What are the different tummy tuck techniques?

Dr. John F. Burnett, MD
Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck techniques include a lipectomy, the ‘tummy’ part of a tummy tuck, which is removal of skin and subcutaneous fat. A full abdominoplasty with lipectomy is muscle tightening and usually some liposuction around the sides and over the mons, the fatty tissue around the pubic bone. The full abdominoplasty usually gives the best results. Insurance will cover the procedure if the pannas—a flap of skin—covers the pubic area and interferes with physical activity or causes back pain. If the patient wants muscle tightening and liposuction that’s usually an additional cost that insurance won’t cover.

Tara Whitworth, MSN
Nursing Specialist

The most common tummy tuck techniques are mini tummy tuck, standard tummy tuck, and extended tummy tuck. All three procedures involve making an incision at the pubic hair line, removing excess skin and fat, and tightening the abdominal muscle.

The mini tummy tuck is the technique of choice for those who just need to remove the fat just below the belly button. This technique requires only a small incision and does not involve the belly button.

The standard tummy tuck requires an incision from hip to hip. This technique involves also making a cut around the belly button and is useful for those who have excess skin and fat above and below the belly button.

The extended tummy tuck is similar to the standard tummy tuck except that the incision is extended beyond the hips to target the love handle area as well.

Dr. Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgeon

The most common abdominoplasty procedure is associated with a long C-section-like scar that extends hip to hip as well as an incision circumferentially around the umbilicus or belly button. This allows us to hide the scar low under the bikini line. In some patients a vertical midline incision may be required in order to remove excess of skin in the vertical plane as well. We attempt not to do this unless absolutely necessary because of the difficulty hiding a midline vertical scar. For massive pannuses and massive weight loss patients ,after gastric bypass surgery, patients often undergo a belt lipectomy procedure which is an abdominoplasty extending circumferentially all the way around the back area. This is an extremely aggressive surgical procedure with the scar extending circumferentially around the body such as a belt. These however are very useful for elevating the buttocks areas as well as the hips and the entire lower abdominal area after massive weight loss surgical procedures. All of these procedures have in common significant scarring. It is vital that the patient be excepting of the possibilities of poor scarring including hypertrophic scarring, keloiding, and wide spread scarring as well as pigmentation changes when undergoing an elective panniculectomy or abdominoplasty procedure.

Dr. Erik A. Hoy, MD
Plastic Surgeon

All tummy tuck techniques involve removal of excess soft-tissues (think skin and fat) from your lower abdomen. In order to do this, and to get a flat, smooth abdomen afterwards, a tummy tuck incision is made horizontally above your pubic bone. This is planned to be low enough that it is hidden when you wear a swimsuit or underwear. Depending upon how much fat and skin are removed, this incision may extend toward the sides of your abdomen, toward you hips. Typically, the more skin and fat removed, the longer the scar. The skin and superficial fat of your abdomen will be lifted up and pulled down toward the waist. Here any excess is removed and your newer, smoother abdomen is sutured. Sometimes it is necessary to adjust the position of your belly button (umbilicus) as the tissues are redraped. Also, if your six-pack (rectus abdominis) muscles are stretched out, by age, weight gain, or pregnancies, they will need to be tightened with sutures. After surgery you will have one or more drains to remove fluid from the wound for the first few days. These are usually removed in the office at your first postoperative visit, with minimal discomfort.

Continue Learning about Abdominoplasty Or Tummy Tuck

What should I look for in a plastic surgeon if I want a tummy tuck?
Stuart A. Linder, MDStuart A. Linder, MD
Tummy tuck procedures, or abdominoplasties, should be performed only by board certified plastic and ...
More Answers
How can I prepare myself for a tummy tuck?
Tara WhitworthTara Whitworth
The most important thing you can do before any procedure is to educate yourself. Read through all in...
More Answers
What Is an Abdominoplasty?
What Is an Abdominoplasty?
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
What Is a Tummy Tuck?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.