Tummy Tuck

Conveniently Located to Serve Houston, Katy, and The Woodlands.

Face and body images other than staff and patients of Dr. Rodriguez are stock models.
Las imágenes de la cara y el cuerpo que no sean del personal y los pacientes de la Dra, Rodríguez son modelos estándar

Loose skin and stubborn fat can accumulate at the abdomen. This is especially common after pregnancy and weight loss, but it can also happen to women and men due to genetics or simply over time.

The frustration of working out, exercising, and dieting but not seeing any improvement at the abdomen is all too common. Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising. After pregnancy or weight loss, the skin loosens and often does not recover or tighten back up because it has lost some elasticity.

For mothers, the abdominal skin has been stretched out for many months to accommodate a growing baby. This often results in the skin thinning permanently and becoming wrinkly and loose at the abdomen. Stretch marks can develop as well.

The abdominal muscles that run up and down the middle are called the rectus abdominis muscles. These are the “six pack” muscles of the abdomen. After weight fluctuation or pregnancy, these muscles can spread apart in the middle. This is called rectus diastasis which means the strong tissue between the rectus abdominis muscles (the fascia) has stretched, thinned out, and resulted in a separation between the edges of the muscles. It will not get better with all the sit-ups in the world. The problem is not with the muscle itself. The problem is with the fascia.

Commonly, patients feel like their core is weakened and their abdomen bulges outward despite maintaining a healthy weight. When rectus diastasis is quite severe, it can appear like a focal bulge at the middle of the abdomen, usually above the belly button.

What is aTummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) typically removes all the skin and fat between the belly button and the upper part of the mons (where the pubic hair is located). In many patients, this means that the extra roll of skin at the lower abdomen gets removed entirely. Any stretch marks between the belly button and the upper part of the mons will also be removed.

The rectus diastasis is corrected by stitching the rectus abdominis muscles back together in the middle. This helps cinch in the waist and prevent the bulging that may have been present at the abdomen before surgery.

The thickness of the tissue that remains at the abdomen and at the mons is addressed during surgery. These tissues are thinned carefully so that there is a smooth transition across the incision line and so the natural contours of the abdomen are more noticeable.

To significantly reduce post-op discomfort, Dr. Rodriguez injects a long-acting numbing medication called EXPAREL® into the abdominal tissue during tummy tuck surgery. This is a local anesthetic that provides relief for up to 72 hours after surgery and significantly reduces the amount of narcotic pain medication that may be needed after surgery.

The incision is stitched closed in several layers with close attention to detail. The deep layers of tissue are stitched down to the abdominal wall to ensure that the scar remains low and hidden under a swimsuit or underwear. The belly button is stitched in carefully through a small hole in the overlying skin.


Natural contours

Dr. Rodriguez uses progressive tension sutures in each tummy tuck case. These are internal stitches that help accentuate natural contours. Progressive tension sutures are done along the middle of the abdomen to recreate the look of the linea alba: the youthful indentation between the “six pack” muscles that gives a lean and athletic look to the abdomen.

Progressive tension sutures are also placed along the linea semilunaris on each side. This creates a slight indentation between the edge of the “six pack” muscles and the lateral abdominal muscles. The final effect of the progressive tension sutures is a more natural appearing contour to the abdomen.


Combination surgery

To optimize the result of a tummy tuck, Dr. Rodriguez frequently recommends combining this surgery with liposuction of the flanks to help accentuate the waist even further.

A tummy tuck can also be safely combined with a breast lift, breast augmentation, or breast lift with augmentation. A mommy makeover often involves a combination of a tummy tuck with surgery to rejuvenate the breasts.


No drains

The progressive tension sutures have the added benefit of collapsing down the space between underlying muscles and the overlying skin and soft tissue. This significantly reduces the amount of space where fluid can potentially collect and pool into a seroma.

For this reason, Dr. Rodriguez will likely not use a drain for your tummy tuck. The progressive tension suture technique eliminates the need for a drain in the vast majority of tummy tuck patients.


Youthful belly button

A common misconception is that a new belly button needs to be “made” with a tummy tuck. This is relatively rare in Dr. Rodriguez’s experience. Usually, Dr. Rodriguez makes a circular incision around the belly button. At its base, the belly button remains attached to your abdominal fascia (strong tissue between the rectus abdominis muscles) throughout the procedure.

After the extra skin from the abdomen is removed and the upper incision is pulled down to meet the lower incision, a small hole for the belly button is made in the middle. The belly button is then stitched into place with a special technique to give it a natural, deep contour that is more youthful in appearance.

am i a goodcandidate?

Both men and women who desire a rejuvenation of their abdominal appearance may be candidates for a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). You may be a candidate for a tummy tuck by Dr. Rodriguez if you are in the Houston area and:

  • RHave loose abdominal skin
  • RHave stubborn abdominal fat despite weight loss and exercise
  • RAre at a healthy weight
  • RHave rectus diastasis
  • RAre a non-smoker and do not use nicotine
  • RAre in good physical health
  • RAre close to your goal weight

tummy tuckrecovery

You may return home the same day of surgery but will need a caregiver to be with you.

You will need to plan for childcare, especially during the first 2 weeks after surgery. You should not be lifting anything over 5 lbs (including your baby!) during this early recovery period.

You will have a binder (like a girdle) around your abdomen that you will wear for at least 6 weeks after surgery. A special surgical tape is placed along the abdominal incision during surgery. This tape stays in place for about 3 weeks and does not need to be changed, making it easy for you and your caregiver after surgery.

It is extremely important to get out of bed at least once every 2 hours once you get home. This will help reduce your risk of blood clots and is an important part of your early recovery.

To avoid pulling on the stitches, you will walk in a slightly stooped posture, bent forward at the waist for the first 3-5 days after surgery. After that, you should gradually work on walking with a more normal, upright posture. By about a week after surgery, you should be walking fully upright.

You can gradually return to exercising about 6 weeks after surgery, but you should avoid sit-ups and crunches for 3 months after surgery.

EXPAREL® medicationbenefits

Dr. Rodriguez injects EXPAREL® medication during your tummy tuck surgery. It has many benefits for a smooth recovery:



Since the discomfort is minimized by EXPAREL® after surgery, you can get up to walking sooner. Walking frequently is important to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs.


Pain Control

After tummy tuck surgery, less pain is noted by patients who receive EXPAREL® in comparison to those who do not receive EXPAREL®. Many patients are fearful of a tummy tuck because of stories they have heard about post-op pain. EXPAREL® is game-changing for the tummy tuck recovery which is why Dr. Rodriguez includes it for all her tummy tuck patients.


More alert

Since you will rely less on narcotic medication for pain control, you will not be as drowsy. You will feel more alert, with better mental clarity.


Less nausea

Narcotic pain pills can upset your stomach. With EXPAREL®, fewer narcotic pain pills mean you are less likely to have issues with nausea and vomiting after surgery.


Fewer narcotics

Since the EXPAREL® offers some pain control for 72 hours after surgery, the amount of narcotic pain medication needed will be significantly reduced after surgery. It also reduces the amount of IV narcotic you need when you are waking up from general anesthesia.



EXPAREL® allows you to breathe deeply with less discomfort. This means that your lungs can fully expand with air which reduces the risk of atelectasis (when the tiny air sacs deflate or fill with fluid). Atelectasis can cause you to have fever or even pneumonia which is why prevention is key!



Activities like showering and putting on clothes are made much easier and more comfortable by having EXPAREL® injected during your tummy tuck. This allows you to get back into a normal routine sooner after surgery.


Less constipation

Narcotic pain pills can cause constipation. Minimizing the number of narcotic pills will help reduce your risk of having discomfort from constipation.

tummy tuckresults

Swelling of the abdomen after surgery is to be expected. This means that some of the more subtle contouring of the abdomen may not be visible for a few months after surgery. Some swelling may come and go for up to 6 months after surgery.

Dr. Rodriguez takes great care to minimize the amount of tension that is placed on the tummy tuck incision. This allows it to heal with a thinner scar.

Dr. Rodriguez places the tummy tuck scar in a low position so that it can be more easily hidden by underwear and swimsuits.

Starting about 3 weeks after surgery, silicone scar therapy is started to help soften the scar. As part of the normal healing process, the scar will likely look pink for several months after surgery. It takes a year for the scar to fully mature, though the pink color will start to fade much sooner than then. It is important to protect the scar from any sun exposure, as this can cause the scar to darken significantly.

contact Ustoday

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re interested in learning more about a Tummy Tuck. Our skilled team is dedicated to providing excellent cosmetic services to Houston and the surrounding area. We’re here to help you achieve a look that will help you feel more comfortable in your body.


During her fellowship, Dr. Rodriguez conducted a research study on progressive tension sutures in tummy tucks with leaders in the field.

She presented the findings at The Aesthetic Meeting: Residents & Fellows Forum (April 2021) and the Houston Society of Plastic Surgeons meeting (June 2021).

This has provided her with unique experience and insight into the benefits of progressive tension sutures and the optimal technique for placing them.


Dr. Rodriguez was invited to give updates on safety in body contouring surgery, including abdominoplasty, to other plastic surgeons from around the world.

Along with her colleagues, she presented safety protocols and research findings in Miami at The Aesthetic Meeting (May 2021).

Safety is always a top priority for Dr. Rodriguez. She constantly re-evaluates and refines her safety protocols for aesthetic surgery.


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beautiful young woman in white underwear and bra sitting on the floor

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