Woman's stomach

The most common reasons patients consider a tummy tuck are related to changes to women’s bodies after pregnancy or significant weight loss in either men or women. In these situations, there is excess skin and muscle laxity that cannot be fixed simply with exercise or additional weight loss. Stretch marks appear where the skin has been stretched beyond its ability to retract and indicate loss of normal skin elasticity in those areas. Although there are some non-invasive treatments that may improve their appearance to some extent, the only total solution is surgical excision with a tummy tuck.

Types of Tummy Tucks 

Cosmetic surgery procedures are individualized to address each patient’s specific concern and produce the aesthetic results they desire. Abdominoplasty surgeries can be classified into several types:

  • Mini tummy tuck: the least extensive option, only addresses loose skin and stretch marks in the lowest part of the abdomen; uses the shortest scar
  • Modified tummy tuck: intermediate option that includes the mini tummy tuck but also removes stretch marks towards the belly button and smooths out skin in the upper abdomen
  • Full tummy tuck: produces the most significant results, removes stretch marks up to the belly button, tightens the rectus muscles, and smooths out the entire abdominal area; requires a longer scar

Patient Assessment

Whereas tummy tuck surgery permanently eliminates loose, excess skin of the abdomen, proper patient evaluation is essential in determining which type of surgery is best suited for each. Some of the additional considerations include:

  • Fat distribution: some patients have areas of fat under the skin that may need to be removed at the time of the tummy tuck in order to provide the best results
  • Presence of a hernia: patients who are found to have an abdominal or umbilical hernia may need to have it repaired at the time of their tummy tuck
  • Abdominal scars: prior abdominal surgery may affect the blood supply of the abdomen, and any existing scars may influence the surgical planning

In some patients, a tummy tuck is performed as part of a “mommy makeover” or with other aesthetic procedures, such as breast augmentation, breast lift, liposuction, and labiaplasty.

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