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What is a Tummy Tuck?

A protruding abdomen as a result of weak abdominal muscles, weight gain or pregnancy is a condition that causes distress for many of our San Diego clients. This condition does not respond to diet or exercise, because the skin and underlying muscles have been stretched.

At the Esthetica Center for Cosmetic Surgery, we offer a remarkable procedure called the Tummy Tuck. Also called the "abdominoplasty," the tummy tuck has been designed to flatten a protruding belly by tightening the abdominal wall muscles and removing excess fatty tissue and skin. This is all performed by our highly trained, board-certified plastic surgeons.

What Are the Benefits of a Tummy Tuck?

The most rewarding change you will experience after a tummy tuck a flatter, firmer, tauter abdomen. The procedure also removes excess skin and fat that can remain after pregnancy, due to age or after dramatic weight loss. Your clothing will fit better, and you can feel confident revealing your abdomen in low cut pants, shorts, or swimsuits.

Am I a Candidate For a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss. The objective of the surgery is to improve the contour of the body by flattening and tightening the abdomen. Men and women who have loose, hanging skin in the lower abdomen who would like to have a flatter abdomen are excellent candidates for a tummy tuck.

Often this occurs after pregnancy and childbirth, but loose skin can also be the result of massive weight loss. You should be close to your ideal body weight and committed to maintaining your results through a healthy diet and regular exercise. If you are a smoker, you will need to stop smoking at least three weeks prior to your procedure, as smoking slows your body's ability to heal from surgery.

I had abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) done about a year and half ago. I absolutely LOVE my results! The staff is wonderful and friendly and always made me feel like a friend and not just a patient. Dr. Kouli is wonderful. He has a great personality and is a wonderful doctor. I will definitely go back to Esthetica's office for anymore procedures.

Lisa G.

How to Prepare For Your Tummy tuck

Prior to your tummy tuck, a complete medical history is taken to evaluate your general health. A careful examination is also conducted. Dr. Kouli will review realistic expectations with you. Photographs may be taken before and after surgery to evaluate the amount of improvement. The type of anesthesia to be used, the procedure, possible risks and complications, and prescribed medications will also be discussed.

Preoperative instructions may include the elimination of drugs that may result in excess bleeding, such as medications that contain aspirin. Antibiotics will be prescribed prior to surgery to prevent infection. You may also be advised to bathe with an antiseptic soap for several days prior to surgery.

After your San Diego Tummy Tuck Procedure

If drains are used, they will remain in place for 3 to 7 days until fluid levels decrease. The drains will be removed at a post-operative appointment.

Pain or discomfort from the surgery is controlled with oral medication. The garment will be worn for a period of four weeks. During this time, our Coronado patients are advised to refrain from heavy lifting, straining or over-activity.

Although patients are usually up and around the day of surgery, the cosmetic surgeon decides when normal activities may be resumed. This decision is based upon the extent of surgery and the patient’s progress. Bruising and swelling is normal around the treated area and should disappear within a few weeks. Scars from the procedure remain but will fade significantly in time.

Will I need someone to help me following my tummy tuck?

It's always a good idea to have someone who can assist you in the days following your tummy tuck. You will not be able to stand upright for several days. You should not lift heavy objects and will have a difficulty performing your usual daily tasks and the help will be welcome.

Tummy Tuck Recovery

As a tummy tuck involves sculpting of the muscles as well as removing excess skin and fatty tissue on the abdomen, your body needs extra time to heal. As the muscles in your lower abdomen are active in almost every motion your body makes, the recovery process can be a bit more involved than other surgical procedures.

Most patients find they are able to drive approximately one week following their procedure, provided they are no longer taking pain medication. You may be able to work from home during this stage of healing. You may return to work about two to three weeks following your procedure, although it may take a bit longer for your energy levels to return to normal.

Tummy Tuck Before & After Photos

Tummy Tuck FAQ

Is a tummy tuck painful?

In the past, tummy tucks were one of the more painful procedures in plastic surgery, especially when it involved repair of the abdominal muscles. Recent advancements in pain management have made recovery from a tummy tuck far easier to experience.

The development of long-lasting anesthesia allows the management of pain for up to three days following your surgery, with smaller doses of narcotic pain medication needed. These advanced medications make it possible for patients to get up and move sooner, encouraging your body's natural healing processes.

When will I see final results?

Your abdomen will be swollen following your tummy tuck, the body's natural response to surgery. While you will see an immediate difference in the shape and contours of your abdomen, the swelling will linger for several weeks following your procedure Over the course of the next six months, the swelling will continue to dissipate revealing your sculpted new body shape.

You should see your final results begin to emerge approximately six months following your tummy tuck, which will continue to improve over the next year.

Does insurance cover tummy tucks?

Most insurance companies do not pay for your tummy tuck if it is performed for cosmetic reasons. Some insurance companies will pay benefits if the patient has severe laxity of the abdominal wall with back pain and/or an umbilical or a ventral hernia. Each insurance carrier is different, and it is recommended that individuals check with their own agents to determine if there is coverage.

When will I be able to exercise?

Light activity such as walking or riding a stationary bike may be resumed approximately two to three weeks following your tummy tuck. More strenuous exercise should be avoided for approximately four to six weeks following your surgery.

What is the average cost of a tummy tuck in San Diego?

Like all surgical procedures, the cost of a tummy tuck may vary, based upon the extent of the surgery required, and the skills and expertise of the surgeon performing your procedure. The procedure may involve removing excess fat, tissue, and skin, along with tightening the underlying muscle structure if it appears to be split or loose.

Choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who uses the most advanced techniques in performing tummy tuck procedures is a critical point in your final result – you want your abdomen to appear firm, fit, and smooth. The cost of a custom tummy tuck, based upon the extent of the corrections needed, can range between $6,000 and $15,000.

Can a tummy tuck be combined with other procedures?

Absolutely! A tummy tuck may be combined with other procedures for comprehensive body rejuvenation. A “mommy makeover” is a procedure which lifts and restores the contours of a woman’s body following the changes associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.

What are the most common procedures performed with a tummy tuck?

In a mommy makeover, a tummy tuck is often combined with liposuction, breast lift and breast augmentation, laser skin resurfacing, cosmetic injectables, or other customized treatments for enhancement. Combining a tummy tuck with other procedures means you only have one recovery period so you can get back to your busy life as soon as possible.

Will my results be long-lasting?

Yes. Once you have removed excess skin and fat through a tummy tuck, that tissue will never again return to your body. It is, of course, necessary to maintain your new flat tummy with a healthy diet and exercise routine. If you gain weight following your surgery, it will impact your results. It is always important to maintain a healthy weight with a nutritious diet, along with regular exercise.

What should I look for in a surgeon for my tummy tuck?

The most important factor in the final appearance of your tummy tuck is selecting a highly-skilled, board-certified plastic surgeon who is known for achieving elegant, natural-looking results with body contouring. A tummy tuck is a custom surgical procedure which requires an artistic eye and great technical skill.

Why choose Esthetica of San Diego for a tummy tuck?

When you choose Esthetica of San Diego, you are choosing a practice which puts each patient’s unique needs first. We understand that every person who enters our facility is an individual and we do not use a one-size-fits-all approach. Our surgeons will carefully listen to your aesthetic vision for your body and advise you how we can help you achieve your goals.

Will a tummy tuck improve the appearance of stretch marks?

Yes! The appearance of unsightly stretch marks on your lower abdomen can affect your confidence and self-esteem. Depending on the location of the stretch marks on your belly, many of them may be completely removed in a tummy tuck.

By trimming away the skin on which the stretch marks appear, a tummy tuck can flatten your abdomen and improve the appearance of the skin on your abdomen in one procedure.

Dr. Kouli is known for providing among the best tummy tuck experience available. If you’re ready to achieve a flat and fit abdomen, please contact our office today and schedule a consultation for arguably the best tummy tuck San Diego has to offer.

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