6 Questions to Ask During a Tummy Tuck Consultation

Woman at a tummy tuck consultation

Are you considering a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, in Rancho Cucamonga to tighten and sculpt your midsection? This transformative procedure removes excess skin and fat, reduces stretch marks, and provides a lifted, natural-looking belly button we call the Inland Innie™. A tummy tuck can also repair diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation), which offers cosmetic and medical benefits—such as supporting a more active lifestyle, reducing lower back pain, and decreasing urinary incontinence. 

A tummy tuck consultation is a very important part of the journey: it is an opportunity to sit down with your potential cosmetic surgeon to share your goals, hear their professional opinion, and then together develop a treatment plan that will safely transform your shape. 

To get the most out of your appointment, the surgeons at Inland Cosmetic Surgery are sharing 6 key questions you should ask during your abdominoplasty consultation, along with advice to help you get the very best tummy tuck results.

  1. Which tummy tuck procedure is right for me?
  2. What are the risks and complications of tummy tuck surgery?
  3. How should I prepare for tummy tuck surgery?
  4. How can I get the best tummy tuck results?
  5. Where will my tummy tuck scars be?
  6. When will I see tummy tuck results?

Which tummy tuck procedure is right for me?

Your Rancho Cucamonga tummy tuck should be personalized based on your unique anatomy to safely achieve your aesthetic goals—techniques range from minimally invasive correction of a lower belly “pooch” to highly transformative reshaping of the entire midsection. During your consultation, your tummy tuck surgeon should explain which of the following techniques will be ideal for addressing your concerns and achieving the natural-looking results you are seeking:

  • Mini tummy tuck is a good choice for patients who have a small amount of excess fat and skin below the belly button, but have good underlying muscle tone and need minimal or no muscle separation repair. The belly button is not disturbed with this technique and good candidates have a shorter scar and recovery period. 
  • Full tummy tuck is the most common tummy tuck technique; it removes skin and fat from the entire midsection and repairs diastasis recti. This technique also reduces stretch marks and improves the appearance of the belly button. A second incision is made around your belly button to provide a beautiful, natural-looking placement of the naval. This technique is often recommended for patients who have had children or have lost a moderate amount of weight.
  • Extended tummy tuck can help patients who have lost a significant amount of weight via diet & exercise or weight loss surgery. Good candidates for extended tummy tuck typically need abdominal muscle separation repair and have excess skin that extends beyond the hips bones; patients may also have loose skin in the thighs, pubic area, and other parts of the lower body. As with a fully tummy tuck, the belly button is revised and repositioned for a naturally lifted appearance. 

Additionally, liposuction is almost always employed during a tummy tuck procedure to help refine your new contours and reduce the chance of seroma development after surgery. Abdominoplasty can also be combined with breast surgery; the combination of tummy tuck with breast enhancement is often called a “mommy makeover.”  

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How to explain your tummy tuck goals 

Many patients aren’t sure how to articulate their goals during their tummy tuck consultation—they just know they want to see improvement in their midsection. To help you communicate what your aesthetic vision is, take some time to browse through before and after galleries with the goal of finding patients with similar anatomy to yours and who have results you’d like to achieve as well. 

Showing photos of results you like will go far in helping your surgeon understand your expectations and help them personalize your look to appear as natural as possible. Tip: Pay attention to the details in before and after photos: one of the keys to a completely natural-looking tummy tuck result is in the belly button

What are the risks and complications of tummy tuck surgery?

While it may be tempting to only focus on the positives—like how tummy tuck surgery will help you look and feel better, it is important to discuss any risks and complications with your surgeon. 

Tummy tuck risks and complications may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Seroma
  • Poor wound healing
  • Excessive scarring 
  • Skin and fat necrosis 
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia 

To minimize tummy tuck risks and complications, we recommend choosing a highly-experienced cosmetic surgeon who is a diplomate of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). Board certified specialty surgeons have typically had a year or more of fellowship training and are rigorously tested to further prove their expertise; you can also count on these doctors to utilize the most advanced techniques and equipment, and operate in an accredited surgical suite.

The importance of reviewing your medical history

The goal of reviewing your medical history is to minimize any potential complications and help you enjoy optimal results. It is in fact critical to your safety that you are completely honest and disclose all pertinent information, including:

  • Family medical history
  • Medications you take (or have recently)
  • Any recreational drugs you use
  • Past surgeries or procedures (even non-surgical procedures)
  • Your diet and exercise routine
  • Other habits like smoking or drinking

This information gives your surgeon a comprehensive understanding of your unique physiology and plays a crucial role in determining if you are a good candidate for an Inland Empire tummy tuck, and how your cosmetic surgeon can achieve the results you are looking for with the least amount of risk. 

How should I prepare for tummy tuck surgery?

To have a smooth recovery and enjoy beautiful, long-lasting tummy tuck results, it is critical to avoid substances that can negatively affect your outcome—as well as follow best practices afterward, including being proactive about nutrition and scar care. 

The best Rancho Cucamonga cosmetic surgeons will take plenty of time to go over a full list of pre-operative preparations and vital post-operative instructions with you; following is a preview of things they may suggest.

Planning ahead for tummy tuck surgery

Schedule your tummy tuck once you have maintained a healthy, stable weight you are happy with for at least 6 months; you should also be done having children. (Experiencing weight changes or pregnancy is safe after a tummy tuck, but can diminish your results.)

It’s absolutely critical to stop smoking/vaping at least 4 weeks before you plan to have surgery (and for at least 4 weeks after), to minimize the risks of complications and tissue damage. Beyond abstaining from smoking, be sure to strictly follow the list of medications and substances to avoid provided by your tummy tuck surgeon—you will see it includes things that are seemingly healthy, but which can thin the blood or interfere with healing processes (green tea is one example).

You will need help with transportation while you are on pain meds and limited in your movements: it is likely to be a few weeks before you are cleared to drive. If you have small children, you will also need to arrange for childcare support for up to 3 weeks, as you will not be able to lift anything over 5-10 lbs during that time. 

You will need to plan 4-8 weeks off of physically demanding jobs. If you work at a desk job, you can return to a normal routine more quickly, but even for those who work from home, at least one week off is typically required.

Before having surgery, make sure your space is ready to go: special pillows, entertainment, and loose clothing will all help ease the first week or two after surgery. Additionally, pick up any prescriptions your surgeon wants you to take during recovery. 

Lastly, you’ll help yourself heal more quickly if you nourish your body with plenty of plant-based foods and lean proteins that support your body’s recovery processes, so plan ahead for what you will eat after your surgery. (We suggest patients freeze meals in ready-to-reheat portions.)

A highly-qualified cosmetic surgeon and their medical care team will schedule postoperative appointments to monitor your recovery, answer your questions, and quickly identify and address any complications that may arise.

How can I get the best tummy tuck results?

After surgery, continue following all rules about substances and activities to avoid until your surgeon gives you the all-clear. Also, heed guidelines about nutrition: healthy food will help you avoid postoperative constipation and provide important micronutrients your body depends on for healing. Many of your cosmetic surgeon’s postoperative instructions will focus on scar care; rules may include avoiding certain positions to reduce strain on incision sites and applying specialized scar care creams. While you will be encouraged to engage in light activity during recovery, don’t overdo it: rigorous exercise will be prohibited for some time

Where will my tummy tuck scars be?

Most patients will have a horizontal scar between the hips, placed just above the pubic area. This allows your abdominoplasty scar to be easily concealed with underwear or a swimsuit—the length of the scar will vary based on the amount of skin that is removed. To ensure you are comfortable with the placement, you should ask your cosmetic surgeon to show you the position and length of the scar you would need to achieve the look you desire.

With the exception of a mini tummy tuck, you will also have an additional scar inconspicuously placed within your newly sculpted and repositioned belly button. This incision allows your surgeon to trim excess skin around the naval and create a new opening for your belly button to sit in a natural, youthful position. (Here at Inland Cosmetic in Rancho Cucamonga, we are so obsessed with creating beautiful belly buttons, we trademarked our Inland Innie™ technique!)

You can avoid unattractive tummy tuck scarring by diligently following all post-surgery instructions, not straining your incisions, and using proper scar care—including protecting healing scars from the sun. Here at our Inland Empire cosmetic surgery practice, we also employ a newly developed bandage that significantly reduces the appearance of tummy tuck scars. Be patient with your scar care regimen, surgical scars can take up to two years to fade to their final appearance.  

When will I see tummy tuck results?

The length of tummy tuck recovery is dependent on a number of factors, including your age, what tummy tuck technique was used, and your commitment to recovery guidelines. Typically, most patients are fully recovered and very satisfied with their results by around the 3 month mark. Because it takes time for residual swelling to subside and scars fade slowly, you will likely see further improvements for some time following surgery. 

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Your tummy tuck consultation at our Rancho Cucamonga cosmetic surgery practice

With these key questions in mind, we encourage you to schedule your free tummy tuck consultation with one of our expert cosmetic surgeons. Inland Cosmetic Surgery offers a comprehensive range of cosmetic surgery procedures, including body contouring surgeries, to help you achieve the shape you deserve. We look forward to meeting you, discussing your surgery goals, and collaborating with you on a treatment plan that will help you look and feel your very best. To book your appointment, call our practice at (909) 987-0899 or schedule online