The Different Kinds of Tummy Tuck


When a patient who desires improvement of their abdomen comes to see me, I always ask what they know before we start. Many do not know much, which allows me to teach, and many others know some, which makes the teaching especially effective. Every once in a while, however, someone will come in desiring one solution when another is far more likely to provide them with a good result. Often, the disconnect between desired procedure and correct procedure comes from an incomplete understanding of the options available.  The discussion we have takes a long time, usually close to an hour, but I thought it would be useful to post a very quick overview of what options are out there.
There are essentially Five kinds of tummy tucks.

1. Mini: This can mean a lot of things but, at its core, means that the belly button is not freed at the skin and so the skin that can be removed is limited to an amount below the belly button. The length of this scar is not often a lot shorter than other methods and the term mini applies more to how much skin is removed. This is not a great operation for most people. The muscle can be tightened or left alone depending on the problem.

2. Standard: A standard abdominoplasty involves an incision that is roughly hip to hip but depends upon the person. It usually ends at the roll. This involves cutting the skin out between the pubic bone and as far above the belly button is possible. The muscle is repaired and the skin pulled down like a window shade to the level of the pubic bone. At the same time, a little liposuction is done in the flanks to further improve shape.

3. Extended: Similar to a Standard except the incision is carried as far back as necessary on the hips. This extra incision can allow a fair amount more skin be removed.

4. Fleur-de-Lis: Similar to an extended or standard except there is also a vertical incision in the midline. This is typically used when pulling mostly up and down still leaves enough excess that a good shapely figure is not likely. This adds the downside to an up and down incision but can be very powerful in helping tighten the sides and providing a great shape in clothes.

5. Circumferential or Lower Body Lift: These carry the incision all of the way around and remove tissue in the back as well, allowing the buttocks and hips to be lifted and smoothed to some degree as well. Again, this added scar can provide a dramatic improvement but the downtime is more and the risk of temporary complications increased.
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Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon