Your Tummy Tuck Journey from A to Z

woman with flat stomach at the beach

Thinking about a tummy tuck? At our plastic surgery practice in San Diego, this procedure is one of the most transformative surgeries we perform. Whether you’re looking to get your body back after baby or putting the final touches on your weight loss success, a tummy tuck can make it happen.

With the right team on your side, the process from start to finish is as simple as A-B-C … really! In this post, we’re walking you through what to expect every step of the way, from A all the way down to Z.

Abdominoplasty: What Is It?

Step one is researching what a tummy tuck achieves and whether it’s right for you. An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a body contouring procedure that tightens loose skin and repairs stretched muscles to give your abdomen a flat, fit look. Sound like what you need? Let’s look at your next steps.

Being Ready for Surgery

When it comes to getting the best and longest-lasting results, it’s all about timing. It’s best to wait to get the surgery until you are finished having children and have maintained a stable body weight at or near your goal.

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

Next, it’s time to choose your surgeon. Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon with excellent before-and-after photos, plenty of body contouring experience, and glowing reviews. Then, go ahead and schedule a consultation.

Designing Your New Tummy

During your consultation, you and your surgeon will plan the specifics of your procedure and discuss other options, such as liposuction, that may help bring your dream abdomen to life.


It’s important to have realistic expectations for your results. We want to make sure you’re in a healthy mindset before we schedule you for the big day. Learn more about what that means in this blog post.


Your patient care coordinator will walk you through financing options and talk with you about what you can expect in terms of pricing, both in total and in an estimated monthly payment.

Getting Your Surgery Scheduled

It’s time to put your surgery on the books! If you’re not sure you want to schedule right away, take your time to think it over and give us a call whenever you’re ready.  

Having Patience

Now that your surgery date is in sight, one of the hardest parts of the process can be waiting for that day to arrive! It’ll be here before you know it—and you can use your time until then to get your mind and body ready for your transformation.

Ideas For Getting Prepped

The days and weeks before your tummy tuck are the perfect time to focus on eating healthy, sticking to your usual workout routine, and even setting up a “recovery nest” in your home complete with all the essentials you’ll need while recuperating. See a few suggestions in our plastic surgery recovery guide.

Just Say No to Smoking

Smoking increases your risk of complications such as blood clots, so you’ll need to quit at least a few weeks before your surgery.

Kicking Things Off With Pre-Op

Before your procedure, you’ll meet with a nurse for a pre-op visit to make sure you’re in good health. Your nurse will check all your vitals, take “before” photos, discuss risks and recovery with you, and possibly have you do some lab work to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.

Let’s Do This!

Today’s the day! You’ll arrive at our surgery center, have a check-in with your board-certified anesthesiologist, and head in for your procedure surrounded by a team of seasoned pros.

Making Incisions

Your surgeon will make your tummy tuck incision low on your abdomen from hip bone to hip bone. It’s a spot easily covered up by even the teeniest of bikinis.

No More Belly Pooch

During your surgery, your surgeon will remove excess loose skin, tighten the remaining skin, and, if necessary, repair separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) to create the flat, firm midsection of your dreams.

OR Accreditation

A quick note about our facility: Our surgical suite is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, so you can count on the highest standards of safety and preparedness.

Prepping You To Go Home

You will return home the day of your surgery in the care of a trusted loved one. You’ll need someone to drive you home from surgery and stay with you the first night. You can find transportation and overnight care info on our out-of-town patients page if you don’t have someone available to help.

Questions? Call Us!

We are your family here at LJC, and we want you to know you can reach out to us with any questions you have as you recuperate. Always call us in the rare case you have a fever or signs of an infection.


The first few days, expect to feel a little groggy and fatigued as your body bounces back from surgery. Focus on getting plenty of rest and limiting your activity to light, short walks to promote healthy circulation.

Sleeping Soundly

We recommend sleeping in a recliner or propping yourself up with plenty of pillows if you decide to sleep in a bed. Laying fully flat may stress your incisions, and staying in a reclined position makes it easier to stand up and move around.

Tight Skin

If your abdominal skin feels extra tight for the first week or so, you’re not alone. It’s normal to have some difficulty standing fully straight initially. As your skin heals, adapts, and stretches to your frame, you’ll be up and feeling normal again in no time.

Usual Activities

Most people find they can return to work and their usual activities after about 10 days, though you may need closer to 2 or 3 weeks to feel fully at your best.

Visiting for Post-Op

We’ll typically see you back for a follow-up appointment around week 1 or 2 to assess your healing and tend to any dressings or drains as needed.

Working Out

After 3 weeks, you’ll likely feel comfortable gradually resuming gentle cardio and other light workouts. However, you’ll need your surgeon’s clearance to return to weightlifting and intense core exercises. This typically happens after about 6 weeks.

X-Ing Out Scars

Although your scar will be well hidden low on your abdomen, you will likely notice it appearing red or raised for the first few weeks. With the scar care routine we’ll share with you, your scars should fade to thin, light, inconspicuous lines over the next several months.

Your Dream Becomes Real

You’re back to work, the gym, and all your usual activities, but now you have a flat abdomen you love and a newfound sense of confidence. It’s time to take your “after” photos and show the world the brand new you. (See real-life transformations in our before-and-after photo gallery!)

Zest For Life

Over the years, we’ve seen firsthand just how life-changing tummy tucks can be for the right candidates. If you’re dreaming of stepping out and taking on the world with confidence like never before, we’d love to make it happen for you!

You deserve the best tummy tuck surgeon in San Diego, and as the city’s most awarded aesthetic team, we’re up to the challenge! Please request a consultation online or call (858) 452-1981 to get started.