Weight gained in the midsection is often the last (and most stubborn) to go. And even when you successfully lose this weight, you can end up with loose skin and weakened abdominal muscles. Women often face similar problems after multiple pregnancies. If you are approaching your ideal weight but find your midsection does not look the way you would like it to, you may be a candidate for a tummy tuck.

A tummy tuck, medically known as an abdominoplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure that involves removing excess skin and fat in the belly area and tightening the abdominal wall muscles to create a firmer and smoother midsection. Surgeons usually create an incision from hip to hip and sometimes another around the navel to lift and remove redundant skin and fat and repair the abdominal muscles. But there are different ways to perform a tummy tuck. Sometimes, it is done with a smaller incision or as part of other procedures, like a Mommy Makeover. Dr. Lowenstein will gladly discuss your options with you during your initial consultation.

If you are interested in this procedure and want to find out if you may be a good candidate, schedule a consultation at Montecito Plastic Surgery today or call us at 805-969-9004.

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When to Get a Tummy Tuck


Pregnancy can lead to stretched skin and weakened abdominal muscles. An abdominoplasty performed with a low abdominal incision can remove this skin while tightening the muscles. Patients with a diastasis (stretched connective tissue between the abdominal muscles) or an umbilical hernia can have these issues fixed as well. A small incision around the belly button is needed to keep it in its usual position. We may remove excess fat during this procedure, either with direct excision or liposuction.


A post-pregnancy bulge without stretched skin can be corrected with a tummy tuck. In these cases, you will not require tissue removal but may need to have the stretched-out muscles of the abdominal wall corrected. An abdominoplasty operation for such cases is quite similar to the one done where skin removal is required. The purpose of this type of abdominoplasty is not tissue removal but contouring of the abdominal region. If you have residual abdominal fat, we may also suggest liposuction or CoolSculpting.


People who lose a significant amount of weight are often left with loose and saggy skin in their abdominal region. These patients may require an abdominoplasty in addition to other procedures. Their problem may not just be an aesthetic one; the extra skin can cause discomfort and become irritated or infected. Unlike the abdominoplasty commonly done for women post-pregnancy, the technique used for weight loss patients involves the removal of much more tissue. Dr. Lowenstein can help improve the appearance, comfort and well-being of these patients.


A mini abdominoplasty may be recommended for people who are near their ideal weight but have a slight “pooch” in their lower abdomen that does not improve with diet or exercise. Usual candidates are mothers, but men can be candidates as well. The mini technique is similar to a traditional tummy tuck, with the difference being that no incision is made around the belly button. Instead, Dr. Lowenstein only makes a shorter incision above the pubic bone. The procedure removes excess skin in the lower belly area, and it may be combined with liposuction when needed.

Learn More About This Procedure


How long is the expected recovery after a tummy tuck?

Recovery from a tummy tuck takes about six weeks on average. This is an extensive procedure involving large areas of the body — sometimes including the muscles — so it is natural that it takes some time for the body to heal. You will need to avoid strenuous physical activity during this period and may need some assistance with day-to-day tasks in the first couple of days.

What type of dressings are used?

Tummy tuck patients wear a special compression dressing for the weeks following surgery to maximize healing, minimize swelling and provide comfort. While other padding and dressings are used immediately after surgery, they are removed in the first few postoperative days.

Will I require drains after a tummy tuck?

Dr. Lowenstein recommends using drains following such surgeries to minimize complications and speed up healing time. Special technical maneuvers are also used during surgery to prevent fluid collection and shorten the time needed for postoperative drainage.

What about the scars?

The length of the low, horizontal scar depends on the amount of skin removed. Dr. Lowenstein makes it a priority to minimize scarring with all his procedures. Scars are placed as low as possible, and in the majority of patients, healing of these scars results in faded narrow lines. The scar around the belly button is also well camouflaged. We may additionally utilize advanced scar therapy (embrace®) during postoperative care to minimize the appearance of scars.

Is a tummy tuck painful?

During your procedure, you will be administered general anesthesia and IV sedation and receive long-acting injectable pain medications to minimize discomfort. Following Dr. Lowenstein’s advice following surgery will also help you feel comfortable during your recovery.

How many sizes do you lose with a tummy tuck?

Many patients lose between two and three pant sizes after a tummy tuck, although some lose even more. How many sizes you will go down depends on how much tissue is removed and how well you recover.

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