Tummy Tuck Procedures




Abdominoplasty or a “tummy tuck” is performed to remove excess skin and tighten the abdominal wall for a flatter stomach with more definition. The tummy tuck is ideal for women who have stretched muscles and skin after pregnancy or for men and women who have lost a significant amount of weight. It is also a great option for women who suffer from a genetic predisposition towards loose skin.

Our tummy tuck surgeons are experts in abdominoplasty, specializing in advanced techniques for natural looking belly buttons, defined contours and minimal scarring. To provide the best possible result, our surgeons also perform liposuction. Tummy tuck surgery is a permanent procedure, however it is recommended to wait until you are finishing having children or losing weight because significant fluctuations in weight may require additional surgery.


Our tummy tuck surgeons specialize in a full range of advanced tummy tuck techniques to provide patients with the best tummy tuck results with the least amount of scarring and downtime. Depending on the amount of excess skin and the extent of muscle repair needed, your surgeon will discuss your options and determine the best tummy tuck procedure for you.

The most common type of tummy tuck performed at California Surgical Institute is the high lateral tension tummy tuck. Unlike a standard tummy tuck, which tightens the abdomen along the center, a high lateral tension tummy tuck also focuses on the sides, pulling in the abdomen like a corset for a tighter better contoured appearance. Many patients find that this technique provides the best tummy tuck results.


Mini Tummy Tuck – If the area giving you the most trouble is below the belly button, you could qualify for a "mini tummy tuck," or "mini abdominoplasty," which tightens the skin between the pubic area and your navel. This is generally considered a less complex procedure and will take less time. It will also leave less scarring since the incisions will be much smaller.

Standard Tummy Tuck – A standard tummy tuck removes excess skin, tightens the center of the abdomen through internal sutures and positions the belly button for a flatter contour. All tummy tuck procedures stem from the basic principles of the standard tummy tuck, which will be discussed below.

Fleur De Lys Tummy Tuck – The best tummy tuck procedure to address concerns with excess skin on the upper portion of the is the fleur de lys technique. This technique requires an additional incision through the center of the abdomen and is typically only performed for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight, such as after gastric bypass or lap band surgery.

Panniculectomy - After your abdominoplasty, you can also get a Panniculectomy, which removes skin and fat below the belly button and around to your lower back area. This technique is also primarily performed on men and women who have experienced massive weight loss.


Tummy tuck surgery is performed in 2 to 5 hours as an outpatient procedure at one of our fully accredited facilities under general anesthesia. Our tummy tuck surgeons are experts in body contouring, combining liposuction. Tummy tuck and liposuction performed together allow for the

To perform a tummy tuck, an incision is made from hip to hip along the bikini line. The length of tummy tuck scars are determined by the extent of skin that needs to be removed. For example mini tummy tuck scars are much shorter than standard tummy tuck scars and standard tummy tuck scars are shorter than fleur de lys or high lateral tension tummy tuck scars.

Once the incision is made the abdominal muscles are tightened using permanent internal sutures. Our tummy tuck surgeonsspecialize in the most advanced techniques for internal suturing to provide the best tummy tuck contours with more definition after surgery. As well as for closing the incision after the skin is then pulled down, excess skin removed to allow for minimal scarring and a natural looking result.

In most cases, the belly button will need to be repositioned and re-created. The best tummy tuck results are often determined by the appearance of the belly button. This is why our surgeons also focus much of their attention to the intricate aspect of the procedure. Please take a moment to view our before and after pictures to view our tummy tuck results.


Your tummy tuck journey will begin with an initial consultation and evaluation with your surgeon. During this consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your skin tone and abdominal fat deposits, in addition to your overall level of health. When you are talking to your tummy tuck surgeon, it's important to be honest about all of the medications you are currently taking, as well as whether or not you regularly use alcohol or tobacco.


Once a full assessment of your specific case has been completed, your surgeon will be able to recommend the best course of action for you. Depending on your goals and the shape of your body, your surgeon may recommend liposuction, tummy tuck with liposuction, mini tummy tuck, standard tummy tuck, or advanced techniques. Although your surgeon's recommendation may be different than your initial expectations, you can count on your surgeon to provide you with the best tummy tuck recommendation to achieve optimal results.

In addition to discussing the surgery itself, your surgeon will also talk to you about where the procedure will take place, how long it will take to complete, the type of anesthesia that will be used, tummy tuck cost and any other questions that you have on your mind. You will also be given guidelines about how you should handle drinking, eating, medications and smoking prior to your procedure. If you carefully follow these instructions, you will be able to significantly minimize the risk of complications arising during or after your procedure.


After tummy tuck surgery, you need to have a caregiver for the first 24 hours to drive you home, monitor your recovery and assist you with moving around. During initial recovery, patients may experience swelling and bruising. Any discomfort can be improved with prescribed medication.

After 5-7 days stitches will be removed and your surgeon will discuss how to change your dressings, shower and returning to activities. It is important to start walking after surgery to prevent blood clots. You will be required to wear a compression garment to help reduce swelling and encourage proper healing. Tummy tuck scars will fade over time and can be improved through the use of scar cream.


Potential complications and risks should always been addressed when it comes to plastic surgery, tummy tuck procedures included. Although not common, a tummy tuck can cause blood clots or infection. Blood clots can normally be avoided by beginning to walk around as soon as possible after the procedure, while any infections can normally be treated with antibiotics. There is a possibility of the incision healing poorly and, as a result, excessive scarring can develop, which may require a second operation to correct.

Smoking can increase the potential for complications and risks after plastic surgery, tummy tuck patients MUST refrain from smoking for a minimum of two week before and after surgery. The key to minimizing the potential complications and risks of anabdominoplasty is strictly following all of the guidelines that are given to you by your surgeon before and after the operation.


The cost of a tummy tuck varies depending upon the type of procedure because different types of tummy tucks require a different amount of time in the operating room. Another factor in tummy tuck cost is the amount of liposuction required to achieve the desired results. Our goal is to provide the best tummy tuck results at affordable prices. The cost of tummy tuck quoted at your consultation includes all surgical fees including OR fees, doctor fees and anesthesiologist fees. Additional fees that will be discussed include the cost of tummy tuck garments to be used after surgery, the price of Arnica and Bromelin to prevent swelling and bruising and lab fees.

We currently offer a $1000 online discount that can be applied toward your tummy tuck cost. You can redeem this offer by filling out the form at the top of the page. We also offer easy financing options and payment plans to help nearly every patient afford the cost of tummy tuck surgery. Your physician consultant will help you determine the best options for you.

Tummy Tuck Frequently Asked Questions


An incision just above the pubic area is used to remove excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen. Skin is separated from the abdominal wall all the way up to the ribs. The surgeon draws underlying muscle and tissue together and stitches them, thereby narrowing the waistline and strengthening the abdominal wall. Abdominal skin is drawn down and excess is removed. With complete abdominoplasty, a new opening is cut for the navel. Both incisions are stitched closed.After surgery, the patient has a flatter, trimmer abdomen. Scars are permanent, but will fade with time.

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You can have a good assessment of your plastic surgeon’s artistic skills and eye for details with his tummy tuck before and after photos. However, you must be sure that the pictures are all his works and not his colleagues’ masterpiece.

To achieve impressive results from tummy tuck procedure, the general rule of thumb is to consult only with a board-certified plastic surgeon—i.e., certified by reputable plastic surgery affiliations such as The American Board of Plastic Surgery and The American Society of Plastic Surgeons—and avoid non-specialists who are only taking advantage of the lucrative beauty industry.


For visual accuracy, the before and after photos must be taken from the same distance and angle and under the same lighting. Take note that close-up “before” photos could lead to a wider waistline, with flaws being more noticeable, while zoomed out “after” pictures are less forgiving if there is any residual asymmetry. Thus it is not uncommon for marketers to use this tactics to give an illusion that the results look more drastic than in reality.

Aside from the same distance and angle, it is also highly ideal that all the tummy tuck before and after photos have the same bikini or undergarment “cut.” With standardized pictures, it would be easier to assess your surgeon’s skills in terms of delivering natural-looking results.

Also, take a closer look at the appearance of tummy tuck scars. Most patients will end up with a horizontally oriented scar from hip to hip across the lower abdomen, which could be shaped like a letter U or perhaps somewhat straighter, depending on the amount and location of their excess skin.

Leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili says a good doctor will make every effort to position the tummy tuck scars underneath the bikini line, thus “hiding” any telltale sign of plastic surgery. While this is often possible, he warns that some patients may have to accept a scar that lies higher than ideal to achieve smoother results especially in the upper abdomen.

In addition to the postop scar, you should also examine the overall contour and its “flow.” Dr. Smaili says the natural valleys and curves of the abdomen, flanks, and hips should be preserved, leading to a smooth appearance.

Botched surgeries, meanwhile, are easy to spot even by “ordinary observers.” Residual fat rolls, hanging skin, asymmetries, and dog ears (scars that appear puckery) are the traits of poor tummy tuck results, explains the celebrity Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.

And lastly, take a very close look at the navel’s appearance. A typical tummy tuck procedure creates a new belly button, thus it is an area that tells a lot about the surgeon’s eye for details.

Experienced surgeons pay very close attention to the postop navel by making sure that it will appear natural—i.e., not too rounded, not too big or too small, has some “hood” on the top portion, positioned at the same level of the hip bone, and somewhat vertically oriented.


A full or standard tummy tuck surgery can significantly improve the abdominal contour by removing the redundant skin and tightening the deeper muscular structure. However, some patients are turned off by the appearance of a long scar, which typically runs from hip to hip, across the lower abdomen.

For patients who need “less correction,” a mini tummy tuck is a good alternative. It uses a shorter scar below the navel, which is about the size or slightly longer than a C-section scar.


If there is an existing C-section scar, leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smaili says a cost-effective approach is to utilize it during a mini tummy tuck surgery to avoid additional scarring.

Aside from the “usual” requirements—e.g., being physically fit and near one’s ideal weight, non-smoker, and with realistic goals—you must also meet the three anatomical factors that can help you achieve impressive results from a mini tummy tuck.

  1. The excess skin is isolated to the area below your navel.

Due to the limited length of a mini tummy tuck scar, it has no or very little effect on your upper abdomen. For this reason, the procedure is only suitable for patients with just a small amount of excess skin limited to their lower abdominal area.

Take note that forcing this on someone who has too much redundant skin can lead to asymmetric, unnatural contour, particularly fat rolls and hanging skin tissue in the upper abdomen.

  1. Relatively good skin tone

If you have maintained a healthy weight throughout your life, most likely you will have a better skin tone compared to individuals who have resorted to “yoyo weight” lifestyle. Nevertheless, pregnancy could lead to some loose skin that is generally limited to your lower abdomen.

Having a decent amount of skin elasticity can also help your skin to shrink-wrap after a minor abdominal liposuction, which is often used as an adjunct procedure of mini tummy tucks.

  1. Minimal muscle laxity

Mini tummy tuck recovery is shorter than a standard technique’s because of the limited incision. However, the tradeoff is the limited amount of muscle repair, which is not enough for massive weight loss patients.

Due to the limited incision, the abdominal muscle is not as accessible as doing repair in full tummy tuck in which the skin is raised more extensively, as explained by the celebrity Los Angeles plastic surgeon.


Tummy tuck surgery removes excess abdominal skin and fat and, in most cases, reshapes the splayed muscle caused by previous pregnancies or massive weight loss. For this reason, it is generally viewed as a cosmetic, elective procedure in which the only goal is to improve one’s appearance.

But over the past several years, studies have been conducted to show that tummy tuck inadvertently could provide medical benefits, prompting some plastic surgeons and advocates to articulate that for some patients this procedure should be categorized as a reconstructive surgery and must be covered by health insurance.

Renowned Los Angeles plastic surgery expert Dr. Tarick Smaili explains the four surprising medical benefits of tummy tuck surgery.


1.  Long-term weight loss. A study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal has suggested that massive weight loss patients who had tummy tuck were more successful in keeping a healthy weight compared with their colleagues who did not undergo the procedure.

The researchers have concluded that abdominal fat could play a role in satiety, and that by removing some of it through tummy tuck might contribute to long-term weight loss. In fact, three-fourths of patients who had the procedure reported an increased feeling of satiety.

However, separate studies have concluded that the new figure could be the main motivator for patients to maintain a healthier, more stable weight afterwards.

2.  Correction of ventral hernia. This condition happens when an abdominal tissue or intestine breaks through the abdominal wall, forming a “sack.” Oftentimes, it is triggered by massive weight loss and C-sections.

Surgical correction of ventral hernia and tummy tuck share the same technique—i.e., strengthening the abdominal wall and suturing in place the loose muscles—although the latter provides cosmetic benefits as well.

3.  Improved posture. Abdominal muscle weakness is known to cause lordosis, or swayback, in which the lower back has an excessive curvature. Over time, this condition leads to posture problem and back pain.

Because tummy tuck surgery can also be used to improve one’s abdominal tone, patients with lordosis have reported better posture and relief from back pain after the operation.

4.  Improved bladder control. After vaginal birth, some women develop a condition called stress urinary incontinence, which can be triggered by laughing, sneezing, heavy lifting, and coughing.

Proponents suggest that incontinence can be treated, or at least reduced, by creating a soft tissue near the pelvic region at the time of tummy tuck surgery. The idea, according to the renowned Los Angeles plastic surgery expert, is to construct a small “obstruction” to the bladder.


The plastic surgeons at California Surgical Institute's Beverly Hills, Upland, Brea and Riverside Clinics (respectively our Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside County locations) offer Complimentary Consultations to answer any questions you may have. To schedule your appointment, please call 866-372-3288 or submit the form at the top of the page.

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