Shape-shifting transformations that take place within the cocoon of an OR, tummy tucks are among the more metamorphic experiences in plastic surgery. But sometimes the striking absence of fat and flesh in an abdominoplasty “after” photo can blind us to the subtler nuances of the procedure—the carefully contrived details that are key to next-level outcomes.

So next time you’re scanning the before and after photos on a surgeon’s grid or in their gallery, go ahead and marvel at the big-picture results but be sure to note the finer aspects as well— particularly these three, which surgeons insist are the hallmarks of a modern tummy tuck.