Traditional Tummy Tuck Surgery
A traditional tummy tuck procedure, also called a “full tummy tuck” is the standard surgery for patients who want a flatter abdomen above and below the belly button area. During this procedure, the doctor will make a long horizontal incision from one hip to the other and around the umbilicus. Excess skin and tissue is then removed, with the remaining skin and underlying muscle tissue being pulled tightly over the stomach. The belly button is repositioned before the incision is closed with sutures. This procedure is recommended for patients with excess skin in the bellybutton area and weak abdominal muscles. General anaesthesia is administered to the patient before the procedure can begin. The recovery period usually lasts around 2 weeks with swelling and bruising gradually going down over a longer period of time.
Mini Tummy Tuck Surgery
Mini tummy tuck surgery is less invasive than a standard tummy tuck procedure, but the overall objectives are the same. This technique is better suited for patients with excess skin and tissue below the belly button, making it ideal for slender individuals with a so called “belly pooch” – a small bulge of skin and underlying tissue in the lower abdomen. The surgeon will create a smaller horizontal incision under the belly button before removing excess skin and tightening the stomach muscle beneath. The incision is then closed with sutures. Repositioning of the belly button itself is not necessary, due to the smaller incision made with this technique. Since a mini tummy tuck is less invasive than standard tummy tuck surgery, it can be done under twilight anaesthesia and the recovery period is shorter, at around a week.
Extended Tummy Tuck
An extended tummy tuck, also known as a circumferential lower body lift is a more invasive type of procedure used to address issues of the abdomen, lower back and hips region. This surgery is recommended for individuals who lost a lot of weight and are in good health – this procedure can completely reshape the look of the patient’s body. A long horizontal incision is required to perform this procedure – the incision stretches across the lower belly and the lower back. A vertical incision is made from the lower belly to the bellybutton as well. These incisions will allow the doctor to remove any surplus skin tissue and fatty tissue while tightening the underlying abdominal muscles. Liposuction can be also applied to further reshape the body’s contour for a more aesthetically pleasing result. The belly button is repositioned and all incisions are closed with sutures. Being more invasive than other techniques, extended tummy tuck surgery requires general anaesthesia in order to be performed and a recovery period of at least four weeks.
Which technique is better?
Abdominoplasty techniques differ from patient to patient according to several different factors including the patient’s weight, amount of excess skin and fatty tissue and their expectations from the procedure. Scarring from previous procedures can also play a role in determining which technique will be used.
This content is written and reviewed by our medical content team in January, 2019.