As most of us know, a tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, removes excess fat and skin around your abdomen. It gets rid of awkward slang terms such as “love handles,” “spare tires,” and “muffin tops.” It can also help to reduce stretch marks and will give you a more contoured figure. What you might not know is that every abdominoplasty is tailored to the specific needs of the patient. A plastic surgeon will be able to determine the right procedure for you during your consultation.
If you want an idea of what would be best for you, take a good look at yourself in a full-length mirror. Examine the areas where you notice loose skin. Are you able to pinch the skin in these areas between your fingers? Is your excess fat and skin located above or below your belly button? Do you have a lot of loose skin on the flanks as well as the abdomen? These questions help you to see the specific areas that need contoured.
Let’s take a look at what the answers to these questions tell you:
Mini Tummy Tuck
If you are only seeing excess skin in a small section below the belly button, a mini tummy tuck may be the better option for you. Not sure what a small section looks like? Look at your stomach. Is it pretty much flat from just beneath your breasts to your navel? Can you pinch skin in that area? What about the flanks? If these areas are firm, turn your attention to the space in between your navel and pubic area. Does it have that pronounced mommy pouch? When you bend over, does it sag down toward your toes? If yes, a mini-tummy tuck will successfully tighten muscles and remove sagging skin.
Process of a Mini Tummy Tuck
- An incision will be made in the area just above the pubic region and will be approximately the length of the pubic area as well.
- Your muscles will be sutured back together and the skin pulled tightly over the abdominal wall.
- Any additional skin or fat tissue in the area will be removed.
A mini tummy tuck offers less recovery time, the ability to return to normal activities faster and has a much smaller scar than a full tummy tuck. This type of partial abdominoplasty will only work if you do not have problem areas above the belly button. Your scar will be easily concealed by clothing and will not be noticeable in a bathing suit.
Full Tummy Tuck
After your examination, if you notice that your excess skin and fat are located above and below the navel, then a full tummy tuck will give you the results that you want. The separated muscles above the navel will be repaired, the excess skin and fat removed, and your belly button will be relocated. Full abdominoplasties are for women who have had multiple pregnancies and anyone who has had a massive amount of weight loss.
Process of A Full Tummy Tuck
- Incisions are made above the pubic area with the length of the incision extending from hipbone to hipbone and around the belly button.
- Muscles are stitched back together (if needed) and the excess skin is pulled downward over the abdominal wall.
- Skin and fat tissue are removed and a new belly button is created.
The recovery period for a full abdominoplasty is between two and four weeks. You will have drains placed to help remove fluid and your physical activity will be limited. Your scar will reach all the way across your lower abdomen from one hip bone to the other, along the bikini line. The scar should be easily covered by panties or bathing suit bottoms.
Extended Tummy Tuck
An extended abdominoplasty is just what it sounds like, an extension of an abdominoplasty that reaches up the sides of the hips almost to the back. If the skin around your flanks is sagging and can be pinched between your fingers, an extended abdominoplasty may work better than liposuction for giving you the contoured look you desire. The process for an extended abdominoplasty and the recovery time is similar to a regular abdominoplasty. The only difference is the length of the scar.
While the facts in this article are good indicators of the type of tummy tuck that is best for you, they do not replace an exam and a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. For more information, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.