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Dr Tim Neavin
Surgery with Symmetry
Dr Tim Neavin

Tummy tuck Santa Barbara: Top Abdominoplasty Surgeon

As one of the top plastic surgeons in Santa Barbara, CA, Dr. Neavin continues to provide stunning tummy tuck results for his patients. A tummy tuck, also referred to as abdominoplasty, is a great option to remove excess skin or pudge below the tummy. This particularly is a problem for women after pregnancy when the muscles separate.

What is a Tummy Tuck?

An abdominoplasty, also called tummy tuck, refers to the removal of excess skin in the abdominal area. It is an aesthetic procedure that may also include muscle tightening and liposuction (fat removal) of the love handles or flanks. The idea of surgery is to improve the figure and slim the waist to achieve a toned stomach. It is a highly effective procedure and the results can be quite dramatic and improve self esteem. Many men and women who have a tummy tuck will find their new bodies as an impetus to exercise and improve their diet. For some, it is a start to a new you.

Benefits of an Abdominoplasty

A tummy tuck is often combined with liposuction to create a sculpted result. The great thing about this is the fat that has been removed through liposuction can be used for other procedures giving you a youthful appearance.

If you are suffering from a protruding abdomen or hanging belly, abdominoplasty surgery can reduce the appearance of a protruding belly dramatically. Patients will be happy to hear that the results after a tummy tuck are immediate. You can enjoy the perks of a sculpted abdomen without waiting months to see the results.

The muscles need to be surgically tightened through abdominoplasty to achieve the most natural, long-lasting results. In other cases, loss of skin elasticity, caused by age or weight fluctuation, can also be improved with tummy tuck surgery.

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Ideal Candidates for Tummy Tuck

The best candidates for abdominoplasty are men and women who are in relatively good physical shape and have reached their ideal weight but are bothered by a fat deposit or loose abdominal skin that has not responded to diet or exercise. Some women also find pregnancy stretches the muscles of the abdominal wall (called diastasis) and all the dieting and exercising in the world won’t help return the belly to its pre-pregnancy state and thus a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is the best possible solution for them. Candidates for this procedure also should have reasonable expectations and can accept the trade off of a surgical scar for a better figure.

Post Pregnancy

Women who are no longer planning any future pregnancies and have gone through a pregnancy or two will notice that pregnancy stretches the muscles of the abdominal wall; this is called diastasis. When this occurs, all the dieting and exercise in the world won’t help the belly to return to its pre-pregnancy state. Thus, they are excellent candidates for a tummy tuck  as they will achieve the look they are either striving for or had before their pregnancy.

Rapid Weight Loss

Candidates interested in a tummy tuck that intend to lose a lot of weight should always postpone their surgery to a later date. The best results are found in both men and woman who have had a stable weight for at minimum six months. It would not make sense for candidates to go through a major operation only to lose more weight after surgery and potentially have loose skin.

As you might be aware of, weight loss, and specifically rapid weight loss, can cause skin laxity. In addition, even after the excess bulge is removed, one can still gain weight after surgery. Fortunately, most people find the body transformation from an abdominoplasty encourages them incorporate physical activity into their daily routine and maintain a healthy diet to keep their positive results and avoid weight gain.

For candidates that have just gone through rapid weight loss and are experiencing loose skin under their belly or a small fat deposit by their waistline that simply won’t go away, a tummy tuck is a great solution. As we age, our skin loses elasticity, which creates an appearance that looks like a beach ball rather than a balloon due to the stretched skin. When you lose your firm skin tone, the only solution is abdominal skin removal.

For both men and women who lose a lot of weight quickly, the skin issue is not isolated to the belly. Candidates interested in a tummy tuck could combine the procedure with additional skin resection procedures (like body lift) to achieve a great transformation. Ultimately a consultation with Dr. Neavin will help determine the best plan for your tummy tuck and beyond.

Types of Tummy Tucks

There are several different types of tummy tuck surgeries.  They differ in the components they address and the complexity of the surgery.  In simple terms, there are:

Standard Abdominoplasty

Excess skin is excised and the muscles are tightened.  Liposuction is performed of the waist and often, the lower back. The belly button is recreated.

Mini Tuck

Only skin is excised. The tummy and belly button is not recreated. Muscles are not tightened. It also has a much smaller scar due to a shorter incision, usually in the range and size of a C-section scar. This is best suited for those with little skin laxity.

Extended Tummy Tuck

The incision from this tummy tuck is carried more laterally to the flank. This is a frequent necessity for men and women who have lost significant weight. In fact, the incision often is carried to the back side. This is called a body lift . Muscles are tightened and the belly button is recreated.

Fleur de Lis Tummy Tuck

This abdominoplasty addresses laxity in both vertical and horizontal vectors. Skin is removed in the shape of an upside down V from the sternum to pubis. The resultant incision looks like an inverted T. The fleur de lis abdominoplasty is reserved for men and women with significant skin excess. Many patients who lose massive weight will benefit from this surgery Muscles are often tightened and the belly button is recreated.

Floating Tummy Tuck

A floating tummy tuck refers to the fact that the belly button is not recreated. In patients with reasonably good skin but loose muscles, one option is to tighten the muscles with resection much (if any) skin. In these cases, the belly button may be relocated a little lower on the abdomen but there is no need to recreate it and add the additional scar.

Recovery & Downtime

The recovery process is similar to other plastic surgery procedures. Due to muscles being tightened during the tummy tuck surgery, patients should avoid any strenuous activity for at least 2 weeks. You should specifically refrain from any activity that requires the use of your abdominal muscles for at least 4 weeks.

After surgery, patients report some soreness for up to 3 days after their tummy tuck. They often will walk hunched over during this period. For the most part, pain associated post tummy tuck surgery can be controlled with pain medication. Abdominoplasty is almost always an outpatient procedure, meaning patients will go home the same day. However, if one prefers to stay overnight in a facility with a nurse, that can be arranged through the office.


When you meet with Dr. Neavin for your tummy tuck consultation, a complete medical history will be obtained that includes a full medication list. Because abdominoplasty surgery takes three to four hours to complete, it is important that you are in relatively good shape to ensure a safe procedure. Any ongoing medical conditions may have to be discussed with your primary care doctor for clearance.

Skin quality, as well as fat deposition, will be examined. Loose skin alone does not make one a good candidate for a tummy tuck. Sometimes, as in the case with massive weight loss patients, loose skin is circumferential (around the entire body), and thus addressing only the abdomen may create a patch-work like result. For some people that is satisfactory, but body lifting with skin excision in the love handles and lower back may yield a more powerful result over just a tummy tuck.

Dr. Neavin will also examine you for a hernia. Hernias can exist in many areas of the body, but as it relates to abdominoplasty, hernias of the abdomen (ventral) or belly button (umbilicus) may need to be repaired during the procedure.


The aim of a tummy tuck scar is to hide them inside the lines of common swimwear. Generally, the incisions are placed low enough to be concealed even in underwear. If there is a large resection of skin, there will need to be an incision (and scar) around the belly button. There are several techniques that plastic surgeons utilize to reduce scar exposure of the belly button. Dr. Neavin is an experienced surgeon when it comes to this procedure and takes great pride in this particular part of the tummy tuck operation and has his own technique to minimize scar visibility and create an attractive, slight depression to accentuate the center of the abdomen. All scars go through phases and begin to fade within months after your procedure. Darker-skinned individuals may have more visible scarring undergoing a tummy tuck than people with fairer skin. Dr. Neavin will discuss with you his thoughts on scarring based on the current condition of your skin and your scar history.


What are the risks of an abdominoplasty?

Tummy tucks are very safe procedures in qualified individuals. However, every surgery has risks that relate to anesthesia, the surgery itself, and post operatively. Anesthetic complications are exceptionally rare in the hands of qualified anesthesiologists. Before surgery, candidates will have blood work drawn and be cleared by a physician for surgery. Any medications that can interfere with surgery or healing that can be safely withheld temporarily will be evaluated with a physician.

The surgery itself is remote from any major vessels or nerves leaving major bleeding complications or nerve injury exceptionally rare. The most common complications include bleeding that may require a surgical intervention such as in the case of a hematoma, infection, healing problems, poor scars, and dissatisfaction with results.

To combat these potential unfavorable results, antibiotics should given both before, during, and after surgery; proper patient selection must be obeyed as well as the avoidance of surgery with those who smoke, and proper tension must be placed on the incision; patients must be counseled on scar location and potentinal; candidates must understand some of the limitations of a tummy tuck including the possibility of loose skin on the hips and flanks if those areas are not addressed surgically, the location of scars, and the potential depending on skin elasticity of to some degree some laxity to return months to years after surgery.

    Santa Barbara CA