Different Kinds of Tummy Tucks

January 24, 2020

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Abdominoplasty; the name sounds a bit ominous, right? More commonly known as Tummy tuck.  It is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgery procedures in Charlotte, NC.  The skin of the abdomen can be stretched beyond repair after pregnancy and extreme weight loss much like an old pair of underwear.   Sometimes, the only answer is a Tummy tuck.

The success of massive weight loss brings great joy, but the loose skin left behind is an unpleasant reminder of things past.  To many patients, it is even worse than the weight lost.  The exorcism is not complete.

Tummy tuck can remove that skin and give you the tummy you envisioned at the beginning of your journey.

For some women, an Tummy tuck can be necessary following pregnancy.  Babies stretch and damage the skin.  The six-pack muscles get separated and stretched as well, creating a round abdomen that makes some women look permanently pregnant.  Adding insult to injury, that extra baby weight can be hard to shed.  These changes can lead to poor body image.  You feel young, vibrant and full of life on the inside, but your stomach now looks like it belongs to an older woman. You no longer feel like yourself.

Many women try to combat that kangaroo pouch with diet and exercise.

The problem is whipping a dead horse cannot produce results. Short of a creative miracle, you cannot redeem that skin. A personal trainer or chef will not get it done (despite what they tell you). A reality check is in order. If this situation describes you, a Tummy tuck may be the ticket. Don’t feel alone. Almost half of all Tummy tucks are done on women in the 25-35 year age range.

In the world of Tummy tucks, there are multiple options available, and the terminology can be confusing.

Mini Tummy tuck: this is for that rare mommy who has a small jungle pouch of the lower abdomen. It involves removing a small ellipse of skin within the boundaries of the pubic hairline. It allows access to the 6-pack muscles if they need to be repaired.

Modified Tummy tuck: Like the mini, a modified Tummy tuck is for that mommy with loose lower abdominal skin but more of it. The scar is from hipbone to hipbone. You can also repair the muscles.

Full Tummy tuck: this is sometimes known as a “full tummy.” It involves an incision from hipbone to hipbone and around the belly button. This is the most commonly performed Tummy tuck after pregnancy. After pregnancy, most women have loose skin from the pubis (and often of the pubis!) up the rib cage along with damage 6-pack muscles. A full Tummy tuck is what they need! One important point to make is that most women need muscle repair after pregnancy. Fixing the muscles is a powerful tool in restoring and improving a women’s contour or shape. Many non-plastic surgeons who do Tummy tucks under local or tumescent anesthesia cannot fix the muscles, and women end up looking like sausages, tight and round!

Lipo Tummy tuck: this is a newer technique that combines a Tummy tuck with liposuction. In the US, it was considered malpractice to perform liposuction of the abdomen with a Tummy tuck. If a patient needed liposuction and a Tummy tuck, it would be done in stages. More recently, surgeons in South America perfected what is sometimes called the “Avelar” technique, named after a Brazilian plastic surgeon. He used liposuction to contour and thin out the abdominal flap prior to skin removal. One important point is that actual abdominal dissection is more limited or discontinuous preserving the blood supply. This is the most commonly performed procedure at Providence Plastic Surgery as it has the most power to transform a woman who has both loose skin and fat.

Extended Tummy tuck: this is simply a full tummy with the incision going beyond the hip bone onto the hip. It is ideal for a woman with loose skin that extends onto and beyond the hips. Women have who gained a large amount of weight during pregnancy (> 50 lbs.) or underwent massive weight loss often require this approach.

Circumferential Tummy tuck: this is sometimes called a “belt lipectomy.” It is THE procedure for massive weight loss patients with loose skin of the entire trunk. It is basically two Tummy tucks in one. It is a longer procedure, more expensive, and more risky with more complications. For this reason, it can be done in stages with the second stage being performed under local or tumescent anesthesia to improve safety and save the patient money.

Have you been considering a tummy tuck? Call for a consult in our Charlotte, North Carolina office or request a Virtual consult.