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The Tummy Tuck Basics


This popular procedure is performed to re-shape the abdomen for cases in which there is significant:
  • "Looseness" of the abdominal muscles (common in women following multiple pregnancies)
  • Loose skin along the lower tummy making simple liposuction potentially counter-productive (if improving "looseness" is the aim)
  • Poor scarring of the skin and/or stretch marks in the lower abdomen
One of Dr Di Saia's patient's before her Tummy Tuck operation
Pre-Operative Patient

The procedure involves the tightening of the tummy muscle and skin with the removal of fat through an incision in the lower tummy. Additional "fine-tuning" makes the result look more youthful and natural. These "fine touches" show the difference between the novice or "Dr Quickie" surgeon and the fine Tummy Tuck surgeon. They also take time. Short operations tend to include few of these additions.

Types of Tummy Tuck Surgery

There are several basic techniques for this procedure dependent upon:

"Standard" Procedure

Abdominoplasty Result

This technique involves a "side to side" incision in the lower abdomen allowing the removal of large amounts of abdominal fat and skin. It addresses abdominal wall laxity as well as fat and skin excess in both the upper and lower abdomen. The typical patient presents with unsightly fat and skin in the upper and lower abdominal wall. Abdominal wall tightening can be performed in both the upper and lower abdomen. The closure is placed such that a standard bathing suit or undergarment will hide the scar.

The "Mini" Tummy Tuck

Mini Abdominoplasty Result

This procedure is designed for those patients with less abdominal skin and fat who are interested in a smaller scar. Often this scar can be completely hidden in the pubic hair. The locations of the fat and loose muscle/skin are crucial here as the procedure addresses only fat and abdominal laxity below the belly button. Skin excision here is very limited. This is the cost of the smaller scar. Fat removal can be augmented via liposuction and abdominal tightening can be performed below the umbilicus only. Very few patients seem appropriate for this operation as it frequently "under-corrects." The doctor recommends them very infrequently for this reason.

"Modified" Abdominoplasty

Modified Extended Abdominoplasty Result

The abdominoplasty procedure can be modified particularly in cases in which patient preferences extend or omit parts of the surgery. Some young women for example are thinking of future pregnancy and opt not to have their tummy muscles tightened. Lack of a muscular repair means less pain, but does not define the waistline as nicely. Modified surgery varies and therefore does not have a standard incision pattern.

Extended Abdominoplasty

In the age of the gastric-bypass, sometimes the tummy tuck has to be extended to address the looseness that strays outside the borders of the traditional operation.

The Operation Itself

Tummy Tuck surgery is a demanding procedure on both the patient and surgeon. Of course, there are nuances that differentiate the good result from the mediocre. Different surgeons address these issues differently. Following is a brief synopsis of some of the important issues:

Tummy Tuck Results

The tummy tuck operation has fair to great results dependent upon a number of factors:


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© John Di Saia MD... an Orange County California Plastic Surgeon