Will Vertical Incision Be Used with Tummy Tuck?

I am getting ready to have Liposuction with Tummy Tuck. I wanted to know if there is reason to have a vertical incision with the Tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 9

Vertical incisions for tummy tucks

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It is very rare to use a vertical incision when performing a tummy tuck on a "virgin "abdomen (an abdomen without prior surgery). Vertical incisions however may be very useful in those who have had a procedure using a midline incision. This may improve and accentuate the waistline in some cases. It is also very useful in patients who have experienced massive weight loss with gastric bypass/banding procedures .

Tummy tuck incisions.

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I have published about the vertical incision in tummy tuck.  It can be useful, but very few women need it.  I only use it in massive weight loss patients (around a hundred ponds).

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Vertical incisions in a tummy tuck

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The use of a vertical incision in a tummy tuck should be rare as these never look as good as horizontal ones and cannot be hidden in bathing suits and undergarments.

The only patients I use one on are those who already have one or those with massive weight loss where there would be too much lax skin left over without using both a horizontal and a vertical incision.

Vertical Incision and Tumm Tuck

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The standard incision for a tummy tuck is from anterior hip, across the lower abdomen, to the other anterior hip. In addition the belly button is incised around it. When the skin flap is elevated up to the rib cage and pulled down it is marked and the excess is removed. If the excess skin is not enough so that the incision is at the top of the belly button incision then the remainder of the belly button incision is closed in a vertical fashion.

In addition if the lower incision is made too low and there isn't sufficient excess skin again the belly button incision will need to be closed in a vertical fashion.

Occasionally a general surgeon may perform a gastric bypass using a vertical midline incision. I have found this to be an excellent way to get a great tummy tuck result. Both transverse and vertical skin can be removed. This really pulls the waist in giving and excellent contour.

A Vertical Incision Will Give You More Waist Definition

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Some patients have a "muffin top" and complain of this as much as any overhang they may have in the pubic area.  These individuals may be good candidates for a vertical incision.  Can't tell about your case without photos, though.

Incisions for Tummy Tuck

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There are a number of different incisions that can be used for tummy tucks. The vertical incision is used if:

1. There is excessive skin from side to side

2. There are scars that would be approached best with a vertical incision

3. A small scar in the vertical direction may be needed if the belly button hole is not removed with the excess skin.

You should discuss the all the options with your surgeon.

Vertical incision is rare

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There are patients that require a vertical incision with an abdominoplasty. They usually have lost considerable amount of weight after gastric bypass or lap banding. Most patient do well with a low horizontal incision above the pubic area. There is also a small set of patients that require a short vertical extension of their incision at the mid line just above the pubic incision. This is reserved for patients who don't have loose enough skin to excise all the skin from the pubic area to the navel. A photo would help us to see what procedure is right for you.

Leslie H. Stevens, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck Incision

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Without a photo or exam, this question cannot be answered with certainty.  In my practice , a vertical incision would be indicated extremely rarely.  This question should be answered by your surgeon.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Vertical incision not usually used for Tummy Tuck

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Usually, tummy tuck surgery does not include a vertical incision. Exceptions include large volume weight loss patients and those patients who "don't have enough skin" for a belly button re-positioning without a vertical incision. Discuss this with your plastic surgeon at consultation.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange 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.