The Different Types of Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Article by
Boston Plastic Surgeon

A Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty can restore a tight Tummy after your pregnancy has left you with loose abdominal skin or a pouch above your C-section scar.

What is A Tummy Tuck?

A Tummy Tuck is a Plastic Surgery procedure called an Abdominoplasty. Most commonly an incision is made in the lower Abdomen near the Pubic Hairline, the loose skin is lifted off of the underlying Abdominal Muscles, the skin is pulled down and the excess loose skin is removed. The remaining skin is sutured closed and the Tummy or Abdomen looks tighter.

Who Needs or Wants a Tummy Tuck?

Most people who consult me for a Tummy Tuck are women who have had children. However, today many more men are also considering Tummy Tuck Surgery after they have lost weight. The most common reasons are:

·         Loose flabby lower Tummy Skin after pregnancy

·         A pouch on the lower Tummy caused by a C Section Scar

·         Loose Abdominal Skin after weight loss

·         Excellent Fitness after diet and exercise but Skin still loose

·         Always had “Pudgy Belly” and cannot get rid of it with exercise

·         Split Abdominal Muscles after Pregnancy-Diastasis Recti

What Different Types of Tummy Tuck Are There?

Today  the term Tummy Tuck is used to describe both surgical and non-surgical procedures used to tighten the  Abdominal Skin. It is very important for you to understand the difference between these various terms as the results, scarring, recovery and benefits are very different for each of the different Plastic Surgery procedures. Some common procedures are:

·         Full Tummy Tuck or Full Abdominoplasty- The main feature of a Full Tummy Tuck is that your Belly Button or Umbilicus will be different. In a Full Abdominoplasty the entire Abdominal Skin is elevated off of the underlying Abdominal Muscles. This means that an incision is made in the lower abdomen and around your belly button so that the belly button is left attached to your abdominal wall muscles. Once the excess Abdominal Skin is removed, a belly button site on the tightened Tummy is chosen and the belly button repaired. A full Tummy Tuck is required if your Abdominal Muscles are split after pregnancy a condition called Diastasis Recti.

·         Mini Tummy Tuck or Mini Abdominoplasty- A Mini Tummy Tuck does not change or involve your Belly Button. A Mini Tummy Tuck only removes the loose lower Abdominal Skin and cannot be used to repair split Abdominal Muscles.

·         Bikini Tuck- A Bikini Tuck is simply a Mini Tummy Tuck in which the incision is hidden below the “Bikini Line.” This is determined pre operatively by marking the outlines of your Bikini and designing the incision inside those lines.

·         Laser Tummy Tuck-Laser Tummy Tuck refers to the abdominal skin tightening achieved using Laser Assisted Liposuction such as SlimLipo. The newer Laser Liposuction does provide skin tightening as well as fat removal and for many patients, this technique has eliminated the need for an Abdominoplasty.

·         Non-Surgical Tummy Tuck- This refers to non-surgical skin tightening procedures such as LuxIR Deep, Thermage and others that use an external device such as Infrared or Radiofrequency energy to heat and tighten the skin. They achieve about 10-20% tightening and are not as effective as other methods listed above.

How to Choose the Best Procedure for You

·         Full Tummy Tuck- If you have significant loose skin of both the upper and lower abdomen, usually after extensive weight loss, you will need a full Abdominoplasty

·         Mini Tummy Tuck or Bikini Tummy Tuck- Most normal body weight women who have lower abdominal laxity after childbirth can achieve a nice result with a Mini Abdominoplasty.

·         Laser Tummy Tuck- If you have a moderate amount of fat beneath your abdominal skin and a minimal amount of loose skin, Laser Assisted Liposuction such as SlimLipo should give you a nice result.

·         Non-surgical Tummy Tuck- If you have only minor skin laxity, especially around the Belly Button that cannot be corrected with a Mini Abdominoplasty, then non-surgical skin tightening may be of help. You will need 4-5 treatments to get the full benefit.

Choose an Experienced Surgeon Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

If you are considering any type of Plastic Surgery, your health and safety are the most important factors in your decision. After all, a Tummy Tuck is an elective procedure, you do not have to have an Abdominoplasty, and it is your choice. So choosing a doctor who is an expert and is concerned about your overall health and well being should be the most important factor in your decision once you decide to have a Tummy Tuck.

You can find a listing of Board Certified Plastic Surgeons in your area who are expert at Cosmetic Plastic Surgery by visiting the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Read the link below to see before and after pictures of the various Tummy Tuck procedures.