Abdominoplasty – Houston Tummy Tuck

What Is Abdominoplasty?

Abdominoplasty - Houston Tummy TuckAbdominoplasty, commonly called a tummy tuck, has two goals: to restore and reposition separated, weakened stomach muscles; and to remove excess, sagging skin across the abdomen. The end result is a flatter, smoother, more contoured abdomen.

Am I a Good Candidate for Abdominoplasty?

You may be a good candidate for abdominoplasty if you have one or more of the following conditions:

  • excess or sagging abdominal skin
  • an abdomen that protrudes and is out of proportion to the rest of your body
  • abdominal muscles that have been separated and weakened
  • excess fatty tissue that is concentrated in your abdomen

If you plan to become pregnant or lose weight in the future, you should discuss this with your plastic surgeon. Scarring from previous abdominal surgery may limit the results of your abdominoplasty.

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What Should I Expect at My Tummy Tuck Consultation?

Dr. Barrera may examine your abdomen while you are standing as well as lying down. Your skin tone and the degree of loose skin in the abdominal region will be assessed. Dr. Barrera also will evaluate the amount of excess fat in your abdomen and the condition of your abdominal muscles.

You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions, drug allergies, medical treatments you have received, pregnancies, previous surgeries, and medications that you currently take. It is important for you to provide complete information.

What Are the Benefits of a Tummy Tuck?

A stomach pooch is not unusual — just about everyone has some degree of one. For women who have had children, it’s almost inevitable, as the localized weight gain of pregnancy stretches the skin to a degree that it is unable to return to its former degree of tautness. The result? A stomach pooch that is almost impossible to remove with an exercise — the skin and underlying tissues are simply too stretched. Pregnancy can actually separate the muscles that cover the center of the abdomen, moving them to the outside, further exacerbating the pooch. Even if you haven’t had children, developing a pooch as we age is typical. This is due to the natural slackening of tissues that comes with aging.

The question is: what’s the value of a slimmer, tighter stomach contour without the sagging pooch? By removing this sagging skin and tightening up separated stomach muscles, a tummy tuck with Dr. Barrera can really change the way you see yourself when wearing a swimsuit or workout clothes. No longer will you feel the need to cover up your tummy. And you’ll like what you see every morning when you get out of the shower and look in the mirror. This procedure can definitely change your body image.

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Abdominoplasty - Houston Tummy Tuck
Abdominoplasty - Houston Tummy Tuck

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Are There Different Types of Tummy Tucks?

There are three types of tummy tucks: full, mini, and extended. Here are the differences between them:

Full tummy tuck 

A full tuck involves two incisions, one stretching from hipbone to hipbone, and a second incision around the navel area. A full tummy tuck removes sagging skin both above the navel and from the navel down to the pubic area.

Mini tummy tuck

A mini tuck usually only requires the single lower incision. The length of this incision varies depending on the degree of loose skin. Mini tummy tucks are good for patients with less overall sagging who still have a small pooch in the center of their lower abdomen. These patients still need to have good elasticity in this skin.

Extended tummy tuck 

An extended tummy tuck also targets the flanks. It basically is a full tummy tuck, but the lower incision stretches past the hipbones all the way out to the sides of the hips. This incision can even slightly advance around the side of the flanks.

How is an Abdominoplasty Procedure Performed?

As noted above, there are different methods Dr. Barrera can use when performing these procedures. As he does with all surgeries, Dr. Barrera will address your unique situation and adapt his methods to fit your needs. During your consultation, the two of you will discuss your goals, and Dr. Barrera will be able to give you a good idea of what he’ll do with your procedure.

Here Is a Basic Description of What Is Involved:

Full Tummy Tuck

In a full tummy tuck, a horizontal incision is made to address the lower abdomen below the navel. The goal is for the scar from the incision to be covered by a bikini bottom or underwear, so the incision will start at the hipbones and descend downward to the top of the pubic area.

The shape and length of the incision is dependent on the amount of excess skin involved. With full tummy tucks, Dr. Barrera will make a second incision at the belly button to remove excess skin on the upper abdomen.

This incision varies depending on the patient. After the incision(s) are made, the upper abdominal skin is pulled away from the muscle beneath. The underlying muscles are pulled together and stitched into place for a firmer abdomen and narrower waist. Fat pockets may be removed with minor liposuction at this point. The skin is then stretched downward and over the newly tightened muscles, excess skin is trimmed, and the navel may be moved to a new, natural position. The incisions are then closed.

Extended Tummy Tuck

For extended tummy tucks, the lower incision extends to the flanks and sometimes around the side of the hips. Again, there is variability here and Dr. Barrera will discuss what he thinks is necessary with you.

Mini Tummy Tuck

In a mini tummy tuck, the incision made is shorter and the skin is only lifted to the navel area and the navel remains in place. A mini tuck is ideal for patients who don’t have large amounts of loose skin, and whose muscle strength is still relatively strong.

What Are the Risks with Abdominoplasty?

Abdominoplasty is major surgery, so it entails all of the risks that are part of any surgery: Tummy tucks with Dr. Barrera are safe procedures and complications are rare. Infection less about  1 in  500 cases, Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus occasionally occur with general anesthesia, which is why Dr. Barrera does not use general anesthesia, he uses Sedation and local anesthesia, eliminating the risk of that this way.

Where are the Incisions Placed?


Generally, a horizontal incision is placed just within or above the pubic area. The length of the incision, which extends laterally toward the pelvic bones, depends largely on the amount of skin to be removed. The contour of this incision will vary somewhat according to the structure of your abdomen and the style of bathing suit or undergarments that you prefer. Dr. Barrera will try to keep the incision within your bathing suit lines, but this may not always be possible.

Some patients have loose skin above the navel. In such cases, Dr. Barrera may make a second incision around the navel so that the redundant skin above it can be pulled down. The excess abdominal skin is then removed. The position of the navel remains unchanged.

To tighten the abdominal wall, Dr. Barrera brings loose underlying tissue and muscle together with sutures. The skin of the lower abdomen that contains stretch marks may be removed as well. Any remaining stretch marks may be somewhat flattened and improved, but you should not expect a dramatic change in their appearance. Abdominal skin is pulled downward, and the excess is removed. A small opening is made to bring the navel through. The procedure may include tightening of the underlying abdominal muscles using sutures.

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What Are Some Variations to the Common Abdominoplasty Technique?

There are many variations both to the design of the incisions and the technique itself. In some instances, it may be possible to avoid an incision around the navel. When the amount of loose skin is minimal and the excess fat deposits are located below the navel, a short horizontal incision is all that is necessary. This procedure is called a partial, or “mini,” abdominoplasty.

Dr. Barrera will discuss with you the particular method that he recommends for achieving the best result in your particular case.

Does a Tummy Tuck Procedure Require Anesthesia?

Dr. Barrera performs all cosmetic surgery procedures including Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) at his Accredited Ambulatory Surgical Facility (AAAASF) under intravenous sedation and local anesthesia, without the need for general anesthesia (painless during the procedure and minimal pain afterward). This provides added safety and faster recovery.

For further information or questions do not hesitate to contact Dr. Barrera and or his staff.

What Our Patients Have to Say

“Dr. Barrera is a knowledgeable plastic surgeon who keeps his patients’ best interests in mind during consultations. The staff is welcoming, and the office is clean and modern. I will continue to see Dr. Barrera in the future.”

“It’s only been 2 wks since my surgery but I am excited with the results. I can’t wait to see what I will really look like in about a month when the swelling subsides. I’m already a new person with new confidence. Dr. Barrera and his staff have been very professional and only wanted the best outcome for me.” – Christine S.

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Can I Combine Liposuction with My Tummy Tuck?

Dr. Barrera often uses some amount of liposuction to remove areas of fat in these procedures. But you can also choose to have him perform liposuction on your upper thighs or lower buttocks at the same time as your abdominoplasty is being performed. That way you have just a single recovery, rather than two.

What Will My Recovery from Abdominoplasty Be Like?

Abdominoplasty is a major surgery involving large incisions and extensive tissue repositioning use to be a very painful operation, however with Dr. Barrera, at the end of the surgery will use Exparel (a long-acting local anesthetic)  which will allow you to go home the same day or Local hotel if you are from out of town with minimal to no pain.

  It will help your healing process if you take three to four short walks for just a few minutes daily. In the beginning, you’ll be a little hunched over, and the skin on your abdomen will feel very tight. In full tucks, it’s likely Dr. Barrera will have placed drains to help reduce fluid buildup. These will be removed usually within the first week. We place you in compression garments with two purposes: to help minimize swelling and to help your skin adapt to its new slimmer contour.

You’ll likely be able to return to work in a week, but you may need longer. If you have a sedentary job, this will be easier than if you stand for portions of your job. There will be residual soreness; this will diminish within a couple of weeks, but it can come and go for a couple of months. Any strenuous exercise or lifting of any amount of weight will need to be put off for at least six weeks.

What Will My Results Be Like?

A tummy tuck with Dr. Barrera is a very satisfying procedure. It can be discouraging for a woman to not be able to get rid of her loose stomach after having children. Your new contour will be slimmer after this procedure. Your stomach muscles will be brought back together in the center if they have separated. Your loose skin will be gone. Your tummy will look as it did when you were young and your overall width can be slimmer. You’ll love your new tighter look.

Schedule A Consultation

If you’re interested in learning more about Tummy Tucks in Houston, TX, please contact us at (713) 468-5200 to schedule a consultation with our practice.