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Types of Tummy Tucks: Safety, Side Effects & More

Types of Tummy Tucks

Many women who have lost a lot of weight or been pregnant have a flabby midsection with excess fat and loose skin that cannot be remedied with diet and exercise. Sometimes pregnancy also separates the abdominal muscles, as well.

Even people with an average body weight can have a midsection that that sags or is loose. The most frequent causes of these issues are:

  • Aging
  • Genes
  • Pregnancy
  • Other surgeries
  • Large weight fluctuations

A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty cuts away the excess skin and fat and can tighten the weakened abdominal muscles so that the belly is smooth and flat again.

This guide describes what a tummy tuck is, how it works, types, and much more.

Types of Tummy Tucks

Depending on your goals, a tummy tuck can take approximately one to five hours. There are different types of tummy tucks. Most tummy tucks are done on an outpatient basis. Liposuction also can be done as part of tummy tuck procedures.

Patients receive general anesthesia, so you need to have someone to take you home after the procedure. Below are the most common types..

Complete Abdominoplasty

This type of tummy tuck is a tummy tuck procedure that is ideal for patients who need the most correction, with loose fat around the abdominal muscles and excess skin above and below the navel. The plastic surgeon makes the incision just above the pubic hair. How long the scar is depends on how much excess skin you have.

Your surgeon will cut away extra fat and excess skin as needed to tighten up the belly. Also, your surgeon will make an incision around the belly button, as it’s necessary to free that area from the abdominal tissue. Then, the abdominal muscles may be sewn and tighten to give the abdomen a flat appearance. Because a tummy tuck deals with the loose skin around your abdomen, your belly button will move slightly. Your surgeon will take care to make sure your belly button is positioned correctly in its appropriate location.

The full tummy tuck (also known as a traditional tummy tuck) takes about two hours. You may need to have drainage tubes put in after the surgery.

Partial or Mini-Abdominoplasty (Mini Tummy Tuck)

A mini tummy tuck is done for women who only have excess skin below the navel. With a mini tummy tuck, the belly button probably isn’t moved as you have less excess skin to remove. With a mini tummy tuck skin is separated between the incision line and the belly button, and loose skin and fat are cut away. After a mini tummy tuck there may be need to have drainage tubes inserted with this procedure, as well. A mini tummy tuck is similar to a full tummy tuck with the notable exception of it being smaller in its target area. Mini tummy tucks are a great option for the patients with smaller, detailed needs. Another tummy tuck to note is the reverse tummy tuck. The reverse tummy tuck is a tuck which only targets the area above the belly button.

Circumferential Abdominoplasty

This type of tummy tuck surgery is also called an extended tummy tuck and it also includes the back region. When you have extra skin and fat extending to the back, you may have liposuction in addition to the circumferential abdominoplasty. An extended tummy tuck is a great option for the patient who wants to target a substantial amount of their abdomen.

The extended tummy tuck (also called simply an extended tummy) also is useful for taking away skin and fat from the back and hip areas. With an extended tummy tuck you’ll notice a better body shape from all angles.

Plus Size Tummy Tuck

A plus size tummy tuck, also known as a high BMI abdominoplasty, is a transformative procedure for those in the “overweight” or “obese” BMI categories. Dr. Smita customizes the surgery to each patient, prioritizing their goals, health, and anatomy, rather than relying on a specific BMI threshold. This approach can be truly life-changing.

Tummy Tuck Recovery

Different Types Of Tummy TucksAfter your procedure, the plastic surgeon will sew up the incisions and bandage them. You may need to wear compression garments for a few weeks after the procedure, so your skin conforms to your new shape.

You must listen to all of your surgeon’s directions on wearing compression garments and taking care of the bandages. You’ll also be told how to lie down or sit most comfortably during your recovery.

If you’re physically active, you may need to reduce your exercise regimen several weeks after the procedure. Most people need to take about a week off work.

Tummy Tuck Side Effects and Risks

You will experience some pain and swelling after your tummy tuck. Your plastic surgeon will give you prescription pain medications as needed. Also, you will be sore for a few weeks, and you too could experience bruising, numbness, and general fatigue during your recovery.

A tummy tuck is a serious procedure, and there are risks. You could have higher risks if you have diabetes, heart or lung disease, poor circulation, or a smoker. Some common complications are:

  • Scarring
  • Bleeding
  • Accumulation of fluid at the incision site
  • Problems with wound healing
  • Blood clots
  • Numbness in the surgical site
  • Infection

Rarely, serious complications can occur, such as fat necrosis, wound separation requiring revision surgery, and unevenness in the abdominal area.

Tummy Tuck Ideal Candidate

Ideal candidates for this procedure have sagging or loose skin on their abdomen and muscle separation in the abdominal wall.

A tummy tuck candidate also should be in good general health, a non-smoker, and has reasonable expectations about the surgery. Also, you should be at a healthy weight for your height.

It is important to note that a tummy tuck is a not a weight loss procedure like liposuction. A tummy tuck is focused primarily on the skin rather than fat.

What is the Difference Between a Tummy Tuck and Liposuction?

Liposuction removes excess fat, tummy tuck tones and eliminates sagging skin. Loose skin is the common complaint that patients have before undergoing a tummy tuck. Both aim for a flatter stomach, but differ in procedures, results, and recovery. If you have questions  sure to talk to your surgeon about which procedure is right for you.

What You Can Expect

If you think you want a tummy tuck, it’s essential to understand the entire process:

  • Consultation: Your plastic surgeon will go over your tummy tuck goals during your first meeting. They will want to know why you want a tummy tuck, the areas of your abdomen that most concern you, and ask about your expectations. They will also need to know about other operations and any medications you’re taking.
  • Procedure: Your tummy tuck procedure depends on the condition of your abdomen. Your surgeon will recommend if you should have a full, partial, or circumferential tummy tuck.
  • Aftermath: After your tummy tuck, the surgeon will bandage the area and give you compression garments to wear so your skin will shrink to fit your new contours.
  • Recovery: Most tummy tuck patients can return to work after a week or so. You may experience swelling and bruising for several weeks, and you can expect the final results to show in about three months.

Request a Tummy Tuck Consultation

Do you dream about improving your appearance with a New Jersey tummy tuck procedure? Dr. Smita R. Ramanadham can help you improve your appearance and self-self image with this popular plastic surgery procedure. In your consultation, Dr. Ramanadham will review the options with you, as well as your goals, surgery cost and more, to find out if you’re a good candidate for a tummy tuck.


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