The results achieved through abdominoplasty in San Francisco with Dr. Delgado are dramatic and long-lasting. Most patients find that a flatter and firmer abdomen boosts their esteem and makes them feel more confident in clothing.

Blonde woman laying in bed wearing a black bodysuit

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is designed to smooth and flatten the abdomen by excising excess skin and fat and tightening the abdominal wall. Liposuction is usually part of this procedure, as it can accentuate the waist and add definition to the abdomen. The abdominal bulge caused by pregnancy—diastasis recti—can also be repaired, pulling in the waist and providing a flatter contour of the abdomen. Additionally, San Francisco plastic surgeon Dr. Miguel Delgado offers the option of a waist enhancement technique that tightens additional musculature (the external oblique fascia) around the waist. This procedure trims and sculpts the waistline and can improve the shape of the upper buttocks as a bonus.

What Does a Tummy Tuck Involve?

Most women seeking a tummy tuck in San Francisco have gone through pregnancies and have completed their childbearing. These women have found that diet and exercise, while very beneficial, fall short of restoring the abdominal tautness and contours they enjoyed before their pregnancies. The surgery addresses concerns that cannot be achieved by any other means. An additional benefit is that some (but not all) stretch marks can be eliminated with the removal of the excess skin. The navel (belly button or umbilicus) is also remodeled due to the skin tightening procedure.

As most people seeking surgery are women whose bodies have been altered by their pregnancies, the term “Mommy Makeover” has been coined. A Mommy Makeover includes a tummy tuck accompanied by a breast lift or breast augmentation, as well as liposuction of areas such as the inner or outer thighs, flanks, and post iliac crests. In response to the popularity of this group of procedures, we have devoted an entire page of our website to the Mommy Makeover.

Who is a Good Candidate for Abdominoplasty?

A tummy tuck is appropriate for men and women who are in good health and have any combination of loose abdominal skin, excess abdominal fat, or lax abdominal musculature. A patient may be a candidate for a tummy tuck in Novato if he or she has any of the following:

  • Excess or loose, hanging abdominal skin—either from weight loss or pregnancy.
  • An abdomen that protrudes unnaturally and out of proportion to the rest of the body
  • An abdominal muscle compartment that has been weakened by pregnancy or aging
  • Excess fat that is concentrated beneath the abdominal skin

If a patient is planning to have more children, a standard tummy tuck that includes tightening of the abdominal muscle wall should not be done. However, it is safe to remove excess skin that can be present following significant weight loss.

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Before & After

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Other Tummy Tuck Options

Mini-Tummy Tuck

This technique requires a short incision at the pubic hairline, and the navel (belly button or umbilicus) is not altered. Abdominal liposuction can be performed with a mini-tummy tuck. This procedure is usually good for patients who with minimal skin laxity or mild to moderate abdominal fat. The best candidates for this procedure have very toned bodies with relatively low body fat content.

Traditional Liposuction

With firm skin and good muscle tone present, liposuction alone can sometimes yield satisfactory results. Liposuction can be used to improve the abdominal and waist contour. This is a good choice for women who plan to become pregnant in the future.

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Dr. Miguel Office background
Dr. Miguel Delgado

How to Prepare for Tummy Tuck Surgery

Scheduling a personal consultation with Dr. Delgado is the first step for a patient interested in tummy tuck surgery. This appointment can take place either at Dr. Delgado’s San Francisco office at 450 Sutter St., Suite 2433 or at his Marin County office at the Sutter Community Hospital campus, 165 Rowland Way, Suite 300. During this appointment, Dr. Delgado and the patient will discuss the patient’s concerns about his or her appearance. Digital photography and computer imaging are used to demonstrate the benefits one can expect to see in the physical anatomy after abdominoplasty and where the abdominal incisions will be located.

Finally, Dr. Delgado will do a physical examination to assess the quality of the abdominal skin, the location of any existing scars, the degree of excess fat, and the tone of the underlying musculature. Each patient will also receive a preoperative instruction booklet detailing preparations that should be made leading up to surgery. 


General anesthesia provided by a board-certified anesthesiologist is used for abdominoplasty surgery at Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center. An LMA (or laryngeal mask airway) is a state-of-the-art technique that allows the patient to breathe unassisted during the procedure. Short-acting anesthesia medications are given to maintain an adequate but light level of general anesthesia. This allows the patient to awaken very quickly at the end of the procedure. However, with a tummy tuck procedure, it is required that a short period of paralysis is performed so that the abdominal muscles can be adequately tightened. This, again, is a short-acting paralysis, which quickly wears off before the procedure is concluded. Unless the muscles are in a relaxed state, this cannot be adequately accomplished. The anesthesiologist manages the patient’s breathing during this short phase. For most of the procedure, however, the patient breathes on their own.

LIVE SURGERY | Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) | Tummy Tuck in San Francisco Part 3 OF 5

LIVE SURGERY | Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) | Tummy Tuck in San Francisco   Part 3 OF 5

The Tummy Tuck Procedure

Dr. Delgado performs tummy tuck procedures at his private surgery suite—Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center—situated on the campus of Sutter Marin County Community Hospital in Novato, CA. The proximity of the surgical suite to the hospital allows for optimal safety while also maximizing patient privacy.

Before anesthesia is administered and surgery begins, Dr. Delgado will use a special pen to illustrate a detailed procedural map on the abdominal area while the patient stands upright. Once this is complete, a board-certified anesthesiologist will dispense the anesthesia. The surgical aspect of treatment begins with a horizontal incision is strategically placed below or at the pubic hairline towards the hipbone. Today’s fashion has evolved to low-rise pants and dipping swimsuit lines, but Dr. Delgado can customize the placement of the incision to accommodate a patient’s lifestyle and clothing preferences. 

Through this incision, the fibrous component of the abdominal muscle wall can be tightened by lacing it centrally to achieve a flatter abdomen, much like lacing up a shoe will pull in and flatten the tongue of the shoe. This repairs the diastasis recti, the bulge that occurs from pregnancy. The procedure is essentially the application of a surgically installed corset. If waist enhancement is desired, Dr. Delgado will also tighten the external oblique musculature, to pull in the waist and accentuate that contour. Then, superficially, the skin is pulled downward, and after the excess skin is excised, the skin is sutured into position. The belly button maintains its vascularity but is excised around the perimeter, much like an apple core. It is then pulled through the skin to the new location. Skin with stretch marks may be entirely or partially excised depending on the location of the stretch mark scarring. Liposuction is used to improve the abdominal and waist contour. The abdomen is closed with two drains in place.

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Quill Sutures

Another great advancement in abdominoplasty is the use of Quill™ sutures. Dr. Delgado abandoned the use of the Insorb™ internal staple closure to the Quill barbed suture technique. The Quill suture is a suture that has one-way barbs on them. This is much like a fishhook that goes in and is difficult to pull out. The advantage is that the sutures are locked into place as they are applied, and no knots are required. This allows for an even tension closure with beautiful incisions. The Quill is also used for muscle repair closure. Dr. Delgado is very impressed with this new advancement for closure.


Dr. Delgado and staff are phenomenal! Dr. Delgado walked me through the process and helped put me at ease. I feel so fortunate for the comfort and warmth they provide me at each follow up visit.

— Minna D.

What Can I Expect Immediately After My Tummy Tuck?

Initial postoperative hours are spent in the recovery room with a Registered Nurse trained in post-anesthesia recovery. During this time, Dr. Delgado and the anesthesiologist will check on the patient’s status periodically. When fully alert and comfortable, he or she may go home with a responsible adult.

If it is the only surgical procedure a patient is having, they may go home the same day. A patient must have adequate help at home for the day of surgery, as he or she should not get out of bed unaccompanied for the first 24 hours. Due to the lingering effects of general anesthesia, a patient can become dizzy and fall unexpectedly during this period. Also, due to the discomfort of the surgery itself, a patient should have someone to prepare food and keep liquids easily accessible. It is good to have someone to remind the patient to take antibiotics and pain medications (or other medications) on time, as he or she may still be a little foggy from residual anesthesia or the pain medication itself. The Jackson-Pratt drains will need to be emptied twice a day or more, and it is helpful to be able to delegate this to a caretaker.

A 23-hour overnight stay at the Marin Cosmetic surgery center is often required, especially if other procedures are performed. This is a welcome option for many patients as it assures optimal management of pain and (although rare) nausea, provides licensed medical nurse supervision during the most critical postoperative and post-anesthesia period, and relieves the patient (and the family) of the chore of emptying the drains while he or she is most active. Dr. Delgado personally checks on overnight patients the following morning before discharging them to go home with a friend or family member.

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What is the Recovery Like After a Tummy Tuck?

Dr. Delgado encourages early ambulation to reduce swelling and promote blood circulation. The patient should avoid any strenuous activity, lifting, or bending.

The pain is described as moderate and is successfully controlled with pain medications and the EXPAREL pain injection. This usually improves significantly within three to seven days.

The drains will be removed at seven to ten days. This can be done at Dr. Delgado’s San Francisco office or his Marin County office. Bruising and swelling begin to dissipate at seven to ten days for most patients, and sutures are removed in approximately ten days. Sutures can be removed at either the San Francisco or the Marin County office.

There is a two-step compression garment system. The first abdominal compression garment is worn for approximately four to six weeks. After the drains are pulled, a secondary garment is placed, which is much more comfortable and easy to camouflage under clothing. A patient should be able to go back to work 10-14 days after surgery, although jobs demanding higher levels of physical activity may require a longer recovery period. It is strongly advised that a patient waits until six weeks after surgery to ensure adequate healing has taken place before he or she resumes any formal exercise. Scar management begins about six weeks after surgery. It generally takes at least six months to see the final results. By this time, most of the tightness and numbness will have resolved, and the incisions will typically begin to fade.

What Results Can I Expect From Tummy Tuck Surgery?

LIVE SURGERY | Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) |Tummy Tuck  Part 5 of 5  Before and After Photos

Tummy Tuck FAQs

Are there potential risks and complications?

What is the cost of a tummy tuck?

Is a non-surgical tummy tuck possible?

How long does the procedure take?

Will I be able to have children after abdominoplasty?

What should I look for when choosing a surgeon?

Are there potential risks and complications?

Like any surgical procedure, tummy tucks carry the risks of bleeding, infection, and blood clots, as well as potential anesthesia-related issues. However, the combination of Dr. Delgado and his team of licensed and credentialed professionals at Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center helps to minimize these risks significantly.

What is the cost of a tummy tuck?

The typical cost of tummy tuck surgery in Marin County is about $14,400, which includes Dr. Delgado’s professional fee, EXPAREL for pain control, the Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center fee, the anesthesiologist’s fee, the compression garments, and all follow-up care. The total expense may be more if other procedures are added, such as waist enhancement and additional liposuction. At the time of your consultation, you will be given a detailed estimate of all your surgery fees.

Is a non-surgical tummy tuck possible?

Non-surgical tummy tucks are a marketing ploy; if someone requires abdominoplasty, there is no replacement procedure. While there are non-surgical procedures that provide patient satisfaction for particular situations, not one is a non-invasive tummy tuck! Non-surgical treatment modalities such as these may be used to complement the outcome of tummy tuck surgery, but not as a substitute. During your consultation, Dr. Delgado can answer your questions about non-surgical options.

How long does the procedure take?

It takes approximately four and a half hours. Oftentimes, liposuction is done at the same time, which takes an additional hour or so. It also depends on if there is a waist-enhancement procedure performed, which takes more time as well.

Will I be able to have children after abdominoplasty?

We recommend that the childbearing years be completed. The internal tightening of the muscles could adversely affect a future pregnancy, and, therefore, pregnancy is highly discouraged following a tummy tuck. We do not recommend it.

What should I look for when choosing a surgeon?

It is essential to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This is the “Gold Standard” in the industry. Also, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery is essential. This will give you confidence that the surgeon is qualified. Next, look at the website for the before and after photos. Are there three to four pictures or 50–60? Do the results display the quality and artistic nature that you are seeking? Reviews tell you how happy patients are with the results and patient care, which can be most helpful.


165 Rowland Way, Suite #300 Novato, CA 94945


San Francisco

450 Sutter St #2433 San Francisco, CA 94108

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