How to Choose a Surgeon for a Tummy Tuck when Opinions Differ? Confused! (photo)

I've consulted with 3 board certified plastic surgeons & all 3 have a different opinions as to what I need done. I'm 42 yrs, 5'2, 108 lbs. & have 2 children born via C section (2 1/2 yrs & 16 mos). One surgeon suggested a mini TT with Vaser lipo to upper abdomen & flanks, another a full TT no lipo & the other a full TT with lipo of the upper abdomen only. This leaves me confused, don't know what to base my decision on. Please help, would greatly appreciate opinions, what do I need done? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 15

A full tummy tuck may be your best option.

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Thank you for your question and photographs. You are in excellent shape and should get an excellent result from a tummy tuck.

I do understand your confusion and it is understandable that you have received a different opinions

You are not overweight and do not have much excess fat under your skin so I would eliminate the need for liposuction unless you want it in the flank area.

A mini tummy tuck will remove the loose skin below your belly button and allow for a very low incision near the pubis. However a mini tummy tuck will not allow tightening of the skin above your belly button and will not allow for the reconstruction of the belly button area. The lipo is often done with a mini to compensate for inability to address the upper abdomen and around the belly button.

A full tummy tuck will require an incision that is a little higher than the pubic hairline. This incision can usually be covered with a two-piece bathing suit but certainly not a string bikini.

The benefit of a full tummy tuck is that the upper and lower abdominal skin will be tightened and the belly button area restored. However the disadvantage of a full tummy Tuck is a scar that is a little higher.

How to Choose a Surgeon for a Tummy Tuck when Opinions Differ? Confused!

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Hello! Thank you for your question. Consult with two or more surgeons who you are happy with their postoperative photographs and those who you, most importantly, feel comfortable and confident with. Use the opportunity to ask questions as well as visit with staff and investigate the accredited facilities they work out of.

Given qualifications and certification equal, you must decide for yourself who you are most comfortable with and confident with who will meet your goals and expectations. Cost may differ just on expertise and the aforementioned additional training and what that additional expertise training has afforded to his/her patients. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Keep choosing best surgeon trough ASAPS page

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doing  at same time vasser lypo plus, TT ,teach you a great knowledge from both surgeons than proposed this combined surgery to you, they are thinking the best for you ,but to do that .represents years of knowledge and experience, people than do not knows , enough simply did not know than this mixed procedures might be  realized, so more clear or dont?

Ramon Navarro, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon

How to choose

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I personally prefer the full tummy tuck over a mini tummy tuck in most situations. Because you do not look like you have excessive fat, liposuction may not be needed. However, it may be suggested by some if contouring was seen as desired. As I'm sure you know, nothing can take the place of a face to face exam with a patient, and it sounds like you've got a good start by seeing several board certified plastic surgeons. It often helps to look through before-after photos so you have a real sense of their work as they've probably performed the same procedure(s) recommended to you on other patients as well.

Robert N. Young, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Combining liposuction with tummy tuck is not necessary with BMI = 20

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At 5’2 and 108 lbs you are thin (BMI=20) and your photographs show very little fat.  The mini tummy tuck removes a small amount of skin and a full tummy tuck removes a larger amount of skin.  Liposuction removes fat only and does nothing with the skin.  Liposuction is combined with tummy tucks when additional fat needs to be removed, otherwise a tummy tuck suffices.  Therefore, I recommend Abdominoplasty alone.  If you are not planning future pregnancies, there is a new technique called Abdominoplasty with Mesh Reinforcement.  The mesh augments the mechanical strength of the abdominal wall, results in early satiety, weight loss and maintains the reduced weight.   


Best Wishes,


Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

Abdominoplasty opinions difffer

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I would not even consider a mini-abdominoplasty you will be disappointed with the limited results from this procedure.  You have enough redundant abdominal skin and laxity of the anterior abdominal wall that a standard abdominoplasty will yield the best result.  There may be some compromise on the length of the incision and any associated liposuction but most plastic surgeons would get the job done correctly.  There will always be differences in opinion between surgeons.  This is  what makes plastic surgery challenging.  Each operation is different. 

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Choosing the right plastic surgeon for tummy tuck when you have diffrent opinions

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Well you are on the right path when choosing a surgeon who is board certified but who would you choose if the surgeons have different opinions? Look for a surgeon who makes the incision below the bikini line, make sure that the belly button looks natural and nice and make sure that you read the reviews past tummy tuck patients have left. Look at the clues and you will find the right plastic surgeon. Good luck.

Ricardo Vega, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

3 Different Opinions...Who to Choose?

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   Dear Elsa300,   You have started your journey the right way by visiting BC plastic surgeons. There are a variety of ways to get a good result and there is not always a black and white answer to every question. Ultimately it is your decision to choose the surgeon and procedure that makes most sense to you. I would suggest that you look at pre- and post-op photos from each surgeon showing the procedure that each one is suggesting. Finally, from what I see in your photos, I would recommend a full TT with skin resection. I usually reserve conservative upper abdominal liposuction for patients with much thicker skin flaps than you appear to have. Good Luck.

Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

You need a medium sized tummy tuck incision but a full muscle repair.

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When you are upright it does not appear to be as obvious the excess skin as when you are bending over.  When you are bending over it appears there is a lot of loose skin extending to above the belly button.  You are in an intermediate group where you may consider removing just enough skin of the lower abdomen to address the excess skin.  This will result is a medium length incision.  However the skin elevation should go all the way up to the Xiphoid to allow the skin to redrape properly.  The muscle should be repaired from Xiphoid to the pubis as well as the oblique muscles.  This should give you a very flat abdomen.  Doing this technique will not have any scars around the belly button but will relocate your belly button 1 cm lower than it is now.  This should not be noticeable to you.  Also the skin flap will not be under as much tension so should heal better than a full tummy tuck scar.  And since you have a long torso the scar can be placed very low and will not pull up  as high as a full tummy tuck.  I really don't see the need for a lot of liposuction as you appear quite thin.  I would only do some light feathering lipo to make sure all contour areas are smooth.

Benjamin Chu, MD, FACS
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Plastic Surgery - Art and Science

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Thank you for your question.  I'm glad to hear you have been visiting with board certified plastic surgeons only.  Yes, there can be a variety of opinions on how to best treat you.  Plastic surgery is not cookie-cutter - its not one size fits all.   There is indeed a science to cosmetic plastic surgery.  There is clinical evidence to support treatment recommendations and to guide what not to do and what do to.  But there is also an art to plastic surgery.  And there is variance amongst artists on how best to proceed.  This is what I suggest you do:

1. visit with board certified PS (members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons)
2. review your surgeon's before/after photo galleries.  that speaks volumes about their work
3. pick the surgeon and his/her staff with whom you feel most comfortabe
4. have your procedure done ONLY in a fully accredited surgery center or hospital.

Based on your photos, given this significant skin laxity, I would likely recommend a full tummy tuck to treat your loose skin. 

I hope this is helpful.  Best wishes.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

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.