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Is a Tummy Tuck Right for Me?

By: Robert Sigal, MD


There’s a lot of confusion about tummy tucks and we get a lot of questions... the question we here most often is which version of a tummy tuck would be best for them. One we hear often is, “do I need a 'full' or 'mini' tummy tuck?”

Here are a few guidelines:

  • If you’ve lost over 100 pounds, you’re going to need more than a tummy tuck – you’re probably going to need a body lift. What’s a body lift? There’s a ton about it online, but not only does it tighten your abdomen, but it also lifts the buttocks by extending the cut all around your body. (About 5% of our practice)
  • If you don’t like the looseness above your belly button, you need a tummy tuck. A full tummy tuck, not a mini. The reason for that is that we need to pull the skin all the way down like a window shade and we need to make you a new belly-button in the process. (About 90% of our practice). If we don’t need to tighten the muscles, the procedure is called a “skin-only tummy tuck.”
  • If you have tight skin above the belly button, but loose skin below, you need a modified tummy tuck. In this version, we “float” the belly button off of the abdominal wall to allow for muscle tightening, then put it back down a little bit lower than it was before. Watch out tho – if your belly-button is low to start, it may end up too low. (About 5% of our practice)
  • If you only have a little bulge in the lower abdomen, you might get away with a mini-tummy tuck. In this version, we make a small cut like a C-section incision and use it to expose the abdominal muscle and tighten it. There not a lot of room to take out skin with an incision this small, so the number of people for whom this appropriate is pretty small (<1% in our practice.)
  • If you have already had a tummy tuck and are still bothered by loose skin in the upper abdomen, you might be a candidate for an unusual surgery called a “reverse tummy tuck.” In this surgery, we lift the skin up from underneath the breasts and hide the scar in the breast fold. (<1% of our practice)
  • Finally, if your muscles are pretty tight and the skin of your upper abdomen isn’t loose, you might be a candidate for liposuction alone. But if your skin a bit loose in the lower abdomen, we might suggest cutting out a little strip of skin near the panty line. We call this liposuction with a skin strip.

I hope this helps clarify what form of tummy tuck might be best for you, but the truly best way is to come in for a one-on-one consultation with one of our  plastic surgeons.

At Austin-Weston, we are committed to providing patients with the results they desire and the care and safety they deserve. Click on the link below to find out more about your treatment options, or call (703) 893-6168 to schedule a consultation .

— Robert K. Sigal, MD


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