Flatten Your Belly with an Abdominoplasty in the Los Angeles Area
When abdominal muscles and skin have been stretched by pregnancy, weight fluctuation, or aging, it is nearly impossible to regain a taut midsection—at least with exercise and diet alone. An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, at our Los Angeles-area practice in Palm Desert is an ideal solution for men and women who have poor muscle tone or excess skin in the abdominal area.
Cosmetic Surgery Institute takes a two-step approach to tummy tuck surgery: We combine liposuction for fat removal with surgical techniques for tightening the muscles and eliminating excess skin. This method results in firmer body contours and a flatter torso.
Are You a Candidate for Tummy Tuck?
We work with each patient as an individual, starting with a consultation to determine which treatment, procedure, or combination of efforts would be best.
Good tummy tuck candidates are women and men whose lack of a flat belly is caused primarily by lax skin—often the result of pregnancy, rapid weight loss, or age. The procedure can involve fat reduction, but abdominoplasty patients should be at or very near their ideal weight—and able to maintain that weight long term—at the time of the surgery. This is because future weight fluctuations can alter the cosmetic results of a tummy tuck.
Candidates should also be in general good health, both physically and mentally. Anyone with a pre-existing condition that could impact their tummy tuck procedure will be advised to choose a different approach.
What Does a Tummy Tuck Address?
There are three physical issues abdominoplasty surgery can focus on: excess belly skin, isolated pockets of unwanted fat, and abdominal muscles that have separated due to being pushed apart by a growing baby or weight gain. The surgery may focus on any or all of these elements, depending on the patient.
Information on Weight Loss
Adults typically have a fixed number of fat cells, which change in size but not number when weight is gained or lost. This is one of the reasons why it is not really possible to target a specific area with weight-loss efforts—a reality that patients with a flabby or bulging belly know all too well.
Even in cases where weight loss is successful, the overlying skin does not always contract to conform to the new contours. Like a stretched-out shirt, belly skin can hang loose and sag instead of creating a slim and sleek line. This problem is more common for people who have gained and lost weight very rapidly, because the skin can't "keep up" with the body's contour changes. It also more frequently impacts aging skin that has lost its elasticity.
Our Approach to Tummy Tuck
The Cosmetic Surgery Institute team understands the importance of addressing the body in an artistic manner. That's why our surgeons take great care to tailor every tummy tuck procedure to the patient's body type and use incision patterns that correlate with natural anatomical lines. With a combination of technical skill, strategic planning, and artistic vision, our surgeons can achieve highly individualized results for every body shape.
There are three basic types of tummy tucks: mini, traditional, and extended.
Mini Tummy Tuck
The mini tummy tuck procedure requires only short incisions and is best for individuals who are physically fit but may have a small amount of excess skin or fatty deposits in their lower abdomen.
Traditional Tummy Tuck
A traditional tummy tuck, the most common approach, involves an incision that runs between the pelvic bones and removes a larger amount of skin or fat from the midsection, in addition to repairing the abdominal muscles. There may also be an incision around the belly button. This procedure is typically beneficial for people who have lost weight or women who have had children.
Extended Tummy Tuck
An extended tummy tuck corrects sagging skin in the abdomen as well as on the hips, sides (flanks), and lower back. This approach is generally recommended for people who have excess fat and skin in these areas, often after major weight loss due to bariatric surgery or successful lifestyle changes.
Because our doctors typically perform liposuction in addition to tummy tuck surgery, our patients enjoy an average weight loss of 10 to 20 pounds after their procedures. Removing the extra fat in addition to tightening the abdominal wall and removing excess skin enables our surgeons to sculpt a leaner, more attractive waistline and create dramatic results. Additionally, many of our patients have found that tightening the abdomen leaves the stomach less room to expand, so they feel fuller faster and lose more weight after their surgery.
Cosmetic Surgery Institute
At Cosmetic Surgery Institute of Palm Desert, we approach each patient with imagination and artistry in mind.
Our team of board-certified plastic surgeons and health care professionals offer the latest treatments for beauty and aesthetic enhancements in a safe, welcoming atmosphere.
Your Tummy Tuck Procedure
Your procedure will take place in the safety of our fully accredited, state-of-the-art facility. General anesthesia is usually recommended for this procedure, but local anesthesia with sedation may be appropriate for smaller-scale options.
The surgeon first places the incisions in the appropriate location based on your surgical plan. Skin and muscle are then separated, and fat reduction is performed using a very fine cannula. Our surgeons take their time in order to remove as much excess fatty tissue as possible. The muscle walls are tightened, and extra skin is removed to create a flattering contour. Finally, the belly button is repositioned to a natural location.
Once all of the desired changes are made, your surgeon will close the incisions.
We recommend that patients wear special compression garments after their surgery to minimize swelling and support the abdomen as it heals. In addition to prescribed painkillers, your surgeon may recommend natural anti-inflammatories such as arnica, bromelain, and turmeric to help alleviate bruising and swelling.
Staying mobile after tummy tuck surgery is important, because activity can decrease the risk of blood clots—but be careful not to overdo it. Any activity that increases your heart rate has the potential to worsen swelling and cause other complications. Take short, easy walks as soon as you feel ready, but avoid more rigorous exercise until your surgeon says it's OK. Most tummy tuck patients are able to return to work or their typical daily schedule within one to two weeks.
Hernia Treatment Alone or in Combination
We perform both tummy tuck surgery and hernia repair at Cosmetic Surgery Institute, and we can combine the procedures in most cases. Because hernia repair is typically considered a medically necessary procedure, we can bill if your insurance policy is a preferred provider organization that allows treatment by physicians outside of your network.
The tummy tuck, however, is rarely covered by medical insurance and therefore likely not covered. We can help you work with your insurance carrier to determine your specific coverage before deciding on any specific course of action.
More Options for Enhancing Your Look
Tummy tuck surgery is often a great complement to procedures such as a breast lift or breast augmentation. By making cosmetic adjustments to the entire torso, we can help you to maintain a look of proportion that looks natural.
Many of our patients also benefit from laser treatments to reduce the appearance of surgical scars. During your consultation, you and your surgeon can discuss the potential benefit of adding another procedure to your tummy tuck.
Patients dealing with sagging and lax skin elsewhere on the body can consider Ultherapy® for nonsurgical tightening. Results are not as dramatic as a surgical facelift or neck lift, but the treatment can induce collagen growth for better-defined contours and smoother skin on the face, neck, and décolletage.