Home/Body Plastic Surgery/Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

What Can a Tummy Tuck Do?

A tummy tuck is considered a highly effective body contouring procedure that can slim the waistline while firming and smoothing the appearance of the midsection. Not only can abdominoplasty remove excess skin, but the procedure is also designed to tighten separated abdominal musculature— this can improve the look of a hanging or protruding abdomen. In general, a tummy tuck is performed to:

  • Tighten muscles in the abdomen for an improved abdominal contour
  • Remove excess skin, creating a smoother and flatter abdomen and waistline
  • Eliminate some degree of stubborn fat in the abdomen
  • Reshape the belly button, if necessary

With the ability to bring together loose or stretched abdominal muscles, a tummy tuck is popularly incorporated into a Mommy Makeover. This customized series of treatments is designed to address the areas commonly affected by pregnancy and nursing, often with the goal of restoring a patient’s pre-pregnancy figure. If you are interested in a Mommy Makeover, Dr. Schooler can examine your concerns and work with you to develop the best treatment plan for your needs.

How is the Tummy Tuck Procedure Performed?

The spectrum of procedures that encompass the term “tummy tuck” ranges from very minor procedures to extensive circumferential body lifts. The extent of required surgery to give you a beautiful abdominal contour will be recommended during your consultation, and a personal treatment plan will be created.

Our experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon at the Santa Barbara Plastic Surgery Center, Dr. Wesley Schooler, has continued to incorporate the latest techniques to give you a beautiful abdominal contour with minimal downtime as well as a speedy recovery and return to normal activities. He will create a skin flap along the abdominal region and eliminate the excess skin and fat. He will then tighten the muscles of the abdomen, pulling them taut, and advance the skin flap from the belly button level to the suprapubic area, creating a much firmer and fit-looking appearance. The entire procedure typically lasts three to six hours, depending on the extent of the tummy tuck. This treatment is usually performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia.

Belly Button Revision

The belly button can alter its shape over time due to a number of factors, such as weight fluctuation, pregnancy, hernias, stretch marks after pregnancy or other reasons. A belly button revision surgery can reshape its appearance to make the look of the naval more aesthetically favorable. Belly button reshaping is an integral part of a tummy tuck. Occasionally, an isolated belly button reshaping procedure is a good option. If interested, our plastic surgeon can transform “outies” into “innies” with this effective procedure.

Combining a Tummy Tuck with Other Procedures

As techniques have advanced, tummy tuck surgery and many other exciting aesthetic techniques have become more popular. Body sculpting SAFELipo® is frequently combined with the tummy tuck procedure. We have also combined fat grafting with the Brazilian butt lift in women and abdominal muscle enhancement in men with great results. Dr. Schooler will give you a personalized assessment and recommendations for good combination procedures for you.

What is Recovery From a Tummy Tuck Like?

We measure you and order a custom garment to help with edema management and post-operative body shaping. Your safety as a patient is the greatest priority immediately after surgery. We usually use a binder to help shape the abdomen while ensuring it’s not too tight to improve circulation of the torso. Our surgical team also sends you home with sequential compression devices, or leg squeezers for the legs to prevent deep venous thrombosis. We use Exparel®, a long-acting injectable medication to decrease post-operative pain for the first 24 hours. We use the minimal or no-drain technique and employ several other approaches to minimize drains. For the first 1 to 2 days after surgery, you are provided a compression garment, which is worn to reduce swelling and facilitate the healing of your new body contours. Dr. Schooler will sometimes encourage oral supplements such as Arnica® to reduce bruising, and prescribe medications for excessive post-operative swelling as well as analgesics for discomfort. We employ the latest rapid recovery protocols to facilitate a speedy recovery with minimal pain and minimal narcotic use. Immediately after the tummy tuck, patients are encouraged to sit on a recliner in a beach chair position or sleep with 2 to 3 pillows elevating the head for the first week. While plenty of rest is strongly encouraged after a tummy tuck, walking around periodically and light ambulation four times per day can help prevent blood clots during the healing process. When getting around, you may need to walk with a slight bend in the hips for the first few days. Most patients can return to their normal schedules within 10 days to two weeks; however, exercise and strenuous activity should be avoided for at least four weeks, and heavy core workouts held for 6 weeks. Dr. Schooler will discuss your unique recovery strategy in more detail with you in person.

How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?

A tummy tuck is customized according to the extent of your individual anatomy and concerns, with the cost of the procedure similarly personalized. Factors that often affect the price of a tummy tuck include the technique used, the amount of surgical work to be done, and your aesthetic goals, as well as fees for the surgeon, anesthesia, and operating facility. Any hernias identified before or during surgery are addressed at the same time as surgery, and that portion of the procedure is considered a separate procedure subject to standard insurance practices. Once Dr. Schooler assesses your needs in a consultation, our Patient Care Coordinator will be able to provide you with a personalized quote of your aesthetic procedure.

We offer a number of different payment options, including plastic surgery financing through trusted healthcare lending companies such as CareCredit® and Alphaeon™ Credit. These leading financial institutions allow qualified applicants to choose from a range of low- to no-interest payment plans for the option that suits their budget most ideally. If you would like to learn more about the cost of a tummy tuck, please contact our practice to speak to a member of our team.

Your Tummy Tuck Consultation

During your tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) consultation, our plastic surgeon will meet with you on a one-on-one basis to discuss all aspects of the procedure and your individual goals. The consultation will include photographic analysis and a 3D virtual reality simulation to visualize your post-operative potential. Our surgeon encourages you to ask any questions you may have and will address all of your concerns. With any type of surgery, you should be certain that you are working with a skilled, experienced, board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeon. Dr. Schooler is excited to discuss your goals with you and ensure you feel confident you’re in the right hands.

How Long Do Tummy Tuck Results Last?

A tummy tuck permanently removes excess skin from the abdominal area, resulting in a flatter and firmer abdomen. While the aging process will continue, the outcome of the procedure can last indefinitely as long as patients maintain a stable weight. Certain factors, such as weight gain and pregnancy, can re-stretch the skin and weaken the abdominal musculature; therefore, undergoing a tummy tuck only after you’re at your ideal weight and have no future plans for pregnancy is key to preserving abdominoplasty results.

No matter what type of tummy tuck procedure was performed, the best way to prolong the longevity of your tummy tuck is to live an active lifestyle. Weight gain can cause fat to accumulate around the midsection and potentially alter the sleek body contours achieved after surgery. Exercising and keeping up with a healthy diet can help manage weight and ensure the shape of the abdomen remains stable in the future.

Will I Have a Visible Tummy Tuck Scar?

The shape and size of your tummy tuck scar will depend on which procedure was the most optimal technique to achieve your goals. For example, a mini tummy tuck requires shorter incisions than a full abdominoplasty, so the resulting scar will be less extensive when compared to a standard tummy tuck. While all surgical procedures will produce some amount of scarring, the scars left after a tummy tuck can easily be covered by a swimsuit bottom or underwear. Dr. Schooler will show you where your scars are most likely to appear so you know what to expect after the procedure. He will also provide you with detailed aftercare instructions that can promote the best possible healing of your incisions, thereby maximizing the appearance of your scars and encouraging them to lighten somewhat over time.

For more information on tummy tuck surgery or body reshaping, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.