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Tummy Tuck

Tummy tuck surgery is a popular cosmetic procedure that many Newport Beach patients undergo to correct a variety of undesirable changes that occur following pregnancy and/or weight gain. Our Orange County and Newport Beach tummy tuck clients may have observed any one of the following undesirable changes:

  • Redundant abdominal skin
  • Protruding abdomen due to stretched out muscles
  • Unattractive skin texture and appearance especially surrounding the belly button (stretch marks)
  • Loss of feminine silhouette

The first goal of tummy tuck surgery is to correct the separated (ventral hernias) and weakened (attenuated) abdominal muscles that result in an abdominal profile that looks bloated. If you look like you are always bloated, you are not alone in desiring a taut and well-defined abdomen. Most people strive for this result through exercise and weight control. Unfortunately, diet and exercise won’t tighten stretched out abdominal musculature. In order to expose the abdominal muscles, the abdominal skin is undermined up to the rib cage following the release of the belly button stalk. The second goal of tummy tuck surgery is to remove redundant or stretch mark ridden skin. Tummy tuck surgery also referred to as abdominoplasty, is able to remove skin redundancy extending from the pubic region to above the belly button. Following tightening of the abdominal muscles and trimming of redundant skin, the abdominal skin is redraped and repaired in a layered fashion and the umbilicus is delivered and in-set called the neo-umbilicus.

Surgical details are described by the figures below.

Why should you choose Dr. Mowlavi for your tummy tuck surgery? Dr. Mowlavi is well regarded by the Orange community for his outstanding tummy tuck before and after results. Three considerations listed below allow Dr. Mowlavi to obtain superior tummy tuck before and after results for his Newport Beach abdominoplasty clients:

  • Recreating the female silhouette by taking into account the shape of the abdomen, not only from the front view (creating an hourglass shape), but also from the lateral view (creating a gentle “~” Tilde curve are critical to achieving superior tummy tuck before and after results. To create the hourglass shape, Dr. Mowlavi strategically minimizes undermining of the abdomen over the mid-lateral region which allows him to pull your waistline in when redraping your abdominal skin. In addition, Dr. Mowlavi uses liposuction to contour the flanks and love handles during tummy tuck surgery to further achieve the hourglass silhouette. On the lateral view, it is important to create the gentle “~” tilde curve to the abdominal outline. This relates to recreating an abdominal contour that is gently concave over the upper abdomen and gently convex over the lower abdomen. This is achieved by differential tightening of the abdominal muscles with greater tension placed above the umbilicus than below the umbilicus.

 

  • Mowlavi’s design of the “low” incision line tummy tuck surgery allows patients to avoid the step off deformity that Dr. Mowlavi frequently observes on referred, tummy tuck, revision patients. In addition, the "low" incision line optimizes capacity to wear undergarments and bikini bottoms without exposing surgical incision lines. Dr. Mowlavi’s “low” incision line provides tummy tuck patients several advantages that include a) well proportioned and lifted private part region by virtue of considering that the incision line placement creates a natural division between the abdomen and pubic region.

 

  • Mowlavi’s ‘innie” belly button is perhaps most sought out by Newport Beach Tummy Tuck patients. The “innie” belly button allows patients to wear a 2 piece bikini without being embarrassed by an operated looking belly button. In order to achieve these results, Dr. Mowlavi utilizes his proprietary and published Umbilicator which allows for precise identification and in-setting of the newly created umbilicus. Since Dr. Mowlavi is able to precisely locate the umbilical stalk, he is able to sew the stalk down to the abdominal wall prior to insetting which allows the new umbilical incision circle to be retracted in-ward and be hidden in the newly created umbilical shadow.

 

Abdominoplasty Surgical Overview

The incision for a full tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery involves a horizontally-oriented incision in the space between your pubic hairline and belly button.

Dr. Mowlavi determines the shape and length of your incision based on the amount of excess skin. Once your abdominal skin is lifted, your underlying weakened abdominal muscles are repaired. This incision is routinely reassessed intraoperatively and lowered depending on the dynamic of your abdominal skin dynamics to ensure that a “low” incision line is secured to optimize your outcome.

Tummy Tuck Orange County Plastic Surgeon, Arian Mowlavi, M.D. pulls down the upper abdominal skin like a window shade. He then removes the excess skin by trimming it and suturing the remaining skin together. At this point, Dr. Mowlavi re-evaluates his incision line position and placement prior to completing your incision line repair in order to ensure optimum tummy tuck results.

Dr. Mowlavi also creates a new opening for your belly button. Your new belly button is pushed through to the surface of the skin and then sutured into its new position. Our expert Newport Beach plastic surgeon will ensure aesthetically appealing belly button without an “operated” look.

Orange County Tummy Tuck Cost

The average cost of a tummy tuck ranges between $8,000 to $12,000 in Orange County. The cost of this procedure can vary depending on a plastic surgeon’s experience and his tummy tuck before and after outcomes. It is important to not only choose a surgeon who is board certified in plastic surgery but who is also a tummy tuck specialist. There are many cosmetic surgeons in Orange County offering tummy tuck surgery at discounted rates but they will fail to consistently provide excellent outcomes. It is important to choose a board certified plastic surgeon that demonstrates superior tummy tuck before and after photos. If you have had the luxury to view a botched tummy tuck surgery that looks deformed and operated in appearance, you will be convinced that the experience and expertise of the surgeon is well worth the added price of the abdominoplasty procedure. Dr. Mowlavi’s tummy tuck surgery cost is all inclusive and includes:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Anesthesia fee
  • Postsurgical compression garments

Your Tummy Tuck Consultation

When you schedule your tummy tuck consultation with Dr. Mowlavi, please prepare yourself to discuss the following with him:

  • Your surgical goals
  • Your medical conditions, drug allergies, and medical treatments
  • Any current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
  • Any previous surgeries

Orange County Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Mowlavi will also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • Take before photographs to individually show you his surgical plan
  • Discuss your various surgical options
  • Recommend a customized treatment individualized to you
  • Discuss the risks and potential side effects of abdominoplasty

Tummy Tuck Orange County Results

Dr. Mowlavi is well regarded for his consistently superior abdominoplasty outcomes. One of the secrets to successful body contouring involves having a strategically sound surgical design. For example, there is a subset of patients who may not demonstrate stretched out or thinned out abdominal muscles and who may have redundant poorly textured skin limited to the lower abdomen. These patients can benefit from a mini tummy tuck that is much less invasive than a full tummy tuck discussed above. The mini tummy tuck surgery is limited to a smaller wedge excision of redundant skin located just above the pubic region and avoids extensive undermining. The mini tummy tuck does have the advantage of requiring significantly less full recovery time of 1 to 2 weeks in comparison to the full tummy tuck recovery time of 2 to 4 weeks. In order to determine if you can get away with a mini tummy tuck or whether you need a full tummy tuck, we encourage you to make a complimentary consultation with Dr. Mowlavi at Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Institute.

The success and safety of your tummy tuck procedure will be ensured by enrolling and adhering into the Perfect Change program. The perfect change program is dedicated to ensuring a seamless abdominoplasty journey throughout the preoperative, operative, and postoperative phases. The perfect change program packet will be provided to you following your initial consultation with Dr. Mowlavi. It is important to judge tummy tuck before and after photos with a critical eye. Dr. Mowlavi prides himself on his attention to detail; his expertise and surgical skills are evident in his results. When you examine Dr. Mowlavi’s tummy tuck before and after photos please pay close attention to the following:

  • A well hidden “low” abdominal incision line.
  • The recreation of the female silhouette with a narrow waistline
  • The aesthetically pleasing "~"Tilde curve created by differential muscle plication
  • A natural looking “innie” belly button that can be exposed when wearing a swimsuit

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Mini Tummy Tuck surgery popular in women following pregnancy?

Women undergo several changes around their bellies during pregnancy that are undesirable. When the tummy expands to accommodate a growing baby, several unwanted changes are observed. First, the muscles covering the belly and overlying the internal organs expand and stretch around the baby. Following multiple pregnancies, the muscles may fail to shrink back to their pre-pregnancy state. This results in a bloated look that persists despite moms returning to their pre-pregnancy weight. In addition, women may notice stretch marks that extend up to and even around the belly button. Fortunatley, moms who have had 1 or 2 pregnancies only and whom have not gained excessive weight, may avoid the permanent stretching of the muscles and stretch marks extending above the belly button; a Mini tummy tuck is ideal for these moms who demonstrate minimal to moderate post-partum changes.

Can a Mini Tummy Tuck procedure be performed in women prior to pregnancy?

Women who haven’t had children may demonstrate changes of their tummies that mimic pregnancy if they experience weight gain. These changes result in increased fatty deposition of the abdomen and increased abdominal girth but avoidance of extensive stretch marks and permanent stretching of the tummy muscles.  These women ideal candidates for a mini tummy tuck surgery, which can address remove redundant skin. Mini tummy tuck is an ideal solution because it allows for improving abdominal contour without tightening abdominal muscles.

How is a Mini Tummy Tuck surgery performed?

A min tummy tuck involves making a low incision over the tummy which is positioned to fall below the bikini line. The length of the incision is chosen by the extent of redundant skin present. If there is redundant skin that extends to the flanks, i.e. the love handles, then the incision line must be made longer to get rid of the excess. Prior to making this incision, the entire abdomen is sculpted using high definition liposuction of the upper, middle, and lower abdomen. Next, the lower abdominal incision is completed and elevation of the redundant abdominal skin and fat is limited to below the belly button. Redundant lower abdominal skin is removed and the abdominal incision is repaired.

What is the difference between a tummy tuck and mini-tummy tuck surgery?

The key difference between these two procedures is limiting the surgical dissection of the abdomen which results in shorter surgical time, quicker recovery, minimal pain, and an improved incision line healing.

How is the belly button affected?

An advantage of the mini tummy tuck surgery is minimal manipulation of the belly button. First, since the dissection is limited to below the belly button, the belly button does not require to be released or remade. Second, by virtue of pulling the abdominal skin, the belly button shape is often improved from a more aged horizontally appearing shape to a more tightened vertical shape. Finally patients may notice transposition of their belly button by less than a centimeter inferiorly which creates an illusion of a youthful abdomen.

How do you make sure that the feminine “silhouette” is recreated?

Unfortunately, many surgeons perform this procedure without attention to recreating a feminine silhouette. Although this procedure involves elevating, redraping, and trimming the redundant belly fat and skin, the vector of pull when redraping the skin and limiting the degree of lateral skin elevation is critical to creating a feminine silhouette. Specifically, the vector of pull should be in a medial oblique direction rather than directly inferior. In addition, by minimizing the skin elevation laterally, the pull created when redraping the skin will pull in the flanks, i.e. love handles.

How can the lower belly incision scar thickness be minimized?

In order to optimize healing and minimize the inferior tummy surgical incision line, the redraped skin is repaired in a manner to eliminate unnecessary tension. First, by virtue of limiting undermining and removing redundant, the mini tummy tuck surgery minimizing post-surgical tension of the incision line closure and subsequent scars. Furthermore, a special stitch is performed of an internal “fascial” layer that is tough like a “tendon” which relieves the tension on the skin closure. By utilizing multiple layers to repair the trimmed and redraped skin, the surgical incision line healing is o ptimized. Finally, the suture utilized for the skin closure today is far superior to those utilized even in the past decade. The internal sutures that are utilized today are retained for approximately three months, thus allowing for near complete healing of the incision line prior to being absorbed. Furthermore, external glue and tape that are maintained for one month prior to being removed further enhance incision line healing. Finally, Intense Pulse lasers are utilized in our armamentarium to treat the surgical incision lines as early as 4 weeks following surgery after removal of the external tape and glue.

Patient Specific Questions:

Do I have to take 1 month off of work to have a mini tummy tuck surgery?

The traditional tummy tuck involves tightening the abdominal muscles which is most painful to the patient in the postoperative period. In contrast, the mini tummy tuck avoids tightening of the muscle, instead focusing on optimizing the contouring of the overlying skin and soft tissues.  The benefit of the standard mini tummy tuck is that you can recuperate within 1 to 2 weeks.

If I have had abdominal surgery can I be considered for a mini tummy tuck surgery?

Separation of the abdominal skin and underlying fat from the abdominal muscles is limited during mini tummy tuck surgery. As such, prior abdominal surgeries are typically not a contraindication to mini tummy tuck surgery. A physician evaluation can determine if a mini tummy tuck procedure would be jeopardized by prior abdominal scars.

Will I have any numbness following mini tummy tuck surgery?

Temporary sensory loss of the abdominal skin is a consequence of surgery requiring elevation of the skin and underlying fat from the abdominal muscles. This is because sensory nerves of the abdominal skin which travel around the torso within the muscle layers prior to penetrating the skin from beneath are disrupted during the skin elevation. Since undermining of the abdominal skin is limited during mini tummy tuck surgery, sensory loss is limited.

Will my silhouette be improved following mini tummy tuck surgery?

Liposuction of the lateral flanks is routinely performed during a mini tummy tuck procedure. Although the mini tummy tuck procedure results in narrowing of the mid waist due to the direction of skin redraping, the lower waist (love handles) are also liposuctioned to improve the silhouette of the torso.

Where and how wide will my abdominal incision scar be following mini tummy tuck surgery?

The mini tummy tuck abdominal incision is placed over the pubic area (or below previous C-section  incisions) and extends laterally following the bikini line. The placement of the incision may be altered by the presence of prior abdominal scars. Typically, patients are asked to wear their favorite underwear/bikini so that the incisions can be designed to be camouflaged underneath the garment. Scarring is avoided by minimizing the tension on the incision line; this is done by repairing  the incision line in multiple layers, including repair of the superficial fascial system. This fascia refers to a thin, yet tough layer that is found beneath the underlying skin which when reattached during the skin closure will reduce the tension on the skin incision. Reducing the tension on the skin incision will ultimately result in an aesthetically pleasing scar line.

Am I a good Candidate for mini tummy tuck surgery?

In order to determine if you are a good candidate, your mini tummy tuck consultation will require evaluation of several items. First, the surgeon must assess degree of skin redundancy or flaccidity. This will determined the extent of the lateral skin incisions and degree of skin and underlying fat undermining. Next, attention must be given to extent of stretch marks. When limited to below the belly button, then the patient is considered an ideal candidate for a mini tummy tuck. When the stretch marks extend above the belly button, then a standard tummy tuck is needed so that the belly button can be released so that the skin above it may be removed. Finally, the abdominal muscle must be evaluated to gauge not only the tone of the muscle but also to rule out any hernias (holes or defects in the muscle).  If the patient demonstrates poor abdominal tone or presence of a hernia, then a standard tummy tuck is needed to gain access to the muscles in order to repair/tighten the muscles.

What does mini tummy tuck surgery involve?

The mini tummy tuck procedure involves accurate marking of the abdominal area. While waiting in the preoperative area, the patient is asked to stand so that skin redundancy or flaccidity and areas of adiposity can be evaluated and the patient’s incision line can be marked. After induction of anesthesia, the entire abdomen is infiltrated with tumescent solution and liposuction performed; then, an abdominal incision is made down to the muscle, and the abdominal skin and underlying fat separated from the muscle all the way up to the belly button. The redundant skin is then redraped, trimmed, and repaired. A small drain is placed to remove any oozing of blood during the first week following surgery. Contour garments are fitted to the patient following surgery so that the new abdomen can mold to the desired aesthetic shape.

How do I plan my mini tummy tuck surgery?

On your initial visit, the surgeon will evaluate your health status, determine the amount of skin redundancy and excess adiposity, and check your blood work. If you are a smoker, then you should quit for 1 month prior to mini tummy tuck surgery in order to allow your body adequate time to rid itself of any residual nicotine. Nicotine in your system results in shutting off of small blood vessels which carry nutrients to the skin; this event could be detrimental to your mini tummy tuck surgery resulting in an abdominal wound requiring weeks to heal.

How do I prepare for mini tummy tuck surgery?

Since your surgery will require general anesthesia, you must take several precautions prior to surgery. First, you will have to avoid eating and drinking after midnight on the day before surgery. This precaution ensures that your stomach is clear of digested foods that could potentially be aspirated and contaminate your lungs during induction of anesthesia. Since you will have anesthetic medications administered throughout the case, you will remain groggy for some time and will require a ride to and from the surgery center if you decide not to commit to an overnight stay on the premises. You should choose a caretaker who is conscientious and can spend the first few nights with you. As an alternative, patients may choose to have their mini tummy tuck performed with an epidural which will minimize grogginess but still require caretaker supervision.

What results can I expect after mini tummy tuck surgery?

Following mini tummy tuck surgery, patients can expect an improved abdominal contour, a more curvaceous silhouette, and a flat and firm abdomen. As your swelling resolves and when you stop wearing your girdle, you will find yourself buying a whole new wardrobe to fit your trim figure.

Where will my mini tummy tuck surgery be performed?

Since your surgery will require general anesthesia and/or epidural anesthesia, it must be performed in an operating room that is part of a hospital institution or outpatient surgery center. Patients may also be operated on in an in-house office based operating room, but it is of utmost importance for patients to make sure that the office facility has been accredited by a surgical accreditation body such as AAAASF.

What type of anesthesia will be used for my mini tummy tuck surgery?

Since your surgery involves removal of significant amounts of skin, you will require general and/or epidural anesthesia. This is because skin possesses a large number of sensory nerves (pain fibers) that would be triggered during trimming of the redundant skin; general anesthesia ensures that you do not sense firing of pain fibers. Infrequently, an epidural anesthesia may be administered to provide numbness to the lower abdomen. This will minimize the general anesthesia administered and help you have a smoother postoperative recovery with lower propensity for nausea and vomiting.

What should I expect after mini tummy tuck surgery?

When you wake up from anesthesia, expect to find a tight garment around your abdomen. Expect to wear this girdle for approximately 1 to 2 weeks! Although you will feel significant tightness, you are encouraged to walk as soon as possible in order to minimize risk of developing blood clots in your legs. Your caretaker will show you how to take care of your single drain which will remove any blood/lymphatic fluid collection in the early postoperative period. These drains are removed usually by one week following surgery. After the first week, you will feel more energetic and desire to return to your routine daily activities.

When will I be able to return to work following mini tummy tuck surgery?

For patients who undergo a standard mini tummy tuck, expect to return to work as early as 1 to 2 weeks following surgery. As opposed to the standard tummy tuck surgery, the mini tummy tuck uses a shorter incision, less undermining, and avoids detaching the belly button, all of which result in a shorter recovery period.

Are there any side effects associated with mini tummy tuck surgery?

There are several side effects that have been associated with mini tummy tuck surgery and these include:

  • Numbness: Numbness is inevitable due to separation of the skin and underlying fat off of the abdominal muscles. Since the sensory nerves to the skin travel in the muscle layer prior to crossing over into the skin, they are unavoidably disrupted when elevating the skin and underlying fat off of the muscle. However, numbness following mini tummy tuck surgery is minimized as the undermining is limited to below the belly button.
  • Hypertrophic scar: Hypertrophic scar refers to the development of a thick scar in the skin. Degree of scarring is dependent on the tightness or tension along the incision line closure. Since degree of undermining and amount of tissue removal is limited during mini tummy tuck surgery, patients do not typically experience poor scarring.  In the even that scarring is observed several postoperative scar management treatments are available and these include: steroid injection, laser therapy, and silicone pressure therapy.

Are there any risks associated with mini tummy tuck surgery?

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may occur in the legs immediately following any surgery. DVT refers to the clotting off of leg veins which may result in compromised blood flow return from the legs; a more critical consequence may develop from this clot if it is dislodged and travels to the lungs causing a pulmonary emboli. Although rare, pulmonary emboli are the leading cause of death following surgery. DVT’s are avoided with routine use of pneumatic compression boots during surgery and encouraging patients to walk as soon as possible following surgery.
  • Hematoma: Hematoma refers to the accumulation of blood in the early postoperative period which pools into a pocket. Hematomas provide a perfect medium for harboring growth of bacteria. So if you have an infection anywhere in your body, the bacteria will travel through the blood stream and grow in the hematoma; this can lead to an infection as well as an open wound. In order to avoid a hematoma, a single drain is placed in surgery so that any fluid accumulation can be removed. Drains are usually kept in place for 1 week.
  • Seroma: Seroma formation refers to the accumulation of plasma fluid in pockets created by surgical elevation of the soft tissue and disruption of lymphatic vessels. This fluid accumulates due to a low blood count and protein deficiency both of which may be present in mini tummy tuck patients. This fluid can be a nuisance to patients requiring several aspirations in the office prior to their resolution. More importantly, these plasma fluid pockets may harbor bacterial growth and result in a clinical infection. A single drain which is placed in surgery is very effective in preventing seroma formation.
  • Infection: An infection can occur after mini tummy tuck surgery. The infection will disrupt the incision line and may leave the patient with an open wound. Prolonged antibiotics are required to fight the infection and to prevent further extension of the infection. Infections are usually avoided by using a single drain which will prevent hematoma formation. In addition, infections are less likely in patients who don’t smoke cigarettes or in patients who quit smoking for at least 1 month prior to surgery.
  • Skin edge death/open wound: The skin incision can be disrupted if the skin edge dies or if there is local infection. This complication is best avoided by counseling patients on the terrible consequences of nicotine in cigarettes. Nicotine will literally clog all the small vessels found in the skin which are critical for the healing of the skin edge. Mini tummy tuck patients are usually mandated to quit smoking for 1 month prior to surgery. In addition, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to the undesired sloughing of the skin. Diabetic patients are urged to be vigilant about controlling their blood sugar levels prior to surgery. If patients develop an open wound, they will require prolonged local wound care with frequent dressing changes. Unfortunately, any delays in healing of the skin edges will compromise your aesthetic outcome.
  • Asymmetry in abdominal contour can occur and is secondary to several factors including: 1)Uneven skin redundancy that is hopefully improved following redraping, trimming, and repair; 2)Stretch marks are areas of the skin which have lost their elasticity and are prone to re-stretching. The surgeon attempts to remove as much of the stretch marks as possible below the belly button. However, if there are stretch marks extend above the belly button, then a standard tummy tuck surgery is a better alternative for you. If stretch marks are left and they are uneven (more on one side than the other), this will result in asymmetric restretching of the skin and a resultant asymmetric contour. Asymmetry in contour can usually be repaired with a revision in the office.

HOW OUR PATIENTS FEEL ABOUT US:

Great doctor with great bedside manner

I came in with a lip laceration and Dr. Mowlavi's work was really meticulous. It was really quick to get in and he made me feel really comfortable about the procedure. My lip healed perfectly and I'm so happy with the results.

Self confidence improved!

Wonderful staff, love the doctor and James. I had a tummy tuck, and I feel good. I had good results, I can fit into jeans from before and my self esteem and self confidence is improved. I feel great when I wear tight clothes now!

Heaven sent

I don't know where to start. Dr Mowlavi and his team have been heaven sent for my family and I. I had three horrible breast surgeries done by a plastic surgeon in my town following ruptured implants I had put in as a teen. I came into him completely botched, scarred, and in pain. My breasts didn't look like breasts. I saw multiple plastic surgeons near and far and all of them were in shock w how I looked. One doctor said I was the worst case he had ever seen in his decades of experience. We knew I had to get surgery soon before things worsened. I was loosing hope hearing how my results were going to be because of the damage that was done. I was scared. Then we met Dr Mowlavi. He was so kind to us and he treated my family as if we were his own.

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