"Define Your Waistline" - Dr. Nia Banks, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon


Of all the procedures that are offered by Plastic Surgeons, I get the most questions about tummy tucks (abdominoplasty) and liposuction.  What is a tummy tuck? What is a mini-tummy tuck?  What about just having liposuction?  What about the scar?

There are many ways to address unwanted abdominal fat and skin and improve the definition of your waist.  What works for you will depend on your body type.  Everyone is different, so each person should have a unique solution.  

Many women find that they have stubborn areas of fat that remain despite healthy habits, like a reasonable diet and regular exercise.  If you’ve lost a lot of weight, you may also find that you have extra skin that won’t go away.  Women that have been pregnant may find that they have excess abdominal skin and stretched out abdominal muscles (a condition called rectus diastasis).  Unfortunately, neither of these improves much with exercise.  Okay, let’s answer some of those questions. 

What is a tummy tuck? 

A tummy tuck, or an abdominoplasty, is a procedure that surgically removes excess skin and fat.  The entire abdominal wall is lifted, pulled-down and redraped to maximize the amount of skin removed.  The lining (fascia) of the abdominal wall muscles is plicated, or tightened.  A full abdominoplasty will take care of excess skin and tighten the abdominal wall above and below the belly button.   This helps to flatten the tummy and redefine the waist.

What is a mini-tummy tuck? 

A mini-abdominoplasty uses a shorter scar and will address skin excess and abdominal wall laxity limited to the area below the belly button.  Your plastic surgeon will weigh these two options with you carefully to determine if a mini- or a full-tuck is best for you.  Proper patient selection is very important is predicting a good outcome with a mini-tummy tuck.  If you have concern about excess skin above the belly button or abdominal wall laxity above the belly button, a mini-tummy tuck will most likely not improve these areas.

What about liposuction? 

Liposuction is a powerful tool that can greatly improve body contours.  Liposuction is ideal for men or women that have stubborn areas of subcutaneous fat and can be done simply and safely with minimal downtime.  However, it does not remove excess skin.  Some patients that have good skin elasticity (little or no stretch marks) will have great skin retraction after liposuction.  If you have a stretched out abdominal wall or significant amounts of excess skin, liposuction alone may not address all of your concerns.

What about the scar?

The scar from a mini-tummy tuck is usually shorter than the scar from a full tummy tuck.  Both are well hidden under panties and swimsuit bottoms. 

Key points:  take care of yourself, you deserve it.  Always exercise regularly and eat well; it’s worth the time and effort.  Choose a plastic surgeon that has a full tool-belt: liposuction, mini-tummy tuck, and full tummy tuck.  They’ll be sure to choose the right tools for you.  Call today to schedule your consultation!

Article by
Washington Plastic Surgeon