San Diego’s warm weather year round makes a beach and sculpted body almost a necessity. But if a flabby abdomen is making you hide your figure under bulky clothes instead of a bathing suit, tummy tuck may be the solution you need to feel confident in your body. Also known as abdominoplasty, tummy tuck is a body contouring procedure designed to eliminate loose skin and fat that are resistant to even the strictest weight loss efforts. True Beauty San Diego Aesthetic Surgery & Medicine has helped hundreds of men and women get the sculpted and toned abdomen they desire. Led by board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Reagan, our practice focuses on delivering personalized care and natural-looking results that all patients can enjoy.
Brian Reagan, MD, FACS
Dr. Brian Reagan is a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of True Beauty San Diego Aesthetic Surgery & Medicine. Dr. Reagan is renowned for his surgical skills and commitment to patient satisfaction. Dr. Reagan has been featured on local media outlets, including ABC 10, and recognized as one of the “Best Plastic Surgeons in San Diego” by San Diego Magazine, and “Best Plastic Surgeons in La Jolla” by La Jolla Light Newspaper.
Are You a Candidate for Tummy Tuck?
You may be an ideal candidate for tummy tuck if you have one or more of the following:
- Excess, loose skin in the abdomen due to genetics, weight fluctuations, pregnancy or the natural aging process
- Stubborn deposits of fat on the abdomen
- Weakened or separated abdominal muscles
Tummy tuck is a highly individualized procedure. True Beauty will tailor your procedure to meet your specific needs and goals. For instance, for loose skin and fat on the lower abdomen, our team may recommend mini-tummy tuck instead of a full tummy tuck. Or, we may recommend combining tummy tuck with another body contouring procedure such as body lift, to create better contours and an overall flattering figure.
Tummy tuck surgery is an outpatient procedure, performed under general anesthesia. To begin, a horizontal incision is made from hipbone to hipbone. The incision will be located below the navel and low enough so it can be concealed by most underwear and bikini bottoms. Through this incision, our plastic surgeon will remove loose, excess skin and tighten the underlying muscles (if necessary). If there are fatty deposits present, they will be removed with liposuction techniques for a slimmer and firmer contour. An additional incision will be made around the navel so it can be raised to a more natural-looking position on the abdomen.
Mini Tummy Tuck
Mini tummy tuck is a less invasive and complex version of the procedure, and only uses one incision to make modifications on the lower abdomen. The incision is located below the bikini and underwear line, and is typically shorter than the incision used for full tummy tuck. Mini tummy tuck often involves a shorter recovery than full tummy tuck.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
Depending on the extent of your procedure and personal healing progress, you will need to take one to two weeks off from work and other normal activities. While your abdomen will appear slimmer soon after tummy tuck, it may take up to a year for the final results to become visible. The effects of tummy tuck can last for many years, so long as you follow a healthy lifestyle (i.e., exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, not smoke). True Beauty can provide you with more tips on how to prolong your slimmer and toned figure for years to come.
Tummy Tuck FAQs
How much weight can I lose with tummy tuck?
While tummy tuck can help you slim and tone the abdomen, do not expect to lose a lot of weight. If you wish to lose a substantial amount of weight, we recommend you do so via bariatric surgery or diet and exercise, instead of or before tummy tuck.
Can tummy tuck treat stretch marks?
Tummy tuck cannot treat stretch marks. However, it can remove stretch marks located on the excess skin that will be excised. Because tummy tuck involves tightening the skin, the majority of the remaining stretch marks will be located on the lower abdominal skin, improving the overall appearance of the midsection.
When can I begin exercising after tummy tuck surgery?
How soon you can resume exercise will depend on your personal healing progress. Generally, exercise and other vigorous activities that elevate the heart rate should be avoided for approximately four weeks. At that point, Dr. Reagan may clear you to resume light-impact exercise. Most patients can resume high-impact exercise around the six- or eight-week mark. Ultimately, Dr. Reagan will advise on when it is safe for you to exercise after tummy tuck.
Will tummy tuck scars go away?
As with all other surgical procedures, tummy tuck does involve scarring. The good news is that the incision for the procedure is placed low enough that scarring can be concealed under most bathing suits and underwear. In addition, the scar will gradually fade up to the point that it is virtually indistinguishable. The True Beauty team will give you a list of guidelines to follow when caring for your healing scars.
What are the side effects and potential risks associated with tummy tuck?
Normal and temporary side effects of tummy tuck include swelling, soreness and bruising. Over time, these side effects should subside and any discomfort can be managed with prescription oral pain medication.
Like all surgical procedures, tummy tuck carries some degree of risk. Potential risks include bleeding, infection, prolonged numbness, poor wound healing and unfavorable scarring. Fortunately these risks decrease dramatically when working with a qualified plastic surgeon. Prior to your procedure, Dr. Reagan and his team will discuss side effects and risks in detail with you.
How long will tummy tuck results last?
The slimming results of tummy tuck can last many years so long as you maintain a healthy and stable weight. Because future weight gain can cause fat to reappear, the skin to stretch and the abdominal muscles to separate again, Dr. Reagan recommends you wait to have tummy tuck until after you are sure you are done having children. Doing so can help prolong the cosmetic effects of tummy tuck.
What is the cost of tummy tuck?
The cost of tummy tuck varies depending on several factors, including whether the procedure is being performed on its own or in conjunction with another procedure (e.g., liposuction, body lift). The True Beauty team can provide you with a price estimate after meeting with you in person and discussing the details of your aesthetic needs and goals.
Will a pregnancy reverse the results of tummy tuck?
Yes, and that is why Dr. Reagan recommends that women wait until the final pregnancy before doing the procedure. Pregnancy puts a great deal of strain on the abdomen, and muscles that have been repaired in an abdominoplasty may once again separate.
Similarly, women or men who gain substantial weight in the future may see a recurrence of the issues that led them to choose tummy tuck.
Barring future pregnancies and dramatic weight gain, your tummy tuck should not need to be repeated to maintain your smooth and fit profile.
How soon after a C-section can I have tummy tuck?
Dr. Reagan recommends waiting about three months for women who are not nursing. This allows time for the uterus to regain its normal size and shape.
Will I retain my natural belly button?
Yes, although it may undergo some repositioning, depending on the amount of skin that needs to be removed.
The belly button is typically separated from the surrounding skin, then sewn back after muscles and skin are tightened.
In the case of a mini tummy tuck, the belly button is not separated or moved.
Are there other benefits of tummy tuck?
In addition to the benefit of increased self-confidence, there may be other positive side effects:
Tummy tuck appears to reduce the incidence of stress urinary incontinence and improve ventral and umbilical hernias.
A tighter abdomen also seems to be associated with improved posture and even better weight management.
For example, a study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found evidence of short- and long-term weight loss in women who underwent the procedure. Removal of fat cells appeared to alter the hormonal activity that governs appetite.