Skip to main content
Christopher K. Patronella, MD, FACS, FICS homepage

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) in Houston, TX

For decades, men and women have turned to tummy tuck surgery to achieve flatter and slimmer abdominal contours. However, Dr. Chris Patronella of Houston, Texas, was never satisfied with the two-dimensional approach that traditional techniques typically leave: an artificial-looking, “flat-as-a-board” abdomen.

Dr. Patronella has consulted with hundreds of patients from around the globe who were unhappy with lackluster results because, while the stomach was taut and smooth, it lacked the natural character and subtle definition of a truly sculpted abdomen.

This compelled Dr. Patronella to perfect abdominoplasty results, a 20-year endeavor that culminated in his acclaimed drainless True Form Tummy Tuck® method. The True Form Tummy Tuck® takes the possibilities of a traditional abdominoplasty up a level as it highlights the subtleties, curves, and divots of a natural, chiseled body. In addition to elegant, attractive and authentic-looking results patients appreciate that they no drains are required during their recovery. This is because Dr. Patronella uses a progressive tension suture technique which closes up the spaces where fluid could potentially accumulate, eliminating the need for drains.

Schedule A Consultation

What Is a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?

Traditional abdominoplasty techniques allow for the substantial reduction of skin and fat; however, they often result in flat, surgical-looking abdomens instead of sculpted, contoured stomachs.

Dr. Patronella devised his True Form Tummy Tuck® to create more beautiful, authentic-looking results that recreate the subtle, attractive characteristics of a youthful, toned abdomen, including soft contours of varying depth, smooth transitions, and a firm, oval-shaped belly button with an inward shape. To reduce post-operative pain, Dr. Patronella uses EXPAREL®, a long-acting anesthetic, in combination with a progressive suture technique, which eliminates the need for his patients to wear surgical drains following surgery and other body contouring procedures.

Dr. Patronella performs the procedure for women and men at his private, fully-accredited surgical center in Houston, Texas. Patients travel from all corners of the globe to attain the exceptional results Dr. Patronella delivers. For the convenience of our out-of-town patients, he offers online video conferences. And Eva, his patient coordinator of 20+ years, works closely with patients to plan a smooth, positive experience for his patients who are local as well as those traveling from other states and countries.

True Form Tummy Tuck Before and After Results by Dr. Patronella

True Form Tummy Tuck Before and After Results Side View by Dr. Patronella

View Tummy Tuck Galleries



*Warning: Graphic Content

Técnica True Form Tummy Tuck: En Cirugía

Dr. Patronella’s No-Drain Technique

 *Warning: Graphic Content

Video Gallery

Who Is a Candidate for True Form Tummy Tuck?

The True Form Tummy Tuck® is Dr. Patronella’s meticulous approach to creating an elegant, attractive, and toned abdomen with 3-dimensional character. This surgical procedure is ideal for men and women looking for results that go far beyond the cookie-cutter, unnaturally flat outcome that traditional techniques typically produce.

Men and women who are a good fit for this procedure commonly have loose abdominal skin that cannot be improved through diet and exercise. Depending on factors including the degree and location of skin laxity and muscle wall separation, Dr. Patronella customizes his approach to achieve ideal aesthetic results. A mini abdominoplasty and modified version are among the methods he considers when evaluating the best option for an individual. Those considering the True Form Tummy Tuck® should be in good physical health and close to their goal weight.

Tummy Tuck Surgery in Overweight and Large Weight Loss Patients

While the best results with the True Form Tummy Tuck® are achieved in individuals who are at a good weight for their height, occasionally Dr. Patronella will consider performing the procedure for overweight patients with a body mass index (BMI) in the 30 to 35 range, depending on physical findings and their health status. Learn more about Dr. Patronella’s guidelines for surgery in overweight and large weight loss patients here.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Tummy Tuck?

Natural Indentations and Defined Musculature

Traditional abdominoplasty surgery can leave the torso looking unnaturally flat. Accenting various abdominal contours along the upper and lower abdomen using internal sutures restores a defined, sculpted, and natural-looking abdomen.

Smooth Transitions

Attentive and precise suturing at the incision line allows for a smooth transition between the lower abdomen and pubic area.

The abdominal skin and tissue are advanced downward from the lower ribcage to the pubic hairline with equal distribution of tautness. Any laxity of the upper part of the abdomen can be eliminated compared with the reduction of the lower abdominal skin and fat to achieve consistent, natural results.

Restored Navel Shape

Weight gain or pregnancy can alter the shape of your navel. Using internal suturing to reattach the belly button to the underlying muscle, a deep inward contour is made. Thus, the natural and youthful navel is restored.

No-Drain Approach

Dr. Patronella employs the progressive suture technique in his True Form Tummy Tuck®. By placing internal sutures, Dr. Patronella eliminates the spaces where fluid would collect in a traditional abdominoplasty. This prevents the need for uncomfortable post-surgical drains that could be present for up to 3 weeks.

Schedule A Consultation with Dr. Patronella

How Is True Form Tummy Tuck Surgery Performed?

Key Elements of the True Form Tummy Tuck®:

1. Strategic Low Incision Placement

  • Pre-operative markings are made along the upper and lower abdomen.
  • The incision is made about 6 centimeters above the top of the vulva.

2. Thorough Abdominal Flap Mobilization

  • The abdominal skin and tissue are separated from the underlying muscles and fat.
  • A thin layer of tissue remains attached to the abdominal wall.

3. Complete Diastasis Repair

  • Diastasis is marked and corrected with heavy sutures.
  • The umbilicus is tightened.
  • EXPAREL® is injected into the abdominal muscles responsible for post-operative pain.

4. Sub-Scarpa’s Fat Thinning

  • Excess lateral and medial fat is thinned to create definition.

Particular attention is paid to the midline of the stomach.

5. Anatomy-Defining Progressive Tension Sutures

  • After midline fat thinning, a running progressive tension suture technique is used to define the attractive natural contours of the abdomen.
  • Progressive tension sutures are internal stitches that create natural-looking contours and indentations.
  • The progressive tension suture technique enhances the definition of the abdominal skin along the midline of the abdomen.
  • These sutures are also used to deepen the waist.

True Form Tummy Tuck Before and After Results by Dr. Patronella

True Form Tummy Tuck Before and After Results Side View by Dr. Patronella

View Abdominoplasty Galleries

6. Vertical Umbilical Defect Closure (If Needed)

  • Patients with significant laxity may require the tightening of the original umbilical opening.

7. Mons Rejuvenation

  • The mons pubis area is rejuvenated.
  • Excess fat is excised and trimmed.

8. Skin Flap Customization

  • Following the steps above, Dr. Patronella carefully assesses the degree of skin laxity and then excises the excess skin to restore firmness. This precise approach allows him to create a smooth, tension-free incision line.

Special attention is paid not to remove too much skin, as this can produce an overly tight and unnatural appearance.

9. Soft Tissue Equalization at Incision

  • Fat is thinned evenly above and below the incision line to achieve a smooth transition between the upper and lower abdomen.
  • Liposuction is used to fine-tune the area on and around the incision.

10. Deeply Contoured Umbilicus

  • The umbilicus that was separated from the skin flap early in the surgery is reattached to the skin.
  • Before reattaching the umbilicus, fixation sutures are placed to create the indentation of the belly button. Some resection of the periumbilical fat is required to re-establish depth.
  • A vertical oval is created in the skin, and more fat is thinned from the area to create an attractive, natural-looking navel.

Umbilical hernias can be repaired during this step.

Finally, the incision is closed, and the healing process begins.

The True Form Tummy Tuck® uses progressive tension sutures to collapse the space where fluid would ordinarily collect. This eliminates the need for drains in your surgery.

Learn More About ACPS

What Other Procedures Can I Combine With My Tummy Tuck Surgery?

The True Form Tummy Tuck® in Houston, Texas, is often combined with body contouring or breast enhancement to define and sculpt your physique.

Common combination procedures include:

Liposuction Model


Liposuction of the surrounding areas, including the waist, hips, thighs, back, and bra line.

Liposculpture is frequently performed in combination with a True Form Tummy Tuck® to remove fat from the mons area (beneath the navel) and the waistline to create contours that blend with the sleek new look of the abdomen.

Breast Procedures Model

Breast Procedures

Breast augmentation surgery enhances the shape and fullness of the breasts.

Breast reduction surgery lightens overly large, heavy breasts and balances the breasts with the surrounding body contours.

Breast lift surgery tightens and elevates sagging breasts. This technique can be performed alone or in combination with another breast surgery.

Body Procedures Model

Body Procedures

Mommy Makeover surgery, which is a comprehensive combination of the above procedures. This personalized treatment restores shape and tone to the areas most affected by childbirth and breastfeeding.

Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL), which transfers excess fat that was removed from areas such as the waist, hips, and thighs to the buttocks in order to create a fuller, more lifted derrière.

What Is Recovery Like After Having a Tummy Tuck?

Most patients stay overnight in our fully accredited facility, where they will receive attentive and prompt care. Patients often return home the morning after their surgery.

1 to 3 Days

Dr. Patronella administers EXPAREL® during surgery to the abdominal wall. This is a long-acting local anesthetic that delivers relief for the first 72 hours of recovery. This FDA-approved anesthetic eliminates the need for pain pumps and allows patients to get up faster.

You should expect to be swollen, sore, and tight. We recommend getting out of bed (with assistance) for 10 to 15 minutes every 2 hours. This walking and stretching will help to speed recovery and reduce the risk of blood clots.

During recovery, you will require childcare, extra assistance around the house, and easy-to-prepare meals.

As there are no drains used in this technique, you will not have to worry about cleaning, emptying, or measuring your drains.

10 to 14 Days

You can start to return to more normal activities. You will still have swelling and bruising, but you will be able to get up to walk without assistance.

Most patients return to work after 14 days; however, this may vary depending on the nature of your job.

3 to 6 Months

Most of the swelling subsides by 3 months; however, some swelling may come and go intermittently for up to 6 months. Some tummy tuck patients describe numbness in the months following surgery. This is normal.

View Our Tummy Tuck Recovery Guide

When Can I Exercise After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

While you are required to get out of bed for leisurely walks starting the day after your surgery you must avoid more vigorous exercises.

Many abdominoplasty patients return to strenuous activities after 4 to 6 weeks, but this varies based on the individual. You should consult with Dr. Patronella before resuming any exercise program.

Learn More About Exercising After an abdominoplasty

When Will I See My Tummy Tuck Results?

Surgery with the True Form Tummy Tuck® contours, enhances, and sculpts the abdomen after the effects of aging, pregnancy, and weight gain. Most of the swelling resolves within 3 months; however, some residual swelling may be present (or reappear) for 6 months or more.

Once all of the swelling has subsided, the full extent of your transformation is revealed. Results are typically long-lasting when a stable weight is maintained through a healthy diet and exercise.

View Before and After Results

Will I Have Scarring After My Tummy Tuck?

While there will be a scar after your procedure, Dr. Patronella practices great care to position the incision as low as possible so that the resulting scar can be easily concealed by bathing suits and undergarments.

To ensure optimum diminishment of the scar, Dr. Patronella developed a Scar Therapy Program, a combination of products that he instructs his patients to apply for approximately 6 to 12 months or longer, depending on the scar’s responsiveness. To prevent the darkening of the scar, liberally apply sunscreen and avoid exposing it to the sun.

Sun exposure will darken the pigment on the scar, which is very challenging to correct.

The scar will continue to fade over the following 1 to 2 years.

How Long Will My Results Last?

The results of your abdominoplasty are long-lasting, barring significant weight gain or pregnancy. Most patients are inspired to incorporate positive dietary and physical fitness habits into their lifestyle, which helps maintain their results and strengthen their inner vitality and confidence.

With dedicated maintenance, men and women can showcase their sculpted, chiseled abdominal contours for years to come.

Article: How To Maintain Your abdominoplasty Results

How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost in Houston, TX?

Depending upon a patient’s aesthetic objectives, Dr. Patronella may perform the True Form Tummy Tuck as a stand-alone surgery or in conjunction with other procedures. Abdominoplasty is often combined with additional body contouring techniques (whether it is liposuction, body lift surgery, thigh lift surgery, or arm lift surgery). This combination is factored into the total cost of your procedure, which often ranges from $8,000 to $15,000 depending on what is being done.

Please see our plastic surgery price list linked below for an idea of what you can expect for your abdominoplasty cost. The final price of your True Form Abdominoplasty in Houston, Texas, will include the entire scope of the procedure, from the surgeon’s and board-certified anesthesiologist’s fees, facility, required garments, and post-op follow up care for as long as necessary (or required) to ensure satisfactory recovery.

You will be given an accurate cost estimate during your consultation with Dr. Patronella that takes all of the above into account.

Plastic Surgery Price List

Tummy Tuck After Pregnancy

True Form Tummy Tuck® Surgery Pricing

Women who require a cesarean section (C-section) during childbirth are often left with a horizontal scar across the lower abdomen. While every woman heals differently, many discover that their C-section scars do not heal well since the inconspicuousness of the resulting scar is not a priority in childbirth.

In a True Form Tummy Tuck® procedure, Dr. Patronella resects a section of loose skin on the lower abdomen, including the area of the C-section scar. This eliminates the undesirable scar and replaces it with the better-formed and less noticeable scar.

Learn More About How a Tummy Tuck Can Improve a C-section Scar

Will My Surgery Help Me Get Rid of Pregnancy Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks develop when the skin on a given area expands at a rapid rate. This is a common occurrence during pregnancy. While this procedure does not target stretch marks, Dr. Patronella frequently can minimize their presence, as many of the stretch marks appear on the portion of skin that will be removed.

Although this technique may not completely remove stretch marks above or below the incision line, the remaining marks are often less noticeable on the firmer, better-contoured abdomen.

Learn More About Stretch Marks and Tummy Tuck Surgery

How Soon After Childbirth Can I Have an Abdominoplasty?

Dr. Patronella recommends that a woman wait at least 3 months following the birth of her last child to have a True Form Tummy Tuck®. This allows her time to heal and return to a more ideal postpartum weight―a factor that will optimize the results she can achieve.

Why Choose Dr. Patronella for Your Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Over the last 3 decades, Dr. Patronella of Houston, Texas, has honed his abdominoplasty technique to create exceptionally attractive results. This dedication to excellence has launched him to international acclaim for the True Form Tummy Tuck® and won him top honors and awards for his innovative techniques. With his 10-step method, Dr. Patronella sculpts and revitalizes abdominal contours without the need for uncomfortable and difficult abdominoplasty drains.

Dr. Patronella doesn’t believe in compromising when it comes to providing beautiful results. During your consultation, he discusses the appearance goals you would like to achieve and determines the best procedure(s) to give you the results you want. He understands the importance of choosing the right techniques and procedures for a patient and customizes these to fit a patient’s unique goals, anatomy, and needs.

About Dr. Patronella

What Patients Are Saying About Their Tummy Tuck Surgery With Dr. Patronella

“Definitely recommend. Great surgeon and great friendly staff. Had a TT done a week ago and looking and feeling great.”
– XC

“I had an amazing experience from consult to surgery and even after surgery. Dr. Patronella and his staff were very attentive to my needs and made me feel so comfortable. My results…WOW! I am so happy with my new tummy! If you’re looking into getting a tummy tuck, go with Dr. Patronella!”
– DC

“Dr. Patronella’s skill is only surpassed by his caring attitude towards his patients. At first, I was a little hesitant to have a tummy tuck, but Dr. Patronella explained that he could offer me a natural, minimal scar result. Sure enough, my incision has faded as he said it would, and now, with my flat tummy, I look great in my jeans!”
– DW

Read More Tummy Tuck Reviews

Featured Articles

Dr. Patronella’s articles describing his advanced surgical techniques have been published in the world’s premier plastic surgery publications. Explore these resources to learn more about the methods and philosophy behind his consistently excellent results.

Read Articles

Schedule a Consultation

Dr. Patronella’s warm and friendly patient care team will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have and schedule your appointment with Dr. Patronella in Houston, TX.

Schedule a Consultation