Is it really necessary to cut across the entire lower belly during Tummy Tuck? (photos)

Is it possible to have just the area directly over the pelvis cut, instead of the entire hip-to-hip area during tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 11

Short scar abdominoplasty

The length of the scar is determined by the amount of excess skin that is present  The more excess skin to be removed the longer the scar needs to be to accomplish the desired result.  The scar can be kept low and generally heals very well.

Pleasanton Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Is it really necessary to cut across the entire lower belly during Tummy Tuck?

The scar should only be as long as necessary to remove the loose skin and prevent residual laxity at the scar margins.
Kenneth Hughes, MD
Los Angeles, CA

The amount of excess skin determines how long your tummy tuck scar will be

and you are in the gray zone for needing a hip to hip scar.  If you limit your surgeon to the length of the incision, then you have to accept whatever laxity may persist due to not being able to cut it out completely.  

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Limiting the tummy tuck incision

Yes, this is an option but it will limit the amount of skin that can be removed.  The shorter the incision, the more mini the tummy tuck.  This is best discussed in person to demonstrate the options.  

Justin Yovino, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Is it really necessary to cut across the entire lower belly during Tummy Tuck

The length of the incision is dictated by the amount of skin that needs to be removed. Limiting the skin incision to what you are suggesting will leave you with loose skin laterally and an uneven result that will not look right.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Is it really necessary to cut across the entire lower belly during Tummy Tuck?

It's a good question.
The length of the tummy tuck incision is determined by how much excess skin needs to be removed. A full tummy tuck, where skin is tightened throughout the tummy, requires an incision from hip to hip. This incision is kept low, so that it is hidden by clothing.
A mini tummy tuck uses a shorter incision, but only removes skin from below the umbilicus. It's a good surgery, but only for a small number of people who need just a little skin removal.

Short scar tummy tuck

The length of the scar with the Tummy Tuck procedure is variable.  Shorter scar versions have been described but do not tighten the skin of the abdomen as well as techniques with a longer scar.  A shorter scar also makes it harder to tighten the muscle layer above the belly button.  A well positioned scar is easily hidden under swimwear and undergarments.  You will get a better result if you don't limit your surgeon to a short scar.

Tummy tuck variations: how to know which is best

You are describing what is called a mini tummy tuck, which usually improves only the lower abdomen. In your case, the position of your belly button is quite high, which sometimes means a mini tummy tuck with umbilical float might be considered. This moves the belly button a little bit lower but still has only minimal effect in the upper abdomen. See the link below for a description of the many variations of tummy tucks.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Is it really necessary to cut across the entire lower belly during Tummy Tuck?

There are several variations to the TT procedure. But in the standard TT, the wider the lower scar, the more skin we can take away and the tighter we can get the new abdomen. A short scar limits the tightening to the lower 3 inches or so of the abdominal skin. There are no short cuts to good results.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Is it really necessary to cut across the entire lower belly during Tummy Tuck?

There are a variety of surgical procedures or combinations that can produce good results in patients with abdominal laxity, depending on multiple factors including their anatomy and degree of desired improvement: A mini tummy tuck which would have a shorter incision, an umbilical float modified tummy tuck which also would have a shorter incision, a full abdominoplasty. Each of these can be performed with or without liposuction. They produce different degrees of improvement.

Generally if there is significant loose skin above the umbilicus (belly button), as there appears to be in your photos, a full tummy tuck will result in a greater correction and better outcome.

Following the advice of anyone who would presume to tell you what to do based on two dimensional photos without taking a full medical history, examining you, feeling and assessing your tissue tone, discussing your desired outcome and fully informing you about the pros and cons of each option would not be in your best interest. Find a plastic surgeon that you are comfortable with and one that you trust and listen to his or her advice. The surgeon should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person.   Robert Singer, MD  FACS
La Jolla, California

Robert Singer, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 19 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.