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Abdominoplasty: Three Methods Explained

When our patients are first looking into the possibility of an abdominoplasty in Orange County, more commonly known as the tummy tuck, they’re often surprised to learn that there are actually three different surgical methods for performing this procedure. While all three methods are designed to remove excess skin and fat from the abdominal area, there are some significant differences to consider before making your decision.

The Mini Tummy Tuck

Also sometimes called a “scarless” tummy tuck at our Orange County office, the mini tummy tuck addresses a smaller area. Although skin and fat are still removed from the abdomen, the incision is smaller and so is the volume of tissue and skin that are removed. The mini tummy tuck is ideal for those patients who are already in good physical shape, yet have a bit of a tummy paunch.

For the mini tummy tuck, your surgeon will make an incision well below the belly button, where scarring should be very unnoticeable. Abdominal muscles will be tightened, then excess skin will be removed and the remaining skin will be pulled tight in order to close the incision. Although recovery times vary among individuals, most patients are able to resume their normal routines relatively quickly, especially in comparison to more involved abdominoplasty procedures.

The Traditional Tummy Tuck

The standard, or traditional, tummy tuck is perfect for patients who have a bit more work needed around the midsection. This is often due to recent weight loss, or changes in the body that occur following a pregnancy. Both weight gain and pregnancy can stretch skin and abdominal muscles out beyond their capacity to recover. A standard tummy tuck can help patients return to their former slimness.

During the traditional tummy tuck, an incision is made running between the hip bones, larger than the cut used for a mini tummy tuck. The surgeon will tighten the abdominal muscles and then close the incision. With the larger amount of tissue removal, the navel may be repositioned if it is displaced. Normal activities may be resumed after a few weeks.

The Extended Tummy Tuck

Patients who struggle with a generous amount of hanging skin around their abdomen, lower back and hips can benefit from an extended tummy tuck. This procedure addresses not just the belly area, but a good portion of the lower body. Extended tummy tucks are best for those who have quite a bit of excess fat and skin that require removal.

To begin the expanded tummy tuck surgery, a very long incision is needed, reaching all the way around the hips and into the lower back. Liposuction is typically used during the procedure in order to accelerate fat removal and drain other fluids. Muscles are tightened in the abdomen, and possibly around the hip area. Excess skin is removed and the incision sutured. Just as in the traditional tummy tuck, the navel will be repositioned appropriately to flatter the new body shape. Patients will need to spend the first day or two in a supervised surgical center, and can then return home as long as they continue avoiding vigorous physical activities.

Choosing Your Surgery

During your initial consultation, you and your surgeon will discuss which one of these tummy tuck options will work best for you. The procedure chosen will depend on your appearance goals, the size of the targeted area and the preference and skill level of the surgeon. However, every one of the different abdominoplasty techniques will result in a slimmer, younger-looking you.

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