Tummy Tuck Options?

I'm having second thoughts about having a full tummy tuck. I'm wondering, can I have the incision to tighten my stomach muscles and just cut the lower belly skin without necessarily pulling my rib cage skin down and moving my belly button?

Doctor Answers 7

VIDEO OF TUMMY TUCK OPTIONS (click below for link)

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I have prepared a video which depicts the four basic types of tummy tucks below fo your review. This may help to explain the differences and which procedure will provide the best solution for your specific condition.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Tummy tuck versus something less extensive

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As you already know, a full tummy tuck entails excision of skin and fat from the abdominal wall, and also provides access to the midline abdominal wall muscles from sternum to pubic bone, allowing for tightening. An incision is made around the belly button to allow for greater mobility of the abdominal wall skin and fat and also to provide better surgical exposure for muscle tightening.

It may be possible to tighten the abdominal wall muscles superior to the belly button without making an incision around the belly button, but could be challening for your surgeon and will require expertise with an endoscope. Without making the incision around the belly button, less skin will be able to be removed from the upper abdomen.

Although it may be possible to do what you want, I can't think of a reason for doing it. One, the belly button incision tends to heal quite nicely with time (feel free to refer to the photo gallery of my web site). Two, if you undergo a full muscle plication, I'd expect you to have the same amount of postoperative pain and to have the same postoperative activity restrictions.

If you want less downtime and less postoperative restrictions, a mini tummy tuck may be an option for you. This is essentially a lower abdominal incision without muscle tightening. Not all patients are great candidates for this surgery, but it would be worthwhile to discuss with your surgeon.

Best of luck.

Tummy Tuck Options

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Thank you for you question.    It is difficult to give accurate recommendation without an in office exam.  When I evaluate the abdomen, I assess:
1.  The amount of loose skin

2.  The volume of fatty tissue
3.  The degree of muscle laxity.

I evaluate this in each of 3 areas:
1.  Upper Abdomen

2.  Area around the Belly Button
3.  Lower Abdomen

MINI TUMMY TUCK: If a patient has loose skin, fatty tissue, and muscle laxity limited to the Lower Abdomen, then I recommend the mini tummy tuck.  In order to qualify for this, the patient must have good skin and muscle tone in their upper abdomen and area around the belly button.   I will frequently perform liposuction of these areas with my Mini Tummy Tuck to enhance the overall contour.

FULL TUMMY TUCK:  this is for patients who have loose skin and muscle laxity of the upper abdomen, belly button area, and lower abdomen.   This procedure tightens all 3 areas with a bikini line incision.   I often encorporate liposuction with my full tummy tuck as I feel it offers a superb end result.
EXTENDED TUMMY TUCK:  This works well for patients who have loose skin that extends over the hip bone into the flank area.   I will perform extensive liposuction and skin excision to the hip and flank area combined with full tummy tuck.

BODY LIFT/BELT LIPECTOMY:  this is essentially a 360 degree tummy tuck which involves removal of loose skin and fatty tissue of the lower back and buttocks, in addition to the extended tummy tuck.
I wish you a safe recovery and amazing result!!

Dr. Gill

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Possible Reverse Tummy Tuck.

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it is impossible to determine whether or not a reverse upper abdominoplasty would be an option for you. But it is an option for some women.
Not infrequently I see patients in whom there is as much skin laxity in the upper abdomen as there is in the lower abdomen. In fact, some patients after pregnancy will have fairly 'toned' lower abdominal skin, but very lax and redundant upper abdominal skin. In these situations, the removal of skin in a vertically downward direction ( a conventional tummy tuck) is not adequate to correct the upper abdominal skin laxity. Such patients are often very good candidates for what I refer to as a 'reverse upper' abdominoplasty.
This surgical technique involves removing excess abdominal skin vertically upwards using incisions hidden in the inframammary folds underneath the breasts. In general, this operation is best reserved for patients with fairly full or at least slightly droopy breasts, which serve to nicely conceal the inframammary folds. An important part of this procedure is the placement of permanent lifting sutures that elevate the lower skin edge, following removal of excess skin, to the upper skin edge in the inframammary fold. These permanent sutures ensure that the resulting surgical scar remains hidden within the inframammary fold.
A great advantage of this procedure is that the patient's original belly button is preserved, and thus there are absolutely no surgical scars that are visible when wearing a two-piece swimsuit or typical underwear (bra and panties). Additionally, because this procedure generally requires less skin undermining and thus less interruption of the normal blood supply of abdominal skin, more thorough liposuction of the waist and back can be performed at the same time.
Many patients having this surgery, therefore, undergo a reverse upper abdominoplasty combined with a lower 'mini' abdominoplasty, tightening of the entire length of the rectus abdominis muscles, and liposuction of the circumferential trunk - and keep the belly button with which they were born. I usually refer to this operation as 'reverse upper / modified lower abdominoplasty'.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Tummy tuck

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Without examining you, it would be difficult to answer this. However, I do not like the way the umbilicus usually looks when the lower abdominal askin is pulled down alot without freeing it from the umbilicus.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Tummy tucks are a great solution for stretch marks and loose skin

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Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. In our practice, when we evaluate our tummy tuck patients, we determine how much skin and fat can safely be removed. We then show the patients the length of the incisions and how the length of incision will determine how much tissue can safely be resected. If the extra skin and fat is only in your central abdomen, you may only need a mini tummy tuck. Discuss with your plastic surgeon your concerns and ask him or her to show you the length of the proposed incision in what is possible to make this as short as possible.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Tummy Tuck

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I agree with Samir above.

If you are a candidate for a "full" tummy tuck, then that is the procedure you should undergo. The reason for this is that there isn't much of a difference in the final scar between a "mini" tummy tuck and a "full" tummy tuck, maybe an inch or two on each side. However the benefits of the full tummy tuck contour far outweigh this minor extension in the scar; you will have a tighter/flatter abdominal wall and contour.

It is rare to see patients who are true candidates for a "mini" tummy tuck.

You would need to be evaluated to determine the best procedure for you.

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 412 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.