Dr. Christopher K. Patronella's Blog

Why the True Form Tummy Tuck® Produces the Best Results

May 24th, 2017 admin

In an ideal world, tummy tuck results would always look natural. Friends and strangers would not easily recognize that you underwent surgery; instead, they would look at you and want to know your secret to a flat and firm abdomen. Unfortunately, this ideal world is a dream for many tummy tuck patients, as most tummy tuck results are unnaturally flat. To turn dreams into reality, Dr. Patronella devised the True Form Tummy Tuck®: a tummy tuck procedure that always produces results that are natural looking, with authentic contours and subtle definition.

Before and After Tummy Tuck SurgeryCommon Problems With Tummy Tuck Surgery Results

A tummy tuck, also called abdominoplasty, surgically flattens the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat and tightening the muscles of the stomach wall. Due to technical decisions that traditional tummy tuck surgeons make, the abdomen may look flat as a board after surgery, lacking natural definition and shape. Women who undergo abdominoplasty after pregnancy often complain that the waist does not look like it did before pregnancy. In many cases, the results look so incredibly “fake” that patients do not even feel comfortable baring their stomachs. When the tissues are pulled taut without factoring in the natural softness and subtle definition of an abdomen that does not need surgery, the results are often less than ideal.

Knowing that the results of tummy tuck surgery sometimes look “fake,” individuals respond in various ways. Some seek a tummy tuck alternative and attempt to achieve their goals with exercise, skin tightening, liposuction, or even lap band surgery. However, the results of these alternatives often fall short and cannot accomplish all that is possible with a tummy tuck. Other individuals choose to avoid surgery and live with their body the way it is, which can lead to a perpetually poor body image. Individuals who undergo tummy tuck surgery and are unhappy with their results may also choose to “accept their fate,” which can be equally troublesome because their goals are never satisfied.

Rather than settling for less, individuals can pursue and successfully achieve natural-looking tummy tuck results by undergoing the right procedure with the right surgeon. Dr. Patronella has spent many years studying and perfecting the True Form Tummy Tuck® so that he can provide the best tummy tuck experience. With this technique, Dr. Patronella has helped countless patients achieve remarkable results.

The True Form Tummy Tuck® Difference

If the question “which tummy tuck is right for me?” has ever crossed your mind, take a look at the True Form Tummy Tuck®. This technique, devised by Dr. Chris Patronella, focuses on redefining the natural, subtle abdominal contours present in individuals who have never needed abdominal contouring surgery. The True Form Tummy Tuck® ensures smooth and soft transitions throughout the abdomen, producing sculpted and natural-looking results rather than standard and flat results.

To accomplish this, the True Form Tummy Tuck® focuses on the following:

  • Abdominal contouring: Traditional tummy tucks pull the tissues downward to flatten the tummy. The True Form Tummy Tuck® accents the various natural contours along the upper and lower abdomen, highlighting the natural midline contour and soft muscle definition to restore a smooth and natural-looking abdomen.
  • Waist contouring: The traditional tummy tuck approach fails to fully address the waist and flanks, creating a flat abdominal profile but a “lumpy” frontal view of the midsection. Using contouring techniques such as liposuction, Dr. Patronella thins the waistline so that it gently tapers toward the hips in a longer and more graceful way.
  • Smooth transitions: Traditional tummy tucks may pull and suture the lower abdomen in such a way that the incision line creates an obvious line or “step off.” With attentive, precise suturing, Dr. Patronella applies careful finesse to create a smooth and natural-appearing transition at the incision line between the lower abdomen and the pubic area.
  • Consistent skin firmness above and below the navel: A traditional tummy tuck surgeon may fail to adequately address laxity in the upper abdomen, and this can contribute to inconsistent skin firmness above and below the navel. With the True Form Tummy Tuck®, the skin and tissues are advanced downward all the way from the lower ribcage to the pubic hairline to produce an equal distribution of tautness, fully eliminating laxity of the upper abdomen and reducing lower abdominal skin and fat.
  • Navel contouring: A traditional tummy tuck may fail to define the navel or may give it an irregular shape or angle. Using internal suturing and reattaching the belly button to the underlying muscle, a naturally youthful navel with a deep inward contour is restored.
  • Strategic incision placement: Many tummy tuck surgeons place the incision between the hip bones in the lower abdomen, which means that scarring cannot be hidden by some swimsuit and underwear options. With the True Form Tummy Tuck®, the lower abdominal incision is low on the bikini line for easy concealment of any scarring.
  • Muscle tightening: Weakened abdominal muscles may not be sufficiently tightened with traditional tummy tuck techniques. Dr. Patronella uses internal sutures to bring the muscles together and repair the stomach wall for stronger definition.

The key to the best tummy tuck results comes down to how a tummy tuck is performed. Dr. Patronella has earned top honors for his innovative techniques in tummy tuck surgery with the development of the True Form Tummy Tuck®. With its focus on natural-looking results, this procedure adds youthful definition and contour to the abdomen. Patients who undergo the True Form Tummy Tuck® can achieve their ideal results and have their abdomens sculpted with subtle contour variations, natural features, a consistent skin tone, and sensual beauty and elegance.

The best tummy tuck surgeon for you will understand your needs and your desires for a natural look with a defined and firm abdomen. Dr. Patronella is one of the nation’s foremost specialists in body contouring procedures and has spent years refining the True Form Tummy Tuck® to be able to achieve optimum results for every patient. To request your personal consultation with Dr. Patronella, call 713-799-9999 or fill out his online contact form today.

Dr. Christopher K. Patronella's Blog

SmartLipo or Tummy Tuck Surgery? A Tummy Tuck Patient Case Study

August 27th, 2012 client

Dr. Patronella performed corrective surgery to improve the poor results this patient received from a SmartLipo procedure, which left her with contour irregularities. He restored a smoother appearance to her abdomen through tummy tuck surgery.


By Dr. Chris Patronella

When skillfully performed on an appropriate candidate,  SmartLipo, like many other liposuction methods, is good technology that can be very useful in body contouring procedures. However, liposuction predictably has yielded less-than-ideal results for the patients I’ve seen who had mild to moderate skin looseness for a simple reason: when you remove fat from an area that has loose skin, the skin will not shrink back smoothly and evenly. Most of these patients eventually have opted for tummy tuck surgery to restore a smoother, more natural-looking youthful appearance to their abdomens.

One such patient, Kelly, consulted with me for revision surgery to improve the unsatisfactory results from a SmartLipo procedure she received elsewhere as part of a mommy makeover to rejuvenate the appearance of her abdomen after having two children. Though she was pleased with the results of her breast augmentation and breast lift procedure, her abdominal results were a stunning disappointment that left her with more noticeable aesthetic concerns than she had prior to surgery.

Like many women who’ve had children, Kelly had loose abdominal skin and weakness of the underlying muscle wall as a result of the stretching that takes place to accommodate the growing infant during pregnancy. These characteristics are best corrected through tummy tuck surgery. Because Kelly had good skin elasticity with skin looseness primarily beneath the belly button previous to having her initial surgery, I most likely would have chosen to perform a mini tummy tuck on her, a less extensive tummy tuck procedure that is appropriate for about 10 percent of my abdominoplasty patients.

In revision cases such as Kelly’s, it is often difficult to restore a fully smooth appearance to the abdomen because patients have a layer of scar tissue beneath the skin’s surface and little to no fat left as a result of the laser liposuction treatment they received.  Fortunately, improvement often is possible through corrective surgery. For Kelly, I performed tummy tuck surgery in conjunction with liposuction to sculpt the slimmer hip proportions she desired.

Though it’s a poor substitute for tummy tuck surgery, liposuction often serves as an excellent complement to enhance abdominoplasty results. In about 80 percent of my tummy tuck patients, I incorporate liposuction to accentuate the waist and/or to improve lower body proportions to help the abdomen’s appearance blend with adjacent areas for the most natural look.

Kelly was thrilled with her new look. Like many of the the revision patients I see in consultations, she was greatly discouraged by the poor results she received from her original surgery and fearful of going through a secondary procedure. Though revision surgery presents unique challenges to both the patient and surgeon, the resulting aesthetic transformation and restoration in these patients’ confidence makes it one of the most rewarding procedures I perform.



Dr. Christopher K. Patronella's Blog

A More Comfortable Tummy Tuck Recovery

July 30th, 2012 client

By Sherri Roberts Lopez

The recovery from tummy tuck surgery just became more comfortable thanks to Exparel—a new long-acting local anesthetic that Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Chris Patronella is pleased to provide to his tummy tuck patients. When injected into the abdominal muscle wall—the area that is the most common source of discomfort following abdominoplasty because of the muscle wall repair that takes place—Exparel delivers relief for 72 hours or more before the body absorbs the anesthetic.

tummy tuck recovery medication

The long-acting anesthetic Exparel provides more effective pain control after tummy tuck surgery than the pain pump, says Dr. Patronella.

Patronella says the anesthetic, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2011, is a welcome breakthrough in pain management, eliminating the need for patients to tote around a pain pump the first week after surgery while also providing them with more effective pain control since it is injected directly into the muscle wall tissue, as opposed to medication being infused over the tissue, as it is through a pain pump.

“I’m finding that the use of Exparel makes the overall recovery experience more pleasant for my patients, ” said Patronella. “They are able to get up and around more quickly after tummy tuck surgery, thereby speeding their recovery, particularly during the first three to four days, which is typically the most uncomfortable stretch of the 10 to 14 day recovery period.” Additionally, the surgeon noted the anesthetic reduces the frequency and amount of pain medication that patients typically require, lessening drowsiness, constipation, nausea, and other unpleasant side effects that can sometimes occur with their use.

Patronella participated in a clinical study to evaluate Exparel’s safety based upon follow-up exams with 94 women who received the anesthetic in conjunction with breast augmentation surgery. He and his colleagues’ research was published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal—the official publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery—in February 2012.

Dr. Christopher K. Patronella's Blog

The Tummy Tuck Incision: A Common Misconception & Why it Matters

July 20th, 2012 client

By Plastic Surgeon Chris Patronella, MD, FACS

One of the most common misconceptions I encounter concerning the tummy tuck and other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures is that major changes can be made through small incisions. Minor improvements can be achieved through small incisions but not major.

In my practice, more than 90 percent of my tummy tuck patients require a hip-to-hip incision to achieve the necessary improvements that my patients seek and that I seek. When this is the case, neither liposuction or a mini tummy tuck will deliver good results, though these procedures were recommended to many of the patients I see who desire tummy tuck revision surgery to correct the inadequate results they received. Abdominoplasty performed through a small incision has left them with an upper abdomen that bulges and a lower abdomen that is flat, the result of an incision that was too small to achieve the comprehensive level of correction that is typically required to tighten loose skin and muscles both above and below the belly button.

To a great degree, marketing leads people to believe that dramatic improvements can be accomplished with short and less invasive procedures. But often, only a small percentage of patients are true candidates for these types of procedures.

One of the hardest things to do is to disappoint a patient with a recommendation that is different from what they’d hoped to hear, but you can’t always follow their desires.It is the responsibility of a plastic surgeon to apply an artistic eye to a person’s body shape and then educate this individual as to what is necessary to create the right look.

Dr. Christopher K. Patronella's Blog

A Plastic Surgery Experience to Remember: A Patient Shares the Unforgettable Moment That Made All the Difference

July 6th, 2012 client

Plastic surgeon
Dr. Chris Patronella

While surgical expertise tops the list of the most important factors to consider in choosing a plastic surgeon, a physician’s warmth, ability to put you at ease, and truly listen to your concerns are equally valuable qualities that can make all the difference between having a surgical experience that is uplifting and richly rewarding versus one that is merely average or perfunctory in nature. For Valerie, it was the recommendation of her daughter’s pediatrician and the care the young girl subsequently received from Dr.Patronella that led Valerie to choose the surgeon to improve her own aesthetic concerns.

After her eighth-grade daughter developed a blood cyst under her eye as a result of sports activities, Valerie took her daughter to a doctor, whose well-meaning attempt to treat the cyst unfortunately left her daughter frightened and traumatized—particularly because of the excessive bleeding it produced. Her pediatrician then advised Valerie to take her daughter to plastic surgeon Dr. Chris Patronella for care.

Recalling the day of that first visit, Valerie said, “Dr. Patronella looked at my daughter, put his hand on her shoulder, and said, ‘I’m going to fix it, and it’s going to be fine.’ You could see the worry and anxiety melt out of her face.” The experience deeply impressed the relieved young mother, who noted, “That’s what you want when you go to the doctor—the reassurance that everything is going to be okay.”

At the age of 53, Valerie visited Dr. Patronella once again, but this time it was for herself.  Motivated by the desire to diminish the facial jowls she’d begun to notice every time she looked in the mirror, she elected to have a facelift and eyelid surgery, a move, she said, that “took 10 years off of me.”

Four years later she returned to see what Dr. Patronella could do about the tummy roll that refused to go away despite her efforts to achieve that end through exercise.  When pants with waistbands that fit below the waist became more in vogue, she was dismayed to find there was no hiding the muffin top like she’d been able to with higher waistband styles, leaving her feeling self-conscious about wearing the more fashionable attire that filled clothing stores.

During her consultation, Dr. Patronella recommended that, in addition to a tummy tuck, she consider having liposuction to smooth out the excess fat in her back, creating a look that would better harmonize with the firm, toned abdominal look she’d attain through abdominoplasty.

“Dr. Patronella has a good eye,” commented Valerie, who appreciated that the surgeon looked at her body as a whole, providing a broader perspective beyond her own, which was focused on her more limited frontal view.

As a vegetarian who exercises regularly, the mother of two grown children gained a youthful new look that better reflected the vitality and fitness she felt inside.  Said Valerie, “This is the way I remember myself in my 20s and 30s. I just feel more myself again. This surgery helped me to be the vision I had of myself in my head.”



As Dr. Patronella's patient coordinator for nearly 20 years, Eva Cadena will work with you to ensure that your experience is professional, courteous, and rewarding in every way. Please call her with any questions you may have.

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