You’ve done everything you can to get your body in good shape. All the exercising and dieting has paid off in some areas — you’ve lost weight overall, and you feel healthier than ever. But your abdomen refuses to respond to your efforts, and it’s taking a toll on your self-confidence.
The problem may be that your belly bulge, stomach pooch or lower abdominal “apron” is a result of distended muscles or loose skin rather than excess body fat. These concerns may have arisen due to circumstances beyond your control. Pregnancy, for example, can stretch the abdominal muscles and skin, causing a noticeable post-baby bump. Significant weight loss can also leave behind similarly stretched skin that hangs over the abdomen or waist and prevents you from showing off your hard work to slim down.
Unfortunately, neither stretched muscles nor loose skin are much affected by fitness efforts, which leaves many patients feeling discouraged with their diet or exercise routine. The most direct solution to these problems is often a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty — a procedure that surgically repositions your muscles and trims away stretched skin. If you are interested in pursuing abdominoplasty, the first step is to visit a plastic surgeon and learn which type of tummy tuck will accomplish your goals. We’ve put together a guide of the three most common techniques for tummy tuck surgery — continue reading to learn more, or schedule your consultation with Dr. Mark or Loren Clayman for a personalized evaluation and expert guidance.
Mini Tummy Tuck
This type of abdominoplasty is appealing to tummy tuck patients because it affords a quick surgery and less recovery time. But a mini tummy tuck — as its name suggests — is narrow in scope. It focuses only on the abdomen below the belly button, making it ideally suited for generally slim patients with limited lower belly concerns.
In particular, the mini tummy tuck targets a stubborn lower belly pooch that protrudes beneath the navel. This kind of concern can make it difficult to wear pants without a “muffin top” or can give the illusion of constant belly bloat. It may be especially frustrating if you are in otherwise good physical shape — it can feel like the one thing preventing you from having the body you really want.
A mini tummy tuck can be the solution to renewing your motivation, maintaining your physical health and feeling proud of your body. A mini tummy tuck uses a slightly curved incision over the pubic area in between the hip bones. The placement of the incision typically ensures that any scarring is well-hidden by underwear or bathing suit bottoms. Your surgeon uses this incision to access the tissues beneath the skin of the lower belly, flatting the underlying musculature and using liposuction to remove any stubborn fat. Your surgeon may also excise loose skin in the area before stretching the remaining skin flat over your abdomen and suturing it into place. The result is a flatter lower belly that no longer protrudes beyond the natural plane of your abdomen. Recovery from a mini tummy tuck typically takes about a week before you can return to daily activities. Patients are advised to avoid strenuous activities for about a month, depending on their particular recovery.
Full or Traditional Tummy Tuck
The full tummy tuck is the most common type of abdominoplasty. Although the commitment to the surgery and recovery can seem daunting at first, this is most patients’ best option for getting the results they want. A full tummy tuck addresses concerns of both the lower and upper abdomen for a thorough, natural result.
A full tummy tuck is a typical recommendation for mothers whose bodies have changed due to pregnancy, and for individuals who have lost weight on their abdomen. These patients usually have stretched, sagging skin above, below and around the navel. If you are unhappy with your stomach because of a “skin apron” over the pubic area or because of puckering skin at the belly button, a traditional tummy tuck can reliably and precisely address these concerns.
During a full tummy tuck, your surgeon creates an incision across the lower belly between the hip bones. Although the incision for a full tummy tuck is longer than that of a mini tummy tuck, it is still typically well-hidden by undergarments or swimsuits. This incision gives your surgeon access to your abdominal muscles, which he or she may then fix into a flatter position. You may also require accompanying liposuction at this time to remove pockets of body fat. Your surgeon will additionally create a circular incision around the navel; as the skin over your abdomen is stretched flat, a new hole is created for the belly button which is then sutured into place over your natural navel. Excess skin is trimmed away, and the remaining skin is pulled taut and attached along the first hip bone-to-hip bone incision. Recovery from a full tummy tuck takes about two weeks, and it can take six to eight weeks before you are fully cleared to return to all activities including physical exercise.
Extended Tummy Tuck
Some patients — particularly those who have undergone significant weight loss — experience loose, sagging skin that extends beyond the abdomen, around the flanks and onto the lower back. If you have “rolls” of loose skin on your sides, at your waist or on the back part of your hips as well as concerns on your abdomen, you may require an extended tummy tuck to fully address your concerns.
The extended tummy tuck uses an incision along the lower belly that wraps around the sides and extends just onto the lower back. Your surgeon performs the processes of a full abdominoplasty on the front of the abdomen, as well as trimming away excess skin on the sides and around the hips. Liposuction may also be used on the flanks or back to further smooth your body’s contours. After your skin has been redraped, it is sutured into place along the lower belly incision. While the ends of this horizontal scar are usually visible even in underwear or swimwear, it’s well worth our patients’ while to have the extended tummy tuck procedure performed if we believe it is necessary. The result of this surgery will ensure that your body looks balanced, fully sculpted and natural. Recovery from an extended tummy tuck typically requires three to four weeks before returning to your daily routine, and eight to 12 weeks before you are cleared for exercise or other strenuous activities.
Dr. Clayman’s Plastic Surgery Center and Miracle Spa is located in Jacksonville, Florida. Our expert plastic surgeons, Drs. Mark and Loren Clayman, specialize in performing cosmetic surgeries for the face, breast and body. We offer top-tier expertise in all techniques of tummy tucks and would be happy to help you find out more about mini, full and extended abdominoplasty. Schedule your consultation today for an in-person appointment — we can discuss your concerns, evaluate your skin and body type and determine which type of tummy tuck will meet your needs and offer your best results. Call us today at 904-388-6110.