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Types of Tummy Tucks (Abdominoplasty)

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: So is there more than one type of tummy tuck?


Each patient is a unique individual with a unique body build, and a unique set of concerns. The type of tummy tuck, or even lower body lift procedure, that we choose depends upon the patient's stated concerns and what we observe on examination.

So for example, a patient has had one pregnancy, has a fairly limited amount of excess skin and fat of the abdominal wall, and a separation of the abdominal muscles largely limited to the area below the bellybutton. She may have what we call a limited tummy tuck, where we tighten the muscle from the bellybutton down to the pubis, and remove primarily lower abdominal skin and fat, oftentimes repositioning the belly button slightly lower to provide some tightening of the upper abdominal skin as well as the belly button is brought down and positioned lower. So patients who have fairly limited aesthetic deformity may have a more limited scar on the lower abdomen, without a scar around their belly button.

Whereas patients who have more significant deformity, skin redundancy, more fat, greater separation of the abdominal wall muscles, perhaps from multiple pregnancies or significant weight gain and loss, a full tummy tuck may be in their best interest. A full tummy tuck involves a scar that is across the lower abdomen as well as involving the belly button. However, some of these patients have belly buttons that have become considerably larger and less aesthetic in their opinion. We have an opportunity at the time of a tummy tuck to make the enlarged bellybutton somewhat smaller so that the umbilicus or the belly button may appear more aesthetic in the mind of the patient, because it is smaller and sometimes more shapely. At the time of the full tummy tuck, we tighten the muscle typically from the upper abdomen all the way down to the pubis. So unlike the limited tummy tuck, we tighten the muscle from the belly button up. We also tend to remove skin from above the belly button all the way down to the pubis, not just the lowermost abdominal skin and fat.

At the time of both the limited and full tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, we usually do some form of liposuction as well to further contour the abdomen. Patients who have had very major weight loss, in addition to very redundant skin and fat of the abdominal wall, may have drooping of the thighs and drooping of buttock tissue. Those patients may opt for what is called a lower body lift, where more extensive scars are traded for an improved contour that involves not just the abdominal wall, but the thighs and buttocks.

Each patient is a unique individual and in my practice, we recognize that and discuss with him or her those concerns that are particularly bothersome to that individual. Then we discuss the options that are available as well as the advantages to potential disadvantages of each. And with our patient, weigh the pros and cons and try to arrive at a solution that is most optimal, most pleasing. But always, a decision should be made after education and thorough discussion with your surgeon.

I'm Dr. Jay Orringer at The Renaissance Medical Center For Aesthetic Surgery. If you have questions regarding this procedure or any other plastic surgical procedure, please feel free to contact us at 310-273-1663, or visit our website at

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