Types of Tummy Tucks: Choose What's Best for You

Dr. Sacha Obaid, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Serving Dallas, Plano, Southlake, and Nearby Fort Worth, Texas

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Abdominoplasty, also called a tummy tuck, is a procedure where excess skin is removed from around your abdominal area. This common cosmetic procedure is great for tightening the midsection to give it a lean, trim look. If you're thinking about having a tummy tuck, it's important to know that there are multiple kinds of tummy tucks. All of them can improve the way your abdominal area looks, but each kind is different in terms of two things:

  1. The results they can achieve
  2. How the procedures are performed

Learn a little bit about each kind, so you can decide which is best for you!

Standard Tummy Tuck

The standard tummy tuck procedure is also called a full or traditional tummy tuck. The standard tummy tuck is most suitable for you if you have excess abdominal skin as a result of weight loss or pregnancy. In a standard tummy tuck, an incision is made across the lower part of the abdomen. The surgeon removes excess skin and fat from below the belly button to the lower abdomen. They can also tighten your abdominal muscles, if you like. Once all of this is done, your incision is stitched. The end result is a firmer and smoother waistline and a more sculpted-looking silhouette. While the incision scar may extend almost to your hipbones, your surgeon will do their best to make sure it can be easily hidden beneath underwear or a bikini.

Mini Tummy Tuck

This type of tummy tuck is similar to the standard, but excess skin and fat are only removed from your lower abdominal area, underneath your belly button. Your abdominal muscles can be tightened in this procedure, just as they can in the standard tummy tuck. Because the mini tummy tuck involves less tissue removal, it does not require as large an incision as the standard procedure. This means that there's less scarring, and the scars can usually be more easily hidden. The mini tummy tuck removes the least amount of skin and tissue of any tummy tuck, so it's best if you don't want or need much work done. For instance, it can be ideal if you have excess skin and fat as a natural result of aging, rather than from significant weight loss. A woman whose body doesn't change much during pregnancy might also find that a mini tummy tuck is enough to give her the shape she wants.

Extended Tummy Tuck

While the standard tummy tuck procedure removes skin and fat from the front of the body, the extended tummy tuck removes tissue from your sides and lower back as well. It's also known as a 360-degree or around-the-world tummy tuck, extended abdominoplasty, or belt lipectomy. Just like in a standard procedure, an incision is made on the front of the body, but the incision is much longer. Depending on your needs, it extends around the sides of the body and could reach your back. The longer incision allows for the removal of much larger amounts of loose skin but can also leave more extensive scarring. Even so, if your incisions are made with care by an experienced surgeon, it's possible for clothing to effectively hide the scars. This surgery is most suitable for you if you have lost a very large amount of weight, as this can leave excess loose skin around the hips and above the buttocks, as well as in the abdominal region. types of tummy tucks

Other Tummy Tuck Options

In addition to the most common tummy tucks named above, there are some other variations on the procedure that are useful for some people.

Endoscopic Surgery

If you want to have your abdominal muscles tightened but don't need to have loose skin removed, there's an option called endoscopic surgery. This procedure targets just a small section of the lower abdomen, so it causes less scarring and has a fairly quick recovery time. This particular procedure isn't performed very often, since most people who want to have a tummy tuck do also have loose skin.

Smooth Tummy Tuck

This is a tummy tuck in which the abdominal muscles are not altered. It doesn't give the same effect as tightening the muscles but can still give great results. Since the muscles aren't targeted, recovery time is reduced.

Liposuction with Tummy Tuck

This is sometimes called a tumescent tummy tuck. It's a tummy tuck combined with liposuction, where your surgeon removes a larger amount of fat before trimming away excess loose skin. This is an excellent option if you are interested in both a tummy tuck and liposuction, since performing both at the same time is more cost-effective. There's also less recovery time involved, compared to having the procedures separately.

Which Kind of Tummy Tuck Is Best for You?

To decide which type of tummy tuck will give you the best results, it's helpful to think about what kind of body you have right now versus what your body goals are. All types of tummy tucks involve the removal of excess skin from your abdominal area, but the amount that's removed differs, so the amount of loose skin you have will partly determine the best kind of tummy tuck for you. Scarring is another important consideration. All tummy tucks leave some scarring, but since each type differs in the amount of skin removed—and where it's removed from—they leave different patterns of scarring too. If you really want to minimize the amount of scarring you have, a mini tummy tuck or an endoscopic procedure are your best options. On the other hand, if you're less concerned about scarring and have a larger amount of excess skin, a standard or extended tummy tuck might suit you better. Want to know more about your options? Call North Texas Plastic Surgery at 877-537-7220 to speak to a Harvard-trained, experienced plastic surgeon.

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