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Young Woman Doing a Back Bend on the Beach

Flat bellies are associated with youth and beauty.

There are many ways to flatten a belly. Number one and two will always be diet and exercise, but Plastic Surgery can help when diet and exercise are not enough to accomplish your goals.

Tried and True Methods of Tummy Flattening

I review these options with patients every day in my Walnut Creek Plastic Surgery office. Most patients who have had children or have lost a significant amount of weight will benefit from Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck). On the other hand, sometimes a smaller procedure is enough to achieve the desired result. I am all for using the “smallest hammer” that will get the job done. Smaller procedures may have faster recoveries, take less time and cost less, but most importantly, they still need to get the job done. The most expensive procedure is the one that doesn’t work, even for half the price.


Liposuction is an option for round bellies with a firm muscular foundation and tight skin when the roundness is due to an accumulation of bulging, disproportionate fat. Liposuction works by sucking out the fat that exists between the muscle and the skin. It is very effective for removing weight from specific areas; however, Liposuction is limited by its mechanism. Despite the specific technique used (tumescent, laser, ultrasound or radiofrequency), liposuction is not an effective method for tightening the muscles or skin. In fact, loose skin may fold more when the supporting fat is removed; therefore, loose skin needs a procedure designed specifically to remove it.

Mini Tummy Tuck

The Mini Tummy Tuck is a compromise between liposuction and the traditional full tummy tuck. Unlike liposuction, mini tummy tucks remove loose skin and also tighten the abdominal muscles. Unlike a full tummy tuck; however, the mini tummy tuck cannot effectively tighten the skin and muscles above the belly button.

If your skin and muscle laxity is isolated to the region between your belly button and pubis, a mini tummy tuck may be right for you. It provides a safe and effective means of addressing the area with reduced recovery, cost and operating time.

Tummy Tuck

The Tummy Tuck is the gold standard for tummy tightening, equally satisfying for both patient and surgeon. Full tummy tucks, or abdominoplasty, can rejuvenate the most stretched out bellies with a three pronged approach that provides significant improvement by addressing the abdominal muscles, fat and skin. It is an outpatient procedure; however, I often keep my patients overnight for their comfort and safety.

Plus-Sized Tummy Tucks

For patients after massive weight loss with greater than the usual skin laxity a plus sized tummy tuck may be recommended. These include fleur-de-lis tummy tucks and lower body lifts.

Fleur-de-Lis Tummy Tucks include a vertical incision in the middle line to remove excess upper abdominal and mid abdominal skin that a full tummy tuck may not adequately tighten. Additional muscle tightening may also be incorporated when needed.

Lower Body Lifts are essentially tummy tucks that go all the way around the body. This is recommended when the skin folds over on the lower abdomen, sides and back. Lower body lifts are normally used after massive weight loss rather than after pregnancy or smaller amounts of weight loss.

Which Procedure is Right for My Belly?

You can learn a lot about each of these procedures on my web site by following the links supplied above. Numerous before and after pictures and videos are available on the procedure pages and on my Liposuction or Tummy Tuck page.

However, the most effective way to learn about these procedures, and to determine which approach is right for you, is via an in-person evaluation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. To schedule a comprehensive consultation appointment call (925) 943-6353. Your options will be discussed and explained in detail and your questions answered.

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