What is a Tummy Tuck?

A Tummy tuck – also referred to as abdominoplasty – is a plastic surgery procedure to create a taut, well-contoured belly. The procedure involves tightening the underlying muscle structure, removing the excess skin and fat, and removing stubborn fat to create a fit, firm abdomen.

The abdomen is one of the most difficult areas to tone, as it has a high quantity of subcutaneous fat that conceals the muscle contours, and the muscle structure itself can become looser and unable to snap back and return to the firm, fit look of youth. 

Board-eligible plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Balinger performs one of the best tummy tucks in Houston and the surrounding Texas communities. He has seen the impact of a bulging tummy and how it affects feelings of self-confidence. Working with a team of experienced clinicians, Dr. Chris goes out of his way to ensure you feel comfortable, safe and cared for throughout your journey to a more attractive, flat, firm tummy. He uses state-of-the-art equipment and advanced surgical methods to achieve the best result while minimizing side effects such as visible scarring.

Average Cost

$5,700 - $12,500

Procedure Time

2-4 Hours

Recovery Time

2 Weeks


Not Covered

If you have a loose, flabby, or bulging abdomen, a tummy tuck is often the ideal surgery to resolve the condition – and restore your confidence! Dr. Balinger offers abdominoplasty for men and women in Houston, Conroe, and the surrounding areas of Texas.

Beauty by Balinger | Christopher Balinger MD

What are the Benefits of a Tummy Tuck?

The tummy tuck is a very popular procedure because there are extensive benefits:

  • A flattened, tighter, more attractive abdominal area
  • Surgically tightened muscles 
  • Up to 10 pounds of excess skin removed
  • A shaped and contoured stomach and waist 
  • A more supported back and abdomen
  • Reduced or eliminated stretch marks
  • Reduced stress on the stomach muscles
  • Reduced urinary incontinence
  • Improved posture

Am I a Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?

A custom tummy tuck performed by Dr. Balinger will remove excess skin and fat and strengthen weakened muscles to create a more sculpted, firm contour, free of the bulges caused by loose skin, stretch marks, and excess fatty tissues. There are several reasons why people choose to have a tummy tuck:

  • Pregnancy: A woman’s body goes through a remarkable set of changes during pregnancy, with the skin and muscle tissue stretching to accommodate the growing baby. After pregnancy, the abdominal muscles and skin may be unable to return to a pre-pregnancy firmness. Many women choose to have a tummy tuck to improve the appearance of stretched or split tummy muscles, along with sagging skin or fat.
  • Weight loss: Significant weight loss can result in stretched skin on the abdomen that cannot snap back. The accomplishment of finally losing excess weight, whether through diet and exercise or after bariatric surgery, may require the final step of removing excess skin and residual fat and tightening the underlying muscles.
  • Genetics: You may have inherited a genetic makeup that naturally predisposes you to have a frustrating, bulging midsection. You may have a hard time improving your abdominal appearance even with regular exercise and strict dieting. A tummy tuck may be a good solution. 

A tummy tuck is one of the top five cosmetic procedures, with immensely good patient satisfaction ratings. The key is to undergo the procedure with a talented plastic surgeon who employs the most advanced techniques – Dr. Christopher Balinger.

Dr. Balinger can tell you if you are a good candidate for abdominoplasty in Houston based on meeting the following conditions:

  • You are in good physical and emotional health
  • You have stubborn abdominal fat that has not responded to diet or exercise
  • You feel less confident due to the current appearance of your belly 
  • You have anterior abdominal wall muscles that are weakened or appear split
  • You understand the procedure and recovery and know what to expect in the final outcome

A tummy tuck is an individualized, custom procedure. Dr. Balinger feels that you should only undergo this surgery by your own choice, never because another person thinks you should.  The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has additional information if needed.

Before & After Tummy Tuck in Houston

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What to Expect From Your Tummy Tuck Consultation

In your initial consultation, Dr. Balinger will ask questions and review your medical history to learn more about your health. He will examine the condition of your abdomen, including the degree of skin laxity or the presence of stretch marks. Your first consultation, which is offered free of charge at Balinger’s office, provides you with the opportunity to learn more about what your surgery will entail and get answers to all of your questions and concerns.

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Should I get a Tummy Tuck or Liposuction?

You may be unsure whether your tummy issues can be resolved with a tummy tuck or liposuction. Both procedures work to remove excess fat. Liposuction, or “liposculpture,” removes excess fat from the abdominal area. This approach is most appropriate for people with excess belly fat who have good skin elasticity. A tummy tuck is a more holistic approach to thoroughly recontour the abdomen. If you have excess fat, loose skin, stretch marks on the lower abdomen, or weakened muscles, then you will need a tummy tuck to create the corrections you envision. If you feel unsure what option is best suited for you, Dr. Balinger will recommend the best course of action in a one-on-one, private consultation. 

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What are the Types of Tummy Tucks?

Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Balinger performs several tummy tuck techniques, with the approach chosen to match the individual’s condition.

Full tummy tuck

Also referred to as a complete tummy tuck, this surgical procedure is performed to recontour the abdominal area from hip bone to hip bone. It includes recontouring the skin, removing excess fat, and strengthening weakened muscle to create a tauter, firmer appearance to the abdomen. A full tummy tuck usually involves repositioning the belly button. During recovery, you may need drainage tubes for a few days after the procedure.

Extended tummy tuck

An extended tummy tuck is the most extensive tummy tuck surgery, appropriate for individuals who have a large quantity of loose, hanging skin. This approach may be required for people who are undergoing a tummy tuck after significant weight loss. The entire abdominal area is recontoured, reaching all the way to the hips. This approach leaves a longer scar when compared to the other types of tummy tuck surgery.

Mini tummy tuck

This is the least intensive type of tummy tuck, also called a “partial abdominoplasty.” This procedure may be most appropriate for those with stubborn fat deposits below the navel. A mini tummy tuck takes less than two hours to complete and does not include repositioning the belly button.

Which Type of Tummy Tuck Should I Get?

Dr. Christopher Balinger is uniquely trained to recommend the best type of tummy tuck for you. He can evaluate your individual condition, speak with you about the pros and cons of each procedure, and advise you of the surgery that will produce the best result for you.  See our article for more information on a traditional tummy tuck vs a mini tummy tuck.

What is the Procedure for a Tummy Tuck?

Tummy tuck surgery is an outpatient procedure performed at Dr. Balinger’s in-office operating suite or at an accredited surgical facility. This surgery is usually performed in three steps. The surgery may take between two to four hours, depending on the type of procedure performed. After the surgery, you rest in an observation room where Dr. Balinger’s team monitors your vitals before you are released to return home under the care of another adult.

1) Administer anesthesia

A board-certified anesthesiologist will administer either general anesthesia or intravenous sedation to ensure your comfort and safety throughout the treatment. Feel free to discuss the choice of anesthesia in your pre-op consultation visits.

2) Incision placed

An incision will be placed in the most appropriate pattern depending on the type of tummy tuck you need. Dr. Balinger takes extra care to minimize the size of the incision. Once this is done, excess skin will be removed, and weakened muscles strengthened.

3) Incisions closed

After all the desired contouring is complete, our tummy tuck surgeon will close the incision using surgical tape, sutures, clips, or adhesives. The area is then bandaged.

What is the Recovery Period After a Tummy Tuck?

Following a tummy tuck, you will need several weeks to recover. Surgery is traumatic in nature, and your body needs adequate time to heal. The duration of recovery varies from person to person, based on the extent of the approach as well as your rate of healing. You will be provided with a compression garment that must be worn as directed to help the tissues heal correctly. 

Dr. Balinger will ask you to move around as soon as you can to promote proper blood flow. Many patients experience bruising, swelling, and pain in the first week. You will have prescription pain medication to alleviate discomfort, as well as antibiotics to prevent infections. You can expect to resume normal activities after about two weeks. However, heavy lifting and strenuous exercise are prohibited until you get the green light from Dr. Balinger. Make sure to follow our post-op instructions to ensure a speedy recovery. Dr. Balinger’s office is available to answer your questions or and provide the support you need throughout the duration of your recovery.

See our guide on long-term maintenance after a tummy tuck.

Why choose Dr. Balinger for your tummy tuck

A tummy tuck is a major surgery with long-lasting results.  Dr. Christopher Balinger, MD, is one of the most talented surgeons to visit for a tummy tuck in Houston and has garnered a reputation for achieving excellent results.  His advanced surgical techniques, meticulous approach, and refined surgical approach produce superb results.  Dr. Balinger has advanced education and extensive experience in custom tummy tuck surgery. His hand-selected certified support team provides advanced health and safety protocols. For the best tummy tuck surgeon in Houston for a tummy tuck, we invite you to meet with Dr. Balinger for a free consultation. 

Beauty by Balinger | Christopher Balinger MD

Tummy Tuck FAQ

What is abdominal etching?

Abdominal etching is a type of liposuction that Dr. Balinger uses to remove fat in a manner that sculpts the abdominal fat to give the appearance of 'six-pack abs.' He specializes in the technique for both men and women.

How long will tummy tuck results last?

If you continue to follow your regular exercise regimen and eat right, the results of your abdominoplasty can last for several years. Aging, weight fluctuations, and pregnancy can shorten the longevity of abdominoplasty.

How long is the tummy tuck procedure?

The tummy tuck procedure takes 2-4 hours.

Will my tummy tuck be painful?

Most patients report that the pain is mild to moderate after a tummy tuck.

Is it okay to have a tummy tuck before having kids?

Yes, but a pregnancy can diminish the results, requiring a follow-up surgery.

What other procedures go well with a tummy tuck?

Many patients combine liposuction with their tummy tuck for even greater results. A tummy tuck is often a part of a mommy makeover, which usually includes breast augmentation and lift.

Will a tummy tuck remove stretch marks?

Yes. Any stretch marks in the lower abdominal area will be gone.

How much is a mini tummy tuck Houston?

A mini tummy tuck will run patients about $7,000 on average. However, this price will be affected by other factors, such as the extent of work being performed.

Is a tummy tuck ever covered by insurance?

Unfortunately, tummy tuck procedures are usually considered to be cosmetic or ‘elective,’ meaning that insurance companies will not cover them. If the patient has developed issues such as rashes or skin infections due to the chafing of skin, however, they may be able to get some costs of the procedure covered.

What is the best age for a tummy tuck?

Virtually any age is right for a tummy tuck procedure. However, patients must keep in mind that pregnancy and weight fluctuations can reverse the effects of their procedure. Thus, it is important that patients be at a healthy weight that they can maintain and be finished with having children.

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