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A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, can be an essential step in your journey to a firm, fit, sculpted abdomen. Your abdomen may have been affected by aging, pregnancy, or weight fluctuations. Dr. Khalifeh is considered the most accomplished, board-certified plastic surgeons performing tummy tuck surgery.

Tummy Tuck Surgery in Washington, DC

Abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure often called a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck restores a firm, sculpted look to the abdomen. The surgery involves removing excess fat and skin from the lower abdomen, as well as tightening the underlying muscles for a natural-looking, youthful outcome. When under the care of Dr. Khalifeh, your surgery is custom-tailored to reflect your unique issues and the right procedure for you could be a mini tummy tuck, full tummy tuck, or a “belt lipectomy.”

Tummy Tuck

Dr. Khalifeh's Tummy Tuck Before & After Photos

Can Diet and Exercise Restore My Abdomen?

Exercise is essential for good health, both before and after surgery. For many people, dieting and exercise are unable to restore the abdomen, due to irreversible stretching of the skin and muscles. In these cases, a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) is the appropriate procedure to restore a firm, trim, youthful look to the abdomen.

Should I Have a Tummy Tuck?

If you struggle with any of the following, you are likely a good candidate for a surgical repair of your abdomen with a custom tummy tuck:

  • Excessive stretching of skin and muscle
  • Excess hanging skin after bariatric surgery or dramatic weight loss 
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Diastasis (split or stretched abdominal muscle structure)
  • Excess fat and tissue on the abdomen
  • An unsightly “tummy bulge"

How is a Tummy Tuck Performed?

A standard abdominoplasty surgery takes approximately two to three hours to perform. It is often combined with liposuction to produce a beautifully sculpted waistline. The surgery addresses the interface between the fat and the muscles, elevating the skin and fat off muscles in the pubic area, extending to the rib cage. The navel is left attached to the abdominal wall muscles.

The second step involves tightening the underlying muscles to create a firmer abdominal structure. The third step is the precise excision of excess skin and fat. The fourth step is a reapproximation of the skin, an advanced surgical technique to minimize scarring. A surgical drain is left in place to allow for the shedding of excess fluid during the early stages of healing. The final step involves the recreation of the umbilicus (relocating the belly button) placed in the perfect location at the lower-midpoint of your abdomen.

Take the time to review real-world “before and after” images of patients who have had tummy tuck surgery from Dr. Khalifeh. The first step in restoring a sculpted, firm abdomen is to schedule a private consultation.

What is the Recovery After a Tummy Tuck?

Recovering from a tummy tuck procedure requires patience, planning, and time. Click here for a detailed timeline of the recovery process.

What Scars Can Be Expected From a Tummy Tuck?

The scar from a tummy tuck abdominoplasty typically goes from hip bone to hip bone is placed low on the abdomen so they are invisible, even when wearing underwear or a swimsuit. Click here for a page about tummy tuck scarring.

Before & After Tummy Tuck in Washington DC

*Tummy Tuck Before and After Photo Disclaimer: there’s no guarantee of specific results and that the results can vary

What Are the Risks of a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is a surgery, and like all surgeries, has risks. A tummy tuck, when performed on a healthy, non-smoking patient, by a skilled, board-certified plastic surgeon, is a very safe procedure. The common risks include bleeding, infections, scarring at the incisions, seroma, hematoma, skin loss, sensation loss, and belly button necrosis. Major surgical risks include reactions to anesthesia, heart problems, lung problems, clots, arrhythmias, and some other more serious complications. Preoperative testing and a full medical evaluation is a crucial step in determining whether you are a safe candidate.

Planning tummy tuck surgery

Dr. Khalifeh will evaluate your medications, including blood thinners if you are planning on undergoing a tummy tuck in his practice. Your medications may need to be altered before your surgery to avoid the risk of excessive bleeding or deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the legs). The changes in medications will also be necessary if you are planning to undergo a mommy makeover, a series of procedures to restore your pre-baby body, typically including a tummy tuck.

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Smartlipo vs. a Tummy Tuck: Which is Right For Me?

Many women who have been left with excess fat on the abdomen after having children may consider Smartlipo, a minimally invasive form of liposuction. Smartlipo can produce beautiful results, but if you have excess stretched skin and tissue, Smartlipo alone cannot achieve the slimming, firming, restructuring outcome of tummy tuck surgery.

Dr. Khalifeh Plastic Surgery - Tummy Tuck Procedure Demonstration - Smartlipo

What is the difference between a body lift and a tummy tuck?

A body lift is a more extensive surgery, called a belt lipectomy or body lift, which will repair the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. A body lift is the appropriate procedure for those who have had a dramatic weight loss, either through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery, and have a larger quantity of excess skin, fat, and tissue.

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What anesthesia is administered for a tummy tuck?

A traditional tummy tuck procedure may be performed using intravenous sedation (twilight sedation) or general anesthesia, although general anesthesia is the most common form of anesthesia.

A belt lipectomy/body lift is performed in a hospital, under general anesthesia. Complete sedation is needed, no matter what form of tummy tuck procedure is being performed, to ensure the abdominal muscles remain relaxed during surgery. This allows Dr. Khalifeh to complete the tummy tuck procedure more quickly. However, Dr. Khalifeh may use local anesthesia on occasion when performing a mini tummy tuck procedure.

Hernia Repair and Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck may include an added abdominal wall procedure. Based on your needs, this may be possible. Dr. Khalifeh can perform a combination of a tummy tuck and hernia repair.

Am I a Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?

If you have at least one of the following conditions, you are likely an ideal candidate for a tummy tuck procedure:

  • Sagging or excess skin in the abdomen
  • Weakened or separated abdominal muscles
  • Excess fat on your abdomen

To be safe for surgery you should be:

  • In good general health
  • At ideal weight or at least weight stable (not gaining or trying to lose weight)
  • No future pregnancies planned

Preparing for a Tummy Tuck

Preparation for a tummy tuck requires:

  • Stop smoking for at least four weeks before your procedure
  • Maintain a stable weight for at least three months
  • Discontinue taking certain medications, herbal supplements and vitamins (i.e., blood thinners and aspirin) as directed by Dr. Khalifeh
  • Arrange for another adult to assist you during the first several days after surgery
  • Take two weeks off work
  • Arrange for transportation home after your surgery

Tummy Tuck Steps

The length and number of incisions Dr. Khalifeh makes depend on the procedure he is performing, whether a full tummy tuck, a mini tummy tuck, or a lower body lift. A mini tummy tuck only requires a small incision in the lower abdomen. This procedure is only appropriate for those with minor skin sagging and excess fat below the navel. A belt lipectomy tummy tuck requires a larger incision.

A traditional tummy tuck requires a single incision from one hipbone to the other. Dr. Khalifeh plans all tummy tuck incisions carefully to minimize scarring and ensure the surgical scar is discreet, hidden from view, even when wearing a swimsuit. If you have any questions about scarring, we invite you to speak with us about what to expect in a private consultation at our Washington DC office.

Naval sculpting and reattachment

The majority of tummy tuck surgeries require a repositioning of the navel. This leaves your abdomen looking more natural. A new navel may be sculpted, or the existing navel is relocated to the most attractive, natural position.

Tightening the abdominal muscles

As we age, our abdominal muscles become looser. During your tummy tuck procedure in Washington DC, Dr. Khalifeh will remove any pockets of excess fat. He will also remove extra skin and tighten lax abdominal muscles to create a firm, sculpted look. Loose or split abdominal muscles are repaired to create a toned, firm appearance, and the waistline is slimmed.

Removing stretch marks during tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)

If you have stretch marks, Dr. Khalifeh may be able to improve or even eliminate their appearance during the skin removal process of your tummy tuck procedure. Any of your stretch marks that are located a little below your navel can usually be removed. Many times, any remaining stretch marks will appear less prominent after your tummy tuck procedure.

Skin removal during tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty)

After the abdominal muscles are repaired and tightened, excess skin is removed. Dr. Khalifeh may use liposuction to remove excess fat before suturing the area.

Closing the incisions

Once your surgery is complete, Dr. Khalifeh will suture your incisions. A surgical drain will be placed to speed the healing process and limit any pain from fluid buildup under the skin. The surgical drain is typically removed about a week after your surgery the stitches within two weeks. Your abdomen will be protected with a compression garment to minimize bruising and swelling and support the tissues so they heal smoothly.

Tummy tuck recovery

Depending on the tummy tuck technique, the recovery time can range from one to four weeks.

  • You should expect some bruising and tenderness. You will need at least one week off work and may need longer.
  • You should avoid nicotine during your recovery period as it inhibits the healing process.
  • It takes up to three months to recover fully from your tummy tuck procedure.
  • Avoid any vigorous physical motions during healing.

Why choose Dr. Khalifeh for a tummy tuck?

Dr. Khalifeh is the ideal choice of a plastic surgeon for your tummy tuck because he has a proven track record with natural tummy tuck procedures. He has performed hundreds of complicated body contouring procedures for a wide roster of distinguished clients in the Washington DC area, including media personalities, celebrities, government officials, and other public figures—clients who demand natural-looking results that don’t betray signs of cosmetic work. 

Dr. Khalifeh treats each patient as an individual with their unique sets of goals and expectations. Instead of following through with a cookie-cutter treatment template, he understands your specific concerns and goals to curate a personalized treatment plan. He doesn’t aim to establish an arbitrary vision of universal aesthetics but rather provide the ideal aesthetic results as per your definition. If you want a lean, sculpted, and chiseled abdomen without worrying about unsightly scars or potential complications, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Khalifeh today.


Will I have scars after a tummy tuck?

Scarring is inevitable, but Dr. Khalifeh’s carefully planned incision locations will minimize the visibility of your surgical scars. At first, scars from your surgery will be visible and red; with proper scar healing, they will heal and become thin, silver lines.

Can a tummy tuck be performed at the same time as a hernia repair?

Tummy tucks, and related procedures such as panniculecotmies, can be sometimes combined with hernia surgeries. In some ways, the tummy tuck muscle tightening over a hernia can help reinforce the repair and make the hernia less likely to recur. For large hernias, we work with general surgeons who are experts in bowel surgery so that we protect the bowels during surgery and free up the bowels so we may stitch the hernia. Sometimes, an absorbable reinforcing bioengineered layer is used as well to provide extra strength during the repair. To undergo combined surgeries, you must be in good health, as it does prolong the duration of the surgery.

Will my health insurance pay for an abdominoplasty?

Health insurance does not cover a cosmetic abdominoplasty. In select cases, depending on your health history (with your primary care physician), some aspects of your surgery may be covered.

How long before I can return to my exercise program, or having sex?

You will need some patience, as you cannot return to exercise for four to six weeks, although you will likely feel well enough to return to work or social activities within seven to ten days. You will have to refrain from sex for about three to four weeks to ensure your incisions have fully healed.

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Contact us

If you are considering a tummy tuck, we urge you to meet with Dr. Marwan Khalifeh for a consultation. We look forward to meeting you and answering all your questions and concerns. You can call our office directly at (301) 244-0148 or schedule online.

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