Is my Skin Loose Enough for a Full Tummy Tuck? (photo)

I obtained a LOT of stretch marks during pregnancy, but am very lean now, 8 years later, and my skin has tightened up a LOT. I do have separation of my muscle wall as well as a hernia that I would like repaired, but when I try to pull my skin, I dont get very much. I have not seen any before pictures where anyones skin looked as tight as mine, and am worried my scar would be really high, or that I would require a vertical scar as well. Is there a certain looseness required for a full tuck?

Doctor Answers 8

Loose skin required for a tummy tuck

Your photographs show that you need a full tummy tuck and a hernia with mesh repair at the same time.  The combination of mesh reinforcement at the time of abdominoplasty is an established technique which is an effective treatment for hernia.  This results in a low horizontal scar and no unattractive vertical scars are required.

Best of Luck,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

Skin laxity needed for full tummy tuck

I think you are correct to be concerned about the amount of skin which can be removed from your tummy. In my opinion your excess skin is mostly in your lower tummy. This is best seen on your side view. In a standard type of full tummy tuck I would expect that you will need a vertical closure of your belly button skin after it is pulled downward. If this is not acceptable, you could have the entire horizontal scar raised however I wouldn't recommend this option as it causes the whole scar to be higher than what you really want. If done well I would think that your scars should heal well. Good luck. 

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Tummy Tuck Candidate?

Thank you for the question and pictures.

You should be congratulated on the appearance of your abdomen after pregnancy. Based on your description of muscle separation, hernia, and the amount of “loose skin” present, you are an excellent candidate for tummy tuck surgery. You are correct in that planning of the incision line will be critical (I usually do this with the patient wearing preferred swimming suit or undergarments) and their exists the potential need for a vertical scar.

I would not suggest a “mini tummy tuck”, liposuction surgery,  for any "noninvasive"  technique; this is a situation where the  choices are: no surgery or a full tummy tuck.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Even lean women can have a tummy tuck. Experienced operators know how to keep the scar low.

There is truth in the statement that any woman who has given birth can have a tummy tuck.  Yes, you are definitely a candidate.  A common mistake is to place the incision too high and you are correct in being concerned about that.  You need an experienced plastic surgeon who knows how to keep the scar low, within the bikini line.  Two tricks I use are anchoring sutures on the deep tissues to avoid upward tension on the skin (that can pull the hair-bearing pubic skin up) and flexing the operating table during surgery.  This means you will be stooped over for a week or two, but women don't mind as long as this means the scar will be tucked within the bikini line.  I never use a vertical scar because it is unsightly.  Your muscular "diastasis" can be corrected at the same time.  You don't need any implanted mesh, which can occasionally cause problems and is best avoided.  I've attached a link in case you wish to look at some examples of results (including some lean women).

Eric Swanson, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Is my Skin Loose Enough for a Full Tummy Tuck?

A tummy Tuck is like a face lift in that it is done to create a younger look in a certain area of the body. You have significant loose skin above the belly button. If you only tighten the lower tummy with a mini tummy tuck, you will leave the uper abdomen with its inappropriately older look while the bottom of the abdomen looks better. You will do best with a full Tummy Tuck

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Full tummy tuck will be the best

You do have enough laxity for a full tummy tuck, and the laxity is above and below the belly button and the mini just will not have the correction above the belly button that you need. The skin may not be lax enough to pull all the way down, hence a short vertical scar where the 'old' belly button location came through, but without the umbilical translocation you might be left with loose skin above that still troubles you.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Is my Skin Loose Enough for a Full Tummy Tuck?

Thanks for the great posted photos. In my opinion you need a short scar TT with the muscle repair and hernia repair. The issue is the external incision around the umbilicus. Most likely there will be a vertical incision/scar mid way between the new umbilicus and the inferior horizontal scar. But best to see the PSs in person to discuss in more detail. Regards 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Probably a full tummy tuck

Probably a full tummy tuck will give you the desired result. First, I assume you do not want any more children, then see a board certified plastic surgeon and discuss your issues. They should be able to know if a full tummy tuck would be the best operation.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 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.