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Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty, also called a tummy tuck, is a plastic surgery procedure performed in order to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen while tightening the abdominal muscles and repairing any weakness in the abdominal wall.

It is an operation that requires general anesthesia in an operating room and should only be performed by an experienced plastic surgeon. In Dr. Lowenstein’s hands, the abdominoplasty procedure often produces results that are dramatic and can create a significant improvement in lifestyle as well as body shape.

The abdominoplasty operation itself requires an incision in the lower abdomen as well as one around the umbilicus or belly button. Once the excess tissue is freed up from the underlying muscle, sutures may be used to tighten the muscle to aid in creating a more narrow and pleasing form. This also helps flatten your belly contour to maximize your result. After removal of the excess tissue, the wounds are closed and your belly button is delivered through a new opening in the appropriate spot on your tummy. Drains may or may not be used in this procedure depending on your particular circumstance.

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Am I a Good Candidate for the Surgery?

The ideal abdominoplasty candidate is not significantly overweight, but has at least skin excess if not some fatty excess in the abdominal region. Even thin women who have had children can often see an excess in the abdomen after their pregnancy has stretched the skin in this area. Patients who have had significant weigh loss often find an “apron” of excess tissue in the lower abdomen that is best addressed with an abdominoplasty.


What Should I Expect from my Consultation?

At your consultation you will meet with Dr. Lowenstein and his staff. Dr. Lowenstein will listen to your goals and examine your body. You will learn about the different options for your surgery and expectations for your postoperative outcome.

One of our Center’s patient care coordinators will then review logistical information including schedule options and financial arrangements in a pressure-free atmosphere. Ask your coordinator for a tour of the operating facilities if you would like to see where the surgery is performed. Your entire consultation should take about an hour.

What Should I Expect the Day of the Surgery?

Your surgery will take place in our Center’s state of the art AAASF accredited operating facility. You will be instructed to arrive about an hour before surgery begins, and you will meet with our nursing staff, our anesthesia provider, and Dr. Lowenstein prior to surgery. Dr. Lowenstein will place marks on your body to aid in the surgery. All questions will be answered to maximize your comfort and those who will be taking care of you after your surgery. Your care giver will be given specific written instructions and have plenty of time to review them during your procedure.

Once in the operating room, an IV will be placed and you will be given medication to help you relax further before falling off to sleep. The operation takes approximately 3 hours. While you are sleeping, our staff will have placed you into a compression garment, similar to a girdle, to aid in comfort and healing in the postoperative period. After your procedure you will be gently awakened and brought to the only private recovery room in Santa Barbara. Because of the tight nature of your torso following your tummy tuck, you will find yourself flexed at the hip, in a seated position as you awaken from anesthesia. The remainder of your stay with us that day will occur in the recovery room where you will enjoy a plush recliner and nursing attention to your every need. After a bit of further recovery, your care giver will be brought in to see you, review instructions, and take you home.

What is the Recovery Like?

Following a tummy tuck by Dr. Lowenstein, you will be asked to wear your compression garment for a few weeks to aid in healing. If you have drains, they will need to be attended a few times each day to measure their drainage, and will be removed when they drain less than 30 milliliters in a 24 hour period. You will find that in the early postoperative period, you will be a bit hunched over because of the new tightness at your belly region, but over the next few days you will find yourself standing straighter and taller. Most of your discomfort and/or pain will be well controlled by medications prescribed by Dr. Lowenstein. Additional prescriptions may include antibiotics and special medications to treat nausea in the rare instance that is an issue.

You will be asked to limit your physical activity for the few weeks following surgery. After 3-4 weeks you will be able to gradually increase your level of exercise and after 6 weeks you will be ok to do whatever activities you like with your new body form. It is likely that one of your first activities will need to be buying some new clothes that fit the slim new you. You should expect to return to work after 2-3 weeks depending on your job, and driving will be postponed until about this time as well.

What Can Be Done About the Scar?

Tummy Tucks are associated with a linear scar in the region of the incision, but our state of the art techniques for scar therapy using Embrace Scar Therapy have been effective in minimizing the appearance of scars after abdominoplasty procedures.

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Can a tummy tuck be done less invasively?

Sometimes women who want tummy tucks may be candidates for liposuction and skin tightening instead of the more invasive tummy tuck procedure. In patients who’s muscles are in good shape and have not been excessively stretched by pregnancy, the use of VASER liposuction along with J-PLASMA cool helium plasma can remove fat and shrink skin to provide an outstanding result with only small incisions and minimal recovery. To see if you are a candidate for this procedure, call 805-969-9004 for a consultation with Dr. Lowenstein.