The Tummy Tuck, or Abdominoplasty, is designed to address several changes that can occur in the torso:
- Bulging of the muscle wall
- Loose skin of the abdomen
- Sagging or ptosis of the pubic region
- Fullness in the hips and flanks
There are 4 different types of Tummy Tucks that Dr. Schneider performs depending upon the amount of skin laxity and where the laxity is located:
- Endoscopic Tummy Tuck with an approximately 3-inch incision
- Mini Tummy Tuck with an approximately 10-inch incision
- Full Tummy Tuck with an incision that extends to the hips
- Reverse Tummy tuck with incisions under the breasts
Tummy Tuck Procedures
Endoscopic Tummy Tuck
The Endoscopic Abdominoplasty is a small incision procedure that is combined with liposuction to flatten the tummy bulge and contour the flanks and hips. It is ideal for the patient who has no skin laxity but has a small bulge to her belly that bothers her.
A small incision, smaller than a C-section scar, is used, and the skin of the abdomen is lifted all the way up to the ribs. Next, the muscle wall is tightened with sutures, and liposuction is performed of the hips and flanks. The small skin incision is then closed with sutures that dissolve on their own. The endoscopic tummy tuck procedure takes about 1.5-2 hours to perform, and patients are able to go home the same day.
Mini Tummy Tuck
The Mini Abdominoplasty is a procedure used for patients that have a small amount of loose skin in the area below the belly button, and some bulging of the abdominal wall. It combines a small removal of excess skin, liposuction for contouring the hips and flanks, and muscle tightening to flatten the abdominal wall. The incision is a little longer than a C-section scar. Like the Full Abdominoplasty and the endoscopic procedure, it takes about 1.5-2 hours to perform, and absorbable sutures are used so patients do not have to have any stitches removed.
Full Tummy Tuck
The Full Abdominoplasty is a procedure designed to enhance the abdomen by eliminating loose, saggy skin, flattening the abdominal wall (getting rid of the bulge), and contouring the flanks and hips. It also allows Dr. Schneider to lift the pubic area if it has sagged.
Tummy Tuck Scarring
The procedure is performed with a curved scar that sits down on the torso along a natural skin crease. Everyone initially is concerned about the length of the scar, but let’s discuss why it is longer.
The goal of the procedure is to remove as much loose skin in a vertical manner as possible: from the pubic area to above the belly button (umbilicus). This is our goal in order to make the tummy as tight as possible. With that said, the length of the scar has to be 2X the height (the vertical height of skin removed). This is required so that when the incision is closed, it lays like a nice smooth line. If we do not follow this principle, then we get bunching on the sides called a dog ear. You may have seen example photos of the dog ear scenario following a Tummy Tuck on the internet.
The key to the scar looking nice is that it has to follow the natural skin creases. Plastic Surgeons have always used this trick to make scars less noticeable. If the scar cuts across too low or outside of these lines, it becomes obtrusive.
A small incision within the belly button is also created. Dr. Schneider creates the belly button so the belly button looks natural and not a big round obvious hole.
Tightening the Muscle
After we remove the loose skin, the muscle wall underneath is tightened with sutures to flatten the abdomen and bring in the waistline. The tightening will eliminate a wide space between the muscles (diastasis recti).
Liposuction is then performed on the flanks and hips if necessary to contour these regions.
After shaping and contouring, the skin is closed with all internal sutures that dissolve. This helps ensure your comfort (as no sutures or uncomfortable staples need to be removed), and helps, in Dr. Schneider’s opinion, to form a more aesthetic scar.
Following the 1.5 to 2 hour operation and their recovery, patients are able to go home the same day.
Reverse Tummy Tuck
The Reverse Abdominoplasty is used for patients with looseness of skin in the upper abdomen. An incision is created below each breast fold so that the incision is hidden. Then the skin of the upper abdomen is tightened and liposuction is performed if necessary. The reverse Abdominoplasty takes about 1 hour to perform and usually does not involve tightening of the muscle wall.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
The Abdominoplasty procedure is performed as an out-patient operation at our AAAHC certified surgery center and the patient is able to go home the same day. Most patients will have a surgical drain placed to remove any fluid that might collect, decrease swelling, and encourage the layers of the abdomen to seal. The drain is usually removed on the 5th or 6th day after surgery. We encourage patients to get up and walk as much as possible at home, and most are comfortable enough to return to work in 7-10 days. Exercise or significant bending and twisting is allowed after 6 weeks. It usually takes 3-4 months for all the swelling to resolve, and 6-8 months for the scar to mature into a white line.