Does it look like I would require a vertical incision during a tummy tuck? (photo)

I am considering a tummy tuck and just starting my research. I have not been examined by any surgeons yet. However, I am curious to know if anyone can tell (from the photo) if I would require a vertical incision. Is my belly button too high? Does it look like I will get good results? I'm 5'5" 130 lbs. Thanks.

Doctor Answers 18

Vertical incision and tummy tuck

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Thank you for the question and the photo. Generally speaking, most tummy tuck are performed without the need for vertical incision. I your case I can see your concern. But, to get an accurate answer an unperson consultation with an experience plastic surgeon will be help you getting the right answer. 

San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck

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Based on your photos you appear to be a candidate for a traditional full tummy tuck without needing a vertical incision.  For more in depth answers make a consultation appointment for a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who performs abdominoplasty surgery. Best of luck to you

Milind K. Ambe, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Does it look like I would require a vertical incision during a tummy tuck

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I think that with the normal low placement of the tummy tuck incision that there is a high probabllity that you will have a vertical extension of the incision as you do not have enough skin between your belly button and ribg cage to pull the old belly button site out

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Tummy tuck candidate

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Without an exam in person it isn't possible to determine if you would require a vertical incision as part of your tummy tuck. It certainly appears that a traditional tummy tuck will likely give a very nice result. Consult with a few plastic surgeons in person for more information.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 410 reviews

Do I need a vertical incision for a Tummy Tuck

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In the 30 years I've been in practice I have never needed to use a vertical incision.  I cannot see any reason you would need one.

Christopher Costanzo, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Good Result, Yes - Vertical Incision, It Depends.

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Most patients who have a tummy tuck will not require a vertical incision to close the opening that the belly button originally occupied. In fact, if you make the cross-wise incision that begins the tummy tuck procedure high enough, no one will require a vertical incision. You'll always be able to remove the belly button opening when you trim away the excess skin since it's going to be a short distance between the opening and the cross-wise incision. Most patients, however, want a low cross-wise incision so that they will end up with a low scar that can be hidden when wearing underwear or bathing suits. So the question becomes whether or not a vertical incision will result with a cross-wise incision that is low enough.

This depends two things: 1) How stretchable is the skin above the belly button since this must stretch enough to allow the belly button opening to be pulled down far enough so that it can be removed when the excess skin is cut away. 2) It also has to do with how far it is from the belly button to the cross-wise incision, since a long distance will increase the chance that the skin above the belly button opening will not stretch enough to allow removal of the belly button opening.

To judge these two factors, you'll need to visit with a plastic surgeon so that the doctor can examine you, test the stretch of your skin, and make an informed prediction as to whether or not you'll have a vertical scar. Sometimes, though, things may work out differently in surgery than expected. The looser the skin above the belly button and the shorter the distance between the belly button and the cross-wise incision, however, the less likely you are to need a vertical scar.

I hope this somewhat lengthy answer is of help!

George Sanders, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Re-establish Your Scar Priorities

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You are not the only one who tries to avoid a vertical closure of the umbilical defect; most of my colleagues do too, to the great disservice of the patient when they get their horizontal scar placed too high.  You are a great candidate for a tummy tuck, and if your horizontal incision is placed where it should, you will have a vertical scar, which will look like a fine little stretch mark in your lower abdomen. 

Proper placement of the horizontal scar should not vary from patient to patient; it belongs in the border between the abdominal and thigh aesthetic units, and no more than 2 inches above your genital commissure. This will lead to the best cosmetic result possible, and is based in the same principles that guide placement of face lift scars. 

Go visit a few ABPS certified/ASAPS member surgeons that perform body contouring procedures.  Also consider surgeons that perform progressive tension sutures and drainless tummy tucks. 

Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 100 reviews


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Thank you for the question and from the photo alone you will not need a vertical incision but what procedure would be best for you would be determined during an examination.  So go on some complimentary consultations with experts in your area and become informed

Dr Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews


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No you will not need a vertical incision.  I have performed many tummys like yours .  Just the lower abdominal incision is all that is necessary. 

You our will do well.  Go to a board certified plastic surgeon.  Good luck!!

Andrew T. Cohen, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Vertical incision

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Your belly button does appear a bit high but you may have enough excess skin to preclude the need for a vertical incision. Please consult a BCPS in-person for a complete examination.

Be well. 


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.