Do Plastic Surgeons Tailor Tummy Tuck for Patient's Specific Needs?

I am 35 years old and gave birth to my last child in March 2009 (3rd birth/c-section). I am 5'4" and about 160 lbs. And while I work out rigorously 4-5 times a week, (and have for several years) I can't seem to get my weight lowered (pre-baby was around 150 lbs.).

Most of my weight is in my belly. I want to know if plastic surgeons tailor the Tummy Tuck procedure for the patient's needs (flanks, skin removal, etc) or is there a standard that is followed? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 27

Tailoring of Tummy Tuck to Individual Needs

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Most well-trained plastic surgeons will indeed "tailor" the procedure to the problems and concerns of each individual patient. For example, I almost always will perform and muscle repair and some limited liposuction of the flanks, but a few patients do not require either or both of these. On the other hand, some patients will benefit froma secondary liposuction of the upper abdomen which I usually delay. Some patients also benefit from an extended tummy tuck incision. All of these things should be discussed with you at the time of your consultation.

Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Custom tailored tummy tuck

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I think all tummy tucks have variations due to what each individual patient presents with. Having said that, a tummy tuck will improve the anterior abdominal area, but not much else. If there are areas of concern, you might need additional surgery on that area, possibly something like liposuction. Additionally, one thing that a tummy tuck will be able to improve, not matter if it is customized, is the amount of fat inside of your abdominal cavity. This is called visceral fat and is the fat around your organs, below the muscles of the anterior abdominal wall. That is only reduced with diet and exercise. If a surgeon were to try to tighten the muscles of the abdomen to make the waistline look smaller in an individual that has a large amount of visceral fat, you might end up with a flatter profile but a wider waist as that pressure will push the visceral fat out to the sides. All of the areas of concern have to be discussed with your surgeon so they can give you a proposed game plan of what can and cannot be helped.

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

Plastic surgeons ALWAYS tailor Tummy Tuck for patient's specific needs

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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) is ALWAYS tailored to the patient's morphology and needs. The length of the transverse incision is designed to be hidden by your panties and is only as long as your skin excess. Liposuction of the back and flanks are done, as needed, based on your presentation.

EVERY single plastic surgeon on this panel has heard the following line thousands of times : "while I work out rigorously 5-7 times a week, (...for X years ED) I can't seem to get my weight lowered (pre-baby was around 150 lbs.)." The reason for it is that NO amount of exercise can bring your tummy muscles (Rectus abdominis) back together again. They were stretched out and split by pregnancy and while exercise may tone they, they will remain in their sideways positions rather than in the midline where they belong.

Pick a real Plastic surgeon ( who answers all your questions and who enjoys performing abdominoplasties and your ONLY REGRET would by not having had your abdominoplasty earlier. You will love it!

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck should be modified to address specific needs

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Most surgeons well versed in abdominoplasty or tummy tuck will not approach all individuals in the same way. The degree of diastasis, the presence of a hernia, the variation in skin laxity, the amount of subcutaneous fat, the presence of abdominal scars, all will affect and influence how the procedure is performed, or what techniques will be applied. Custom is the key word as no two are exactly alike.

Best of luck!

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Tailoring tummy tucks to patients

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  Yes, most plastic surgeons do their tummy tucks according to the individual needs of the patient.  This is not to say that there is a great deal of differences in most candidates. 

  There are many kinds of tummy tucks.  Mini, regular, belt, fleur-de-lis, etc.  In these cases, the patient will fit a category and the recommendations given.

  Personally, I am very much in favor of liposuction with almost all tummy tucks.  I just do not see the downside and the upsides can be absolutely amazing.

        Steven M. Lynch, M.D.  Albany, New York

Custom Tummy Tuck / abdominoplasty

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Plastic surgeons should customize a tummy tuck. Therefore, there is no 1 price for a tummy tuck since no 2 procedures are exactly alike. Beware of “price lists” offering cookie cutter surgery.
Cutting costs by cutting corners in a tummy tuck can result in unfavorable results or possibly serious complications.
After checking a surgeon’s background, training and experience look at before and after photos. Scars around the belly button are a dead giveaway of a tummy tuck. There should NOT be visible scars around the belly button. Fullness in the upper abdomen is a result that would not be the ideal for most patients. Plastic surgeons who are unable to create natural looking belly buttons, or who rush through surgery without addressing upper abdominal fullness may charge lower prices than plastic surgeons who have the training, ability and interest in providing the very best possible result.
Some physicians charge an additional fee for body garments, pain control devices and even monitoring after surgery.
Select your plastic surgeon based on the quality of their work, not the price they charge for surgery. The most expensive plastic surgeon is not always the best, but the lowest price is definitely not the best way to choose a plastic surgeon for a tummy tuck or any other surgical procedure.

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

Tummy Tuck Options?

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Thank you for thoughtful question?

Yes there are different types of  'tummy tucks"  they can be performed depending on the  specific patient's  needs and goals.


In my opinion, for example,the mini tummy talk is an  operation that  produces very limited results and is very rarely indicated. It involves a shorter incision but does not address the majority of the abdominal wall issues present for most patients who present consultation. For example, the area of skin excised is quite small. The abdominal wall musculature is addressed below the umbilicus leaving the upper number wall potentially lax. The appearance of the umbilicus is not necessarily addressed sufficiently.


For most patients who have had pregnancies and/or weight loss a full abdominoplasty is necessary to achieve the desired results. Of course, there are downsides (including a longer scar and probably a longer recovery time) but for most patients the benefits outweigh the downsides. It is not unusual to see patients who've had mini tummy tuck  surgery present for  revisionary surgery.


For some patients an area of concern may be the “muffin top” (flank or lower back skin and adipose tissue).Treatment of the stubborn muffin top involves excision (lipectomy) of excess skin and adipose tissue. Liposuction  surgery alone  will potentially leave you with loose skin and an  unsatisfactory result.


Treatment of this stubborn area involves excision (lipectomy) of excess skin and adipose tissue. Liposuction  surgery alone  will potentially leave the patient with loose skin and an  unsatisfactory result.


Although not relevant in many cases, patients who are undergoing a standard tummy tuck procedure  should be aware however that often an “extended” tummy tuck is necessary to treat the muffin top area. This extended tummy tuck procedure involves flank and back skin and adipose tissue excision as well as liposuction surgery. If liposuction alone is done the patient may still end up with the muffin top and require further surgery to improve the waistline in the future.


It is important to work with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon to obtain advice (based on good ethics and judgment) to  improve your chances of a successful outcome and minimize the need for further surgery.

I hope this helps.

Tailoring tummy tuck procedure to each patient

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Absolutely.  A plastic surgeon that is well trained and loves what he/she does will not only tailor the procedure for your needs and goals but he/she will help you select the tummy tuck that will be best for you including:

1) Endoscopic TT

2) Mini TT

3) Full TT

4) Extended TT

5) Reverse TT

6) Circumferential TT

7) Fleur-de-lis TT

Your plastic surgeon should tailor even the specific type of tummy tuck to your needs including final incision length, incision position, liposuction, extent of muscle tightening, etc.  Look at the your plastic surgeons before and after photos as well as his/her web reviews as these will help you make your final decision.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

The best surgeon for you

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It is important to express your desired outcome with the surgeon you choose to perform your surgery. Each person is very different and their expectations change. As board certified plastic surgeons it is part of our job to consider the wants and expectations of our patients and tailor the procedure appropriately. Visit several surgeons and choose the one who you believe understands your goals as well as you do.

Customized tummy tuck

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Your surgeon should absolutely customize your procedure to fit not only your anatomy but your individual goals. All procedures, including abdominoplasty, have multiple factors and issues to consider. For tummy tucks, there can be competing concerns with length of incision, position and level of incision, removal of stretch marks, variable tightening of skin and location of skin tightening, amount and distribution of fat, risk and benefit of liposuction, and ability to move or not move the belly button.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

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.