Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

If you’ve had children or lost a great deal of weight, your body has been through some big changes. Unfortunately, the abdominal area doesn’t always “bounce back” after pregnancy or weight loss, and you may be left with a sagging, protruding belly. Dr. Andrew Smith understands how frustrating this can be for many patients. He performs tummy tuck surgery in Orange County to repair weakened abdominal muscles and remove excess skin and fat and help his patients feel great their bodies. Dr. Smith offers numerous approaches to tummy tuck surgery, including the mini tummy tuck, and he’ll work with you to customize your procedure for maximum benefits.

In Orange County, a tummy tuck can help renew your midsection. Request a FREE surgical consultation or call our offices in Irvine and Corona at (949) 653-7000 to schedule your appointment. Dr. Smith is a board-certified plastic surgeon known for his warmth and integrity, as well as the amazing results he achieves for his clients.

What a Tummy Tuck Can Do for You

A tummy tuck, technically called abdominoplasty, helps Orange County patients attain a flat, slender abdomen and defined waist after pregnancy or weight loss. A tummy tuck may be a good choice if you:

  • Are at or near your ideal weight
  • Have excess skin and fat around the midsection
  • Have weakened abdominal muscles that cause the abdomen to protrude
  • Are not planning any future pregnancies

Dr. Smith will listen to your concerns and goals, then will suggest the best surgical technique for your tummy tuck surgery. He takes a comprehensive approach, addressing every detail so that your entire midsection looks great from all angles.

Your Surgery

Tummy Tuck DiagramOn the day of your surgery, board-certified anesthesiologists will administer general anesthesia for your comfort and safety. Most tummy tucks will require an incision across the lower bikini area between the pelvic bones. Dr. Smith will be sure to make the incision so that it is concealed by a bathing suit or underwear. During surgery, the lax abdominal muscles are tightened, restoring a narrower waist and flatter abdomen. Excess skin is trimmed away, and liposuction is often used to remove excess fat from the waist, abdomen and flanks. Dr. Smith reconstructs the navel to look attractive and natural.

Your Recovery and Beyond

Surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis at the Procedure Center of Irvine, just below Dr. Smith’s Irvine office. You will awake from your surgery with an abdominal binder, which is usually worn for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. Dr. Smith uses a technique of internal quilting sutures so typically no drains are required. It is important to keep your torso flexed for the first 1 to 2 weeks after surgery and to limit any strenuous activity during this time. Walking is beneficial as it helps you feel better and helps maintain leg circulation. Most patients take 10 to 14 days to recover from surgery before returning to work.

During your recovery, Dr. Smith and his entire team of caring, knowledgeable professionals are available around the clock to answer any and all questions. They will follow up with you on the evening of your surgery, the next day, and at regular intervals to monitor your progress. While you will notice dramatic improvement after 6 weeks, results from tummy tuck surgery will continue to emerge over the course of 6 months to 1 year.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know whether I need a tummy tuck or liposuction?

During tummy tuck surgery, I remove excess, stretched skin from the abdominal area and tighten abdominal muscles if they are loose or separated. I often combine liposuction with the tummy tuck, also called abdominoplasty, in my Orange County practice to sculpt areas such as the hips and waist. Patients who have been pregnant or undergone significant weight loss usually need a tummy tuck to return their abdominal area to a fit and youthful appearance.

Can I combine another procedure with a tummy tuck?

Yes, it’s not uncommon for Dr. Smith to combine tummy tuck surgery with liposuction, a breast procedure, or both. This is referred to as a Mommy Makeover because it is a popular choice for women whose bodies have changed after pregnancy.

Will I have a scar?

Any surgical procedure will leave a scar. When I perform abdominoplasty, I place the incision (which usually runs from hip to hip) low enough to be concealed by underwear and swimsuits. With a full tummy tuck, I conceal the second incision within the natural creases of the navel.

Can a tummy tuck help me get rid of stretch marks?

Because a tummy tuck removes loose, stretched out skin, any stretch marks on that skin will also be removed during the procedure. If you have a full tummy tuck, stretch marks above your belly button will most likely end up hidden below your underwear after the skin is tightened.

What’s the difference between a full tummy tuck and a mini tummy tuck?

A full tummy tuck removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area, both above and below the belly button; a mini tummy tuck focuses on the area below belly button. Either procedure may include repair of the abdominal muscles. A mini tummy tuck usually requires a shorter incision and recovery period than a full tummy tuck. In my experience, however, very few patients are good candidates for a mini tummy tuck.

I plan to lose 15 pounds. If I wait until after having a tummy tuck, will I end up with loose skin again?

It’s preferable to have a tummy tuck when you’re as close to your goal weight as possible. Depending on factors such as your age and the condition of your skin, it’s likely that losing 15 pounds will not reverse your improvements from a tummy tuck. However, if you become pregnant or gain a lot of weight after a tummy tuck, you will likely lose your improvements.

How much time should I plan to take off work?

Tummy tuck patients typically can return to less strenuous jobs, such as office work, and light activity within 10 to 14 days. After about 6 weeks, most patients have no restrictions on work or activity.

Will I have drains after surgery?

We are pleased to announce that we are now TissuGlu® Drain-Free Certified, and able to provide you with a drain-free tummy tuck experience. TissuGlu Surgical Adhesive is the first and only FDA-approved synthetic surgical adhesive approved for internal use. It creates a strong, secure bond between tissues, helping to facilitate natural healing so you can recover without drains. In a clinical study, those who had TissuGlu returned to everyday activities (showering, driving, returning to work) sooner without the discomfort, inconvenience, and scarring associated with drains.

TissuGlu® may reduce the need for drains after surgery. By using TissuGlu® instead of drains, you may:

  • Return to normal activities more quickly
  • Experience less discomfort and pain than when drains are used
  • Have fewer invasive treatments for fluid management. The results showed that 73% of TissuGlu® patients had no treatments after surgery. However, some patients did require additional invasive treatments including reinsertion of drains.

*TissuGlu® is an alternative to drains, however some patients still may need the placement of drains.