common goal many of us strive for but sometimes can be difficult-impossible to achieve. After significant weight loss and/or pregnancy the abdominal skin and muscles can become loose, especially below the belly button. The only way to repair the stretched muscles and significantly tighten excess skin in the abdominal region is through a surgical procedure called an abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck.
During an abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”) an incision is made low in the abdomen, often along the lowest natural crease below the bikini line, so the abdominal muscles can first be repaired/tightened and then all the excess skin can be removed. This procedure helps patients with saggy skin, stretch marks, and or a persistent abdominal bulge we often call an abdominal “pooch”.
Patients with excess skin isolated below the belly button can undergo a modified abdominoplasty, or mini tummy tuck. This procedure requires only a lower incision. If loose skin is present above the belly button, an incision around the navel is typically required.
A tummy tuck is often combined with other procedures of the breast or body such as liposuction of the flanks or a breast lift with or without augmentation as part of a “mommy makeover.” Dr. Jason was the lead author on a study, Comparison of Limited-Undermining Lipoabdominoplasty and Traditional Abdominoplasty Using Laser Fluorescence Imaging, published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal that objectively evaluated the safety of performing liposuction of belly fat at the same time as a tummy tuck. This breakthrough abdominoplasty procedure is able to achieve more dramatic results in a single procedure.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Facts
+ Anesthesia: Typically general anesthesia.
+ Length Of Stay: A single overnight stay is highly recommended. The Surgery Center at UCLA is the only place in Los Angeles that allows you to have your surgery followed by a monitored overnight stay with a registered nurse (R.N.) in the same facility. Not to mention, that UCLA’s world class hospital ranked “Best in the West” according to the U.S. News and World Report for the last 2 decades, is next door in the rare event of an emergency. This allows for a safer surgical experience which is one of the main reasons Dr. Jason Roostaeian is proud to be on faculty at UCLA.
+ Recovery: There is moderate discomfort the first week and you will typically have a plastic drainage tube that collects body fluid for 1 week. You should be up and about within the same day; start showering in two days; stitches are dissolvable; bruising mostly gone by 1 week; back to work if not strenuous after 1-2 weeks; avoid any exercise or significant increase in your heart rate for 2 weeks. Can restart gentle exercise routine at 6 weeks and return to full activity by 3 months. Abdominoplasty surgery scars will continue to lighten and mature over 6 months to a year.
+ Tummy Tuck Scars: Scar, variable in length, below the bikini line. In most cases, unless a mini tummy tuck is being performed, a scar around the belly button that is well hidden is necessary. During your initial tummy tuck consultation with Dr. Jason he will discuss what to expect based on your personal needs and surgery.
+ Risks/Possible Tummy Tuck Complications: Serious complications, while possible, are unlikely. Some potential abdominoplasty complications can be avoided by carefully following your surgeon’s instructions.
Before & After Abdominoplasty Photos
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Top Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Questions
1. Should I start a diet and exercise regimen before or after a tummy tuck? To achieve the best possible result in body contouring it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This should be started before surgery so that you can keep it going after surgery. Although you will have to take a break from exercise for a few weeks during your recovery, it important to maintain a well-balanced diet. Many of Dr. Jason’s patients are more motivated by their new body shape following surgery and want to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
2. Does the belly button get moved during a tummy tuck? The simple answer is no. We leave the belly button alone and make a new opening for it when it is necessary. Dr. Jason utilizes special suturing techniques to achieve a natural looking result with hidden scars tucked deep inside the belly button.
3. If I am unhappy with the appearance of my belly button can it be improved? Since we often have to create a new opening for your belly button, this gives us the opportunity to change its size or shape. You can discuss your goals with Dr. Jason during the consultation to try and achieve the perfect belly button for you.
4. Can a tummy tuck be combined with other procedures? Yes, a tummy tuck is often combined with other procedures of the breast or body. Liposuction of the flanks or a breast lift with or without augmentation as part of a “mommy makeover” are commonly performed at the same time. Dr. Jason was the lead author on a study, Comparison of Limited-Undermining Lipoabdominoplasty and Traditional Abdominoplasty Using Laser Fluorescence Imaging, published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal that objectively evaluated the safety of performing liposuction of belly fat at the same time as a tummy tuck. This breakthrough procedure is able to achieve more dramatic results in a single procedure.
5. How do I choose the right doctor for me? You should look at the doctors tummy tuck before and after photos critically and decide whether you like their sense of aesthetic. Cosmetic surgery is an art and therefore you want to find a doctor that matches your taste so to speak.
6. How long does a tummy tuck last? Patients who maintain a healthy lifestyle will enjoy the result of their tummy tuck procedure for decades. Significant increases in weight can stretch out the abdominal skin and muscles that were tightened.
7. How long will it take to heal after abdominoplasty surgery? Your incisions will be healed and you can return to most activities by 6 weeks. Full activities such as strenuous workouts, running, etc. is best to wait until 3 months, when your scars have achieved full strength. For a tummy tuck scar to fully mature, however, it takes at least 6 months to a year. Over this time you will see your tummy scars become barely visible, they will lighten in color and become softer to the touch.
8. When can I start working out again? For the first 2 weeks following surgery, you want to avoid straining (lifting anything more than 5 lbs), or getting your heart rate/blood pressure up as this can lead to bleeding. After 2-3 weeks you should avoid mechanical forces that will stress or put tension on your healing incisions for 3 months. This means you should avoid high impact activities that lead to excessive movement of your abdomen, such a running. Listen to what your body is telling you at all times, for instance stop the workout if you experience any new discomfort. Remember, getting plenty of rest and reducing your overall activity will give you time to heal and speed up your recovery.
9. When can I go back to work after a tummy tuck? It really depends on what you do for work. If you have a desk job you can typically return to work after 1-2 weeks. If your profession is more physically demanding, Dr. Jason recommends waiting at least 2-3 weeks before returning to work. Remember, you do not want to strain or lift anything that weighs more than five pounds for the first 2 weeks after surgery.
10. Can I get pregnant after a tummy tuck? Yes, you are able to get pregnant with no consequences to your newborn. However, the pregnancy will re-stretch the skin and abdominal muscles that were tightened and may require a revisional procedure. Therefore, it is advisable to wait until you are done with pregnancies before considering a tummy tuck.
About Tummy Tuck Surgery
A tummy tuck procedure typically last approximately two to four hours. Dr. Jason will typically create incisions below your bikini line, and when necessary around your belly button (navel). The incision will be made as inconspicuously as possible, however, its length will vary depending on what your particular body needs to achieve the best possible shape. Dr. Jason will employ liposuction in any of the areas you need to achieve the best result. Your abdominal muscles will be repaired and tightened as necessary. The extra skin from your belly is then removed and your incisions are closed using absorbable sutures so there is no need to later remove any stitches. The majority of the swelling will likely subside within a week while some mild swelling may persist for a few more weeks. Within one week after surgery you will visit Dr. Jason at the UCLA Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery suite in Los Angeles as a follow up so he can check on your healing and answer any questions.
What To Expect After Tummy Tuck Surgery
The procedure is performed at UCLA’s state of the art outpatient surgery center that provides an unparallel level of safety. US News has ranked the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles among the top 5 hospitals in the country for more than 20 years. Following your procedure, you will be taken to the recovery suite where you will stay and be cared for and monitored by UCLA’s excellent nurses overnight. You can take a shower after 2 days but baths, swimming, or soaking of your incisions should be avoided for 4 weeks.
Most patients require prescription narcotics for at least a few days after surgery. You can drive if you’re not taking prescription narcotics and most feel up for it 1-2 weeks after surgery. You can return to work within 1-2 weeks as long as it doesn’t require any significant physical activity or lifting.
“Dr. Roostaeian performed my breast augmentation and redid my abdominoplasty due to a big scar below my belly button which did not heal correctly from the original abdominoplasty 8 years ago. I am extremely happy with the result! My scar is thin like a size of a needle, unlike the size of a finger with my first abdominoplasty. He really listens to his patient and most important is, he cared. I stayed at the hospital for a day and he visited me 3 times to make sure I am doing well. He responded to my emails quickly with any questions and concerns. I highly recommend him if you’re looking for a plastic surgeon, you will be please with the quality of his work. – real patient testimonial 2013”
UCLA Tummy Tuck | Abdominoplasty Consultation
If you are considering getting a tummy tuck in Los Angeles, please come in for a consultation with Dr. Jason at UCLA. Click here to book a consultation or call 310.825.8827. The UCLA Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery suite is located at 200 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 465, Los Angeles, CA 90095. Its prime Westwood, Los Angeles location is convenient to all patients in West LA including Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood.
At the consultation Dr Jason will listen closely to what you are interested in and what type of look you are trying achieve. Dr Jason specializes in natural looking results and will take guide you toward the procedure that fits your body. You will have the opportunity to thoroughly review his earlier work and see whether his results are what you are looking for.