Sculpt Tummy Tuck by Dr Bernard Beldholm

Sculpt tummy tuck (VASER Lipo-abdominoplasty) targets loose skin, fat & separated muscles

Living with excess loose skin after significant weight loss or giving birth can be quite frustrating and, for some people, perhaps even embarrassing. To make matters worse, some mothers may also suffer from weakened muscles–even if they’ve only given birth just one time. From limited mobility to low self-confidence, both problems can negatively impact one’s appearance and also quality of life. The good news is patients do have some pretty good options available to them to get their bodies back post-pregnancy or prior to gaining a lot of weight. To correct stretched muscles and eliminate the extra skin, individuals may need body-contouring surgery to effectively tighten or get rid of the loose skin for good. The Sculpt tummy tuck, a type of body contouring, offers an ideal solution for patients who want to reclaim their bodies as well as look and feel their absolute best.

Every surgeon has their own way of performing tummy tuck or body lift surgery. Over the last few years, I have been performing VASER lipo-abdominoplasty, a technique based on my experience and also extensive research. I feel it provides my patients with the best possible result with the quickest possible recovery.

– Dr Beldholm


What is the Sculpt tummy tuck?

This is a VASER liposculpture based tummy tuck (VASER lipo-abdominoplasty) that is specifically designed for post-pregnant women and anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight. It specifically targets the 3 main concerns that happen after pregnancy or extreme weight loss:

  • Loose skin
  • Separated muscles
  • Shape of the tummy and waistline

Compared to traditional abdominoplasty, the Sculpt tummy tuck can lead to a reduction in pain and discomfort, help patients get back to their normal lives faster and provide patients with an outcome that is far more aesthetically pleasing.

Features of the Sculpt tummy tuck

There are 3 Sculpt tummy tucks that address loose skin and separated muscles post pregnancy and massive weight loss. These are the:

  • Mini Sculpt tummy tuck
  • Full Sculpt tummy tuck
  • Extended Sculpt tummy tuck

During the procedure, the excess fat on the abdomen and sides are sculpted using VASER liposculpture, a highly advanced liposuctioning technique. This modern technique minimises bruising and provides a more defined, proportional result. Unlike the traditional tummy tuck, there is no need for drains with the Sculpt VASER lipo-abdominoplasty.

Types of Sculpt tummy tucks to treat patients following pregnancy or significant weight loss

Whether a person has given birth or has lost a lot of weight, one person’s problem with their abdominal region is not necessarily the same as someone else’s. Therefore, it is important to tailor a tummy tuck to each individual’s  needs. There are 3 different Sculpt tummy tucks that can assist patients who have only a small amount of loose skin to those whose loose skin extends around the hip area.

Mini Sculpt tummy tuck

The mini Sculpt tummy tuck is targeted to the lower abdomen, mainly the small overhang that many women get. Often women who’ve had a c-section complain about the skin hanging over the C-section scar.

Extensive Vaser liposculpture is performed on the full abdomen and sides. The focus is to tighten the lower abdomen. The scar is usually in the underwear line extending from hip to hip. The belly button is not re-positioned in this operation.

The recovery is usually very quick and this operation can be performed as a day stay operation. Full recovery can be expected at approximately 2-4 weeks post surgery.

Full Sculpt tummy tuck

This is the most common abdominoplasty that Dr Beldholm performs on both men and women. It’s effective for not just post pregnancy patients, but also those who’ve lost a significant amount of weight. It treats loose skin on the full tummy as well as muscle separation and excess fat.

The operation involves:

  • Repositioning the belly button
  • Tightening the rectus abdominis muscles
  • Extensive VASER liposuction of the tummy and sides
  • Tightening and removal of excess skin
  • The incision extends just past the hip bones

The full Sculpt tummy tuck is normally performed as an overnight stay operation. There are no drains, and the majority of patients are able to go home the day after surgery in the afternoon. You will be able to have a shower in the morning and walk around. At 10 days, you will be able to stand up straight and perform most common duties around the house. If you have a desk-type job then you will be able to return to work at approximately 2 weeks after the surgery. Expect to wait approximately 6 to 8 weeks before returning to full exercise.

Extended Sculpt tummy tuck

The main difference between the extended and the full Sculpt tummy tuck is the extent of the lower abdominal skin resection, extending around the hips.

This is an extended Vaser liposculpture tummy tuck that involves:

  • Repositioning the belly button
  • Tightening the rectus abdominis muscles
  • Extensive VASER liposuction of the tummy and sides
  • Tightening and removal of excess skin
  • The incision extends around the sides of the abdomen

The recovery is similar to the standard Sculpt tummy tuck.

Changes that happen to the abdomen after pregnancy and how the Sculpt tummy tuck can treat this

Most women will experience major body changes following pregnancy and childbirth. In fact, excess skin around the belly following pregnancy is one of the most common body-related complaints mothers everywhere have, even when they are otherwise thin. Other changes that are common after pregnancy are stretched muscles and hernias. Many mothers that come to see Dr Beldholm complain that they still look pregnant, even though it has been many years since their pregnancy. Another common complaint is skin hanging over C-section scars. Not only can this be cosmetically displeasing, but the skin can rub and cause discomfort.Many women post pregnancy are surprised by the way their stomach looks after birth. It is not uncommon to have a loose midsection, that can give the appearance of still being several months pregnant.For others, childbirth changes their body forever. They are left with that undesirable “muffin top” and those annoying saddlebags.

Stretch marks

Stretch marks are common after pregnancy and after dropping a lot of weight. But what are they, and can anything be done about them?

Skin consists of 3 main layers:

  • Epidermis, the top layer of skin
  • Dermis, the layer underneath the epidermis
  • Hypodermis, contains the fat layer and the blood vessels

Structure of the Skin

Stretch marks (also referred to as striae) are caused by tearing of the dermis, which is the layer underneath the epidermis.

In pregnancy they usually form during the last trimester, and usually on the abdomen. They can be anywhere on the tummy, but normally they are on the lower abdomen and around the central abdomen. Having stretch marks on the upper abdomen is less likely.

Loose saggy skin

Whether you’ve had a baby or lost more than 40+ kilos, the skin can sometimes retract–but for some people usually by only so much.

Often, the skin tends to go back to its normal shape for some mothers, particularly if they have had a single pregnancy and are young. For some women, however, the skin hangs over the lower hip area or their C-section scar. Many women also notice that there is loose skin in the upper abdomen. Individuals who’ve not given birth, yet have lost a lot of weight, can suffer from loose skin in the lower and upper abdomen.

In addition to being unsightly, excess skin can cause rashes and irritation for patients who’ve either dropped a significant amount of weight or mothers who’ve given birth. This can make it difficult to fit into nice clothes and feel comfortable.

How the Sculpt tummy tuck treats loose skin

Loose skin is excised from the lower abdomen and a scar is formed in the bikini line.

Fat deposits on the hips, abdomen and waist area

Some women and (even some men) are not particularly happy with the shape of their waist, hips and abdomen. It is a common complaint from mothers and weight loss patients who consult Dr Beldholm, that even with exercising and weight loss, there are still stubborn pockets of fat that do not shift.

How the Sculpt tummy tuck sculpts your tummy, waist and hips

VASER liposuction is used to sculpt your tummy as part of your Sculpt tummy tuck.

Divarication of the Rectus abdominis muscles

Pregnancy is, no doubt, a beautiful thing. However, if you’re like a lot of women, it can take a toll on your body—and we’re not just talking about stretch marks or weight gain.

Unfortunately, with pregnancy comes a few other unwanted side effects, too. A big one is diastasis recti, or abdominal separation. It is a pretty common condition for most women who have given birth. In fact, about two-thirds of all mothers experience this condition. It is not so much a problem for individuals who’ve dropped a drastic amount of weight–more specifically men.

Pregnancy puts an incredible amount of pressure on the stomach. When this occurs, the front muscles are unable to keep their shape. Although, you may not know the technical term for the condition, you likely know its main symptom. It’s responsible for that undesirable “pouch” that a lot of women would definitely rather do without.

Diastasis recti is a separation between the left and right side of the rectus abdominis muscle.

This muscle covers the front surface of the belly area. This condition is commonly seen in women who have had multiple pregnancies. It is a result of the muscles having been stretched many times.

Extra skin and soft tissue in the front of the abdominal wall may be the only signs of this condition in early pregnancy. In the later part of pregnancy, the top of the pregnant uterus can be seen bulging out of the abdominal wall. An outline of parts of the unborn baby may be seen in some severe cases.

I commonly hear women say, “The last one did all the damage.”

Muscle Separation Post Pregnancy


The condition can also cause lower back pain, constipation, and urine leaking. It can even make it harder to breathe and to move normally. While rare, in some extreme cases, the tissue may tear, and organs may poke out of the opening, in turn, creating a hernia.

Tummy Pregnancy

How the Sculpt tummy tuck sculpts your tummy, waist and hips

The Sculpt tummy tuck brings the muscles together using permanent sutures.

Not just a tummy tuck with additional liposuction but a radically different tummy tuck

The lipo-abdominoplasty, which the Sculpt tummy tuck, is based on is a radically different concept to the traditional abdominoplasty. It is important to realise that this is not a classic abdominoplasty with some added liposuction.

The liposuction is integral to the result and the recovery from this operation. The liposuction is used both to remove fat and to dissect the tissues. The internal dissection is carried out, not on the abdominal wall, which disrupts blood flow as well as lymphatics, but in a higher plane to avoid these structures.

No drains are required, and you only need to stay overnight in the hospital. There are many research reports that demonstrate both the safety and great results of these modern techniques (ref 1, 11).

Standard Tummy Tuck and Lipo Abdominoplasty

Replacing the standard liposuction used in lipo-abdominoplasty with VASER liposculpture takes this operation to the next level

Traditional liposculpture is quite a simple procedure. Fluid containing local anaesthetic and adrenaline is injected into the area to be sculpted and a metal cannula is used to suck the fat out. This is still the most common method of performing liposuction today, and is also the most common method used with the lipoabdominoplasty surgery.

Over the last ten years or so, there has been a number of advancements in performing liposuction, such as the power assisted liposuction cannulas, laser liposuction and water jet liposuction. Many of these methods, in Dr Beldholm’s experience, add very little to the final result.

However, VASER (Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance) liposculpture, has made it possible to do more superficial removal of fat, which makes it possible achieve a much more sculpted appearance. Dr Hoyos and Dr Millard first described the VASER high definition liposculpture technique in 2007 (ref 18). The VASER probe melts fat and provides a much smoother result than traditional liposuction.

“I have found that using VASER liposculpture instead of the traditional liposuction for my Sculpt tummy tucks improves the results and recovery significantly in my hands. It makes for a more sculpted and defined abdomen,” according to Dr Beldholm.

Liposuction Procedure

However, VASER (Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance) liposculpture, has made it possible to do more superficial removal of fat, which makes it possible achieve a much more sculpted appearance. Dr Hoyos and Dr Millard first described the VASER high definition liposculpture technique in 2007 (ref 18). The VASER probe melts fat and provides a much smoother result than traditional liposuction.

Fat injections with the Sculpt tummy tuck

There is usually a significant amount of fat that is removed during the tummy tuck. The good news is that this fat is not necessarily wasted.

Common changes after pregnancy are emptiness in the breast area. Fat injection can be used to enhance your breasts without having to use a breast implant. It is possible to achieve approximately 1 cup size extra, and fill out the upper pole area of the breasts, that are commonly empty after breastfeeding and pregnancy.

Peer review journal articles supporting the way Dr Beldholm does things

  1. Swanson E. “Prospective outcome study of 360 patients treated with liposuction, lipoabdominoplasty, and abdominoplasty.” Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 129(4):965-78, 2012 Apr.
  2. Swanson E. “Photographic measurements in 301 cases of liposuction and abdominoplasty reveal fat reduction without redistribution.” Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 130(2):311e-322e, 2012 Aug.
  3. Swanson E.”Comparison of Limited and Full Dissection Abdominoplasty Using Laser Fluorescence Imaging to Evaluate Perfusion of the Abdominal Skin.” Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 136(1):31e-43e, 2015 Jul.
  4. Saldanha OR; Salles AG; Ferreira MC; Llaverias F; Morelli LH; Saldanha Filho OR; Saldanha CB. “Aesthetic evaluation of lipoabdominoplasty in overweight patients.” Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 132(5):1103-12, 2013 Nov.
  5. Fuller JC; Nguyen CN; Moulton-Barrett RE.” Weight reduction following abdominoplasty: a retrospective case review pilot study.” Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 131(2):238e-244e, 2013 Feb.
  6. Drapeau CM, D’Aniello C, Brafa A, et al. “Italian Group on Surgical Infections in Plastic Surgery. Surgical site infections in plastic surgery: an italian multicenter study.” J Surg Res. 2007;143(2):393-397.
  7. Durai R, Ng PC. “Surgical vacuum drains: types, uses, and complications.” AORN J. 2010;91(2):266-271; quiz 272.
  8. Samra S; Sawh-Martinez R; Barry O; Persing JA. ”Complication rates of lipoabdominoplasty versus traditional abdominoplasty in high-risk patients.” Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 125(2):683-90, 2010 Feb.
  9. Le Louarn C; Pascal JF.” The high-superior-tension technique: evolution of lipoabdominoplasty.“ Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 34(6):773-81, 2010 Dec.
  10. Uebel CO. ”Lipoabdominoplasty: revisiting the superior pull-down abdominal flap and new approaches.” Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 33(3):366-76, 2009 May.
  11. Epstein S, Epstein M, Gutowski K, MD, FACS. “Lipoabdominoplasty Without Drains or Progressive Tension Sutures: An Analysis of 100 Consecutive Patients.“ Aesthet Surg J (2015) 35 (4): 434-440.
  12. R Glen Calderhead, Won-Serk Kim and David B Vasily “Adjunctive 830 nm light-emitting diode therapy can improve the results following aesthetic procedures” Laser Ther. 2015 Dec 30; 24(4): 277–289.
  13. Kim, W. S. & Calderhead, G. R. (2011). “Is light-emitting diode phototherapy (LED-LLLT) really effective?” Journal for laser surgery, phototherapy and photobioactivation, 20(3): 205-215
  14. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). “Trends in adult body-mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: a pooled analysis of 1698 population-based”, Vol 387 April 2, 2016
  15. PITANGUY, VO, “Abdominal Lipectomy: An Approach to It through an Analysis of 300 Consecutive Cases.”, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery: October 1967 – Volume 40 – Issue 4 – ppg 384-391
  16. Heller, Justin B. M.D.; Teng, Edward B.S.; Knoll, Bianca I. M.D.; Persing, John M.D. “Outcome Analysis of Combined Lipoabdominoplasty versus Conventional Abdominoplasty”, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery journal: May 2008 – Volume 121 – Issue 5 – pp 1821-1829
  17. Sarah Epstein Michael A. Epstein, MD, FACS Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS, “Lipoabdominoplasty Without Drains or Progressive Tension Sutures: An Analysis of 100 Consecutive Patients”, Aesthet Surg J (2015) 35 (4): 434-440.
  18. AE Hoyos, JA Millard, “VASER-assisted high-definition liposculpture”, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 27(6):594-604, 2007 Nov-Dec
  19. Nagy MW1, Vanek PF Jr., “A multicenter, prospective, randomized, single-blind, controlled clinical trial comparing VASER-assisted Lipoplasty and suction-assisted Lipoplasty.”, Plast Reconstr Surg. 2012 Apr;129(4):681e-9e
  20. de Brito MJ; Nahas FX; Barbosa MV; Dini GM; Kimura AK; Farah AB; Ferreira LM., “Abdominoplasty and its effect on body image, self-esteem, and mental health.”, Annals of Plastic Surgery. 65(1):5-10, 2010 Jul.