A tummy tuck is a procedure to help you attain the flat stomach you’ve always wanted. Also called the abdominoplasty, this surgery slims the waist area through the surgical removal of excess hanging abdominal skin and tightening underlying muscles in the midsection. This procedure is popular among women who have had children who are now left with an unwanted pooch. For some, the effects of weight loss medications, such as Ozempic or Wegovy, can take a toll on this area of the body. Tummy tucks are also popular among men, helping to flatten out “pot bellies” and promoting a more toned look. Oftentimes, they are performed in conjunction with liposuction of the abdomen, waist, and flanks- also called “love handles”.
- 1 Before and After Photos
- 2 What Causes Abdominal Fat and Skin Laxity?
- 3 Benefits of a Tummy Tuck
- 4 Tummy Tuck Candidates
- 5 Personal Consultation
- 6 Procedure Options
- 7 Recovery and Results
- 8 How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost in Los Angeles?
- 9 FAQ
- 10 References
Before and After Photos
If you have lost a significant amount of weight or are simply unhappy with excess tissue and skin that won’t resolve with exercise and a healthy diet, consider undergoing this transformative procedure. For premium service and cosmetic care, book your appointment with Dr. Mossi Salibian, a highly experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon. Dr. Salibian serves the patients of West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and surrounding areas of Los Angeles and beyond, ensuring that each one gets the personalized time and attention he, she, or they deserve.
Call his practice today at (310) 550-0750 to learn more about what the tummy tuck has to offer.
What Causes Abdominal Fat and Skin Laxity?
The abdomen is susceptible to changes in both fat distribution and skin elasticity. The prevalence of belly fat varies among different populations and can be influenced by various factors such as genetics, lifestyle choices, and age. Additionally, lax skin can further contribute to abdominal “bulging”, giving the illusion of excess fat accumulation. Many with obesity and obesity-related conditions seek out weight loss surgery and/or begin taking weight loss medications like semaglutide, such as Ozempic or Wegovy, to help curb their appetite and lose weight.
Regardless of weight loss, the skin also experiences laxity with the aging process. Research finds that beginning as soon as middle age, the connective fibers of your skin can degrade and lose their strength. The dermis of the skin may begin to produce less quality collagen, a protein that promotes skin youthfulness. With aging skin, any fat deposits within the midsection can become more prominent. (2) These factors can keep people far away from their goal of achieving a flat midsection.
What is Diastasis Rectus?
Diastasis rectus, or abdominal wall or muscle separation, is a condition that affects the abdominal muscles. It alters the rectus abdominis, commonly referred to as the “six-pack” muscles. During pregnancy, the growing uterus puts pressure on the abdominal wall, causing the connective tissue between the rectus abdominis muscles to stretch and separate. While it is usually not a cause for medical concern, this muscle separation can distort the abdominal contour, creating the appearance of a belly bulge. (1) Sometimes, the condition can lead to secondary problems, such as lower back pain, pelvic floor problems, and poor posture.
Dr Salibian incorporates diastasis rectus repair into abdominoplasty procedures, where indicated. He tightens and secures the abdominal muscles with the use of internal sutures to bring the separated muscles back together, returning them to their proper position. By restoring the integrity of the rectus abdominis muscles, a tummy tuck can not only improve the appearance of the abdomen but also its functionality.
After Massive Weight Loss
For men and women who have lost a tremendous amount of weight, the fat deposits themselves lose their volume and atrophy, leaving excess skin. These transformations can be attributed to the skin’s previous stretching and its inability to contract back to its original size. For many of these patients, the excess loose skin can cause self-consciousness, embarrassment, and even recurring skin infections. A tummy tuck can address these issues in one surgery, allowing patients to enjoy their new figure free from loose and floppy skin.
Benefits of a Tummy Tuck
Abdominoplasties have a range of aesthetic benefits and health benefits for those who want a more comprehensive treatment. Here are the results you can expect once you’ve recovered and are thriving in your newly enhanced body:
- So long as you maintain your weight, the body-sculpting results are permanent.
- You will have a tighter and toned midsection.
- Bathing suits and underwear can easily conceal the lower abdominal scar.
- Dr. Salibian utilizes the latest, most advanced methods to promote a natural-looking, slimmer silhouette.
- He can remove surgical scars (such as c-section scars) and reduce the appearance of stretch marks with the skin removal aspect of the procedure.
- If you are working on building a leaner, “cut” look, a tummy tuck with lipocontouring and liposuction can accentuate the appearance of your abdominal muscles.
Tummy Tuck Candidates
Candidates looking to undergo abdominoplasty should be in good health overall– without any major conditions- and have a BMI under 30. Although the surgery will involve removing extra skin and fat, it should not be considered a weight-loss procedure; it is not a recommended procedure for patients who are obese. Prospective patients are often those who have followed a consistently healthy diet and exercise and weight loss regimen, and experienced the changes of pregnancy or weight loss with bariatric surgery or semaglutide; most commonly prescribed as Ozempic, Wegovy, or Rybelsus. They have plateaued at their ideal body weight and remained stable for several months following their healthy dietary and physical activity choices, and are now mentally and physically ready to permanently improve the appearance of their midsection.
Your consultation with Dr. Salibian will involve a review of your medical history and your history of weight loss, dietary needs, and supplements, as well as a thorough examination of your abdominal area. He will take the time to ask you about your personal goals for the procedure and formulate a surgical plan catered to your individual aesthetic goals. Dr. Salibian prides himself on maintaining the highest standards possible. He will ensure that you have extensive knowledge of the surgery, the preparation for the surgery as well as the postoperative guidelines and expectations for a successful recovery and outcome. You will be well-informed to make the best choice for yourself and your overall well-being. To explore your tummy tuck options further, and to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your individual needs, call (310) 550 0750 or request your consultation with this contact form.
Dr. Salibian performs four general types of abdominoplasties; understanding the differences in each can help you decide which he may recommend for you.
Full Tummy Tuck
For a standard or full tummy tuck, Dr. Salibian will make an incision that is low, from hip to hip, placing it just above the pubic area so that it can be easily covered by a bikini or a speedo. With a full tummy tuck, the umbilicus will also need to be positioned by making a circular incision surrounding the navel and placing it at its correct anatomical location once the abdominal skin is closed over the tightened abdominal muscles and the excess abdominal fat and skin are removed.
Mini Tummy Tuck
For a mini-abdominoplasty, Dr. Salibian will make a similar incision to the full tummy tuck, but it will be shorter in length– located more centrally and not extending to the hips. Though he will remove excess skin and fat, it is reserved for people with less excess hanging skin than those for a full tummy tuck and the belly button does not need to be fully repositioned. It is still possible to tighten the abdominal muscles with a mini tummy tuck.
Extended Tummy Tuck
The horizontal incision of an extended tummy tuck is longer than the standard tummy tuck; it extends to the flanks of the waist- just at the hip bones. With this technique, Dr. Salibian can remove more fat from the sides in addition to the excess hanging skin folds, resulting in a proportionately contoured appearance from every angle.
A fleur-de-lis tummy tuck, also known as an extended or horizontal with vertical incision abdominoplasty, is particularly beneficial for patients who have experienced significant weight loss or have more loose skin than usual from pregnancy. This technique is unique because it involves an additional vertical incision that tightens the laxity of skin along the vertical axis of the torso in addition to the traditional horizontal incision that tightens the hanging laxity along the horizontal plane of the body. This vertical incision allows for more comprehensive removal of excess skin and tissue, resulting in a flatter, hourglass-like midsection. With the fleur-de-lis abdominoplasty, the underlying abdominal muscles are tightened and the umbilicus is positioned at its correct anatomical location.
Patients who have achieved extensive weight loss resulting in significantly loose skin in their midsection will not achieve as well contoured and tight a midsection with the traditional tummy tuck if a fleur-de-lis technique is not performed. In women the hourglass torso can be accentuated by tightening the mid-abdominal muscles as indicated, acting as an internal corset. In men on the other hand, the degree of central tightening is graded not to feminize the male torso but instead to enhance the V-cut look from the pubis to the chest.
To see the results of the fleur-de-lis tummy tuck, please see our photo gallery.
No matter the type of abdominoplasty, Dr. Salibian can use liposuction to sculpt away fat before performing skin removal. With liposuction, he will administer a fluid called tumescent solution within the fatty layer of the abdominal skin, to decrease bleeding and help with pain control. Liposuction is performed judiciously with specific cannulas that come in different lengths, widths, and tips. Liposuction only requires incisions of about .5 cm to less than 1cm in length, that are placed at inconspicuous locations. Liposuction and lipocontouring can greatly contribute to the final outcome of your tummy tuck results. Research finds that liposuction followed by tummy tuck techniques is a safe and effective practice so long as the perforator blood vessels are well-preserved. (3)
Tummy Tuck in Combination with Abdominal Operations
Dr. Salibian works together with general and colorectal surgeons who have treated patients with complicated abdominal wall scars and hernias that need both abdominal wall repair and closure. Some patients who have had previous abdominal operations such as colon resections or liver surgeries, for example, are left with unsightly scars as well as displaced belly buttons and abdominal wall hernias at colostomy closure sites in addition to having hanging skin and displaced belly buttons.
Patients who have similar abdominal problems are best addressed during a combined operation where two specialists, a general or a colorectal surgeon, who performed the original intra-abdominal operation, work together with Dr. Salibian to repair the abdominal wall defects and correct the abdominal muscle deformities and overlying skin irregularities and contour deformities.
Each of these patients presents unique opportunities where the plastic surgical operation is designed to take into consideration the existing limitations of the blood supply to the abdomen and how best to improve the function and cosmetic appearance of the midsection. It is a highly rewarding task to be trusted with the opportunity to specifically design operations that address these otherwise both emotionally and physically debilitating conditions for our patients.
Recovery and Results
During the operation a pain-relieving device is used that delivers a set rate of local long-acting anesthetic to help ease the pain after tummy tuck, allowing the patient to be mobile earlier and use less narcotic-based medications. Dr. Salibian and his staff will guide you on which medications to take to ease your recovery. You will have surgical drains placed with a tummy tuck to evacuate the excess fluids that are produced during the immediate healing phase. You will have specific post-operative instructions which Dr. Salibian and his staff will discuss with you in detail as well as the use of compression garments. In general, within two to three weeks, you will be able to return to work, and in six to twelve weeks back to your usual physical activities; including gym and intense exercises.
How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost in Los Angeles?
The cost of a tummy tuck varies depending on the techniques utilized, surgical, anesthesia, facility fees, and other elements. Dr. Salibian’s patients have the option to apply for CareCredit, should they be seeking a cosmetic financing company.
How do I prepare for a tummy tuck?
At least three months before your surgery, you should stop smoking and vaping (if you smoke or vape even occasionally) and stop taking anti-inflammatory medications a week to ten days before. While smoking and vaping can constrict blood vessels and lead to problems with tissue healing in addition to other health problems, anti-inflammatories can thin the blood and cause more bruising during the procedure itself.
How can I find out if I need a tummy tuck with diastasis recti repair?
To check for diastasis recti, simply lie down on your back with your knees bent, and do a slight crunch toward your knees. Gently press two fingers above your navel and directly below it. If the gap between your abdominal muscles is more than two fingers, you may have diastasis recti. This test will be performed by Dr. Salibian during your consultation for a tummy tuck.
Can I have a baby after a tummy tuck?
Pregnancy is a slow process of stretching the abdominal wall and yes, one can carry a full-term pregnancy even after a tummy tuck. In general, however, a tummy tuck and repair of diastasis recti are best performed once planned pregnancies are completed.
Can a tummy tuck give me six-pack abs?
Continuing to work out and tone the midsection including the abdominal muscles will give you the six-pack abs that you desire. After having a tummy tuck, the tighter abdominal wall skin will allow the underlying muscular contours of your abs to show better than before the tummy tuck. After you have recovered from your tummy tuck, working on your core strength can provide more muscular definition in your midsection.
Is a tummy tuck better than liposuction alone?
There are specific indications and candidates for each and they are not mutually exclusive. However, liposuction is better suited for patients who only need to remove excess or unwanted fat from the abdominal or other body areas; they have good skin elasticity that can retract after fat removal and those who do not have loose abdominal wall skin. A tummy tuck involves both fat removal and skin removal with tightening techniques and is more suitable for those who have experienced pregnancy or significant weight loss resulting in hanging skin and loose underlying abdominal muscles. Tummy tuck patients, both men and women, can also undergo liposuction at the same time to further enhance their results if desired or indicated.
- Hall H, Sanjaghsaz H. Diastasis Recti Rehabilitation. PubMed. Published 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK573063/#:~:text=Introduction-
- Rousseaux I, Robson S. Body Contouring, and Skin Tightening Using a Unique Novel Multisource Radiofrequency Energy Delivery Method. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2017;10(4):24-29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5404777/
- Smith LF, Smith LF. Safely Combining Abdominoplasty with Aggressive Abdominal Liposuction Based on Perforator Vessels. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2015;135(5):1357-1366. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/prs.0000000000001200