Choosing the Right Tummy Tuck

With so many different types of tummy tucks available, how do you know which one is right for you? The guide below gives you an overview of the types of tummy tucks we offer and discusses the problem areas that each option solves.  

What a Tummy Tuck Can Actually Fix

Not all tummy tucks are the same.  There are many different variations of tummy tuck procedures that address a variety of issues along your belly and torso. But, in general, all tummy tucks have the potential to address five main issues:

  • Loose or sagging skin of the upper and/or lower belly
  • Excess and persistant subcutaneous belly fat
  • Fat along the waist and lower back
  • Split or stretched out stomach muscles
  • Visible stretch marks, primarily of the lower belly

Not every type of tummy tuck addresses these five main issues similarly.  Therefore, it is important to look through this guide and find the option that best treats your problem areas. Make sure to check out the before and after examples as they will give you a good visual example of how the type of tummy tuck addressed your specific issue.  Also, it is important to understand why you need a tummy tuck in the first place.  Pregnancy, weight loss and aging all present with different challenges.  For example:

  • A post-pregnancy tummy is designed to address the specific changes from pregnancy including excess skin, stretch marks and split stomach muscles.  In most cases, a full tummy tuck offers the best way to fix the stomach muscles and remove stretch marks at the same time.
  • A post weight loss tummy tuck is designed to remove as much skin as needed. For those of you with notable weight loss, greater than 50 pounds, a full tummy tuck may not offer enough skin removal.  In these cases, you often have to consider more involved procedures, including a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck, a tummy tuck with belt lipectomy or an extended tummy tuck. All of these options remove more loose skin than a mini or full tummy tuck.
  • A tummy tuck that addresses age related changes should address loose skin of the lower belly and unwanted fat of the waist and lower back.  A mini or full tummy tuck combined with 360 degree liposuction is a great option for age related issues.  

What Are My Options?

To better understand the options, it is important to first look at the three main types of tummy tucks that we offer.  From less to more invasive, this includes a mini/short incision tummy tuck, a full tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck with 360 degree liposuction. In simplified terms, a full tummy tuck is recommended for those of you who have loose skin and resistant fat in both the upper and lower belly.  In contrast, a mini tummy tuck will only address the problems in your lower belly, at or below the belly button. So if you have a lot of loose skin and excess fat of the entire belly, a mini is probably not for you.  Both a mini or full tummy tuck can be combined with 360 degree lipo to improve the results and address your contour in 360 degree fashion.  Lastly, for those who have a notable amount of loose skin and fat, a more involved procedure may be required.

Mini Tummy Tuck

A mini tummy tuck, aka short incision abdominoplasty, primarily targets your lower belly, below your belly button. It is important to remember that a mini tummy tucks can treat:

  • Loose, sagging skin below your belly button
  • Stretch marks, but only partially, of the lower abdomen 
  • Unwanted fat, primarily on the lower abdomen
  • Separation of the abdominal muscles

This is a great option if you only need improvement in the lower half of your belly. It has the benefit of having a shorter incision than a full tummy tuck while still being able to remove excess skin and fat.  It can also tighten stretched stomach muscles, but in those cases, the belly button would have to be repositioned.  This is a good example of a mini tummy tuck before and after:

Full Tummy Tuck 

A full tummy tuck, aka full abdominoplasty, covers the whole belly area – from your lower chest to your pubic bone.  This surgery removes more skin, fat and stretch marks than a mini tummy tuck.  It also offers the best way to tighten your stretched muscles from pregnancy, weight changes and aging. It is a great option for those who have significant loose skin and excess fat, as well as muscle looseness. The incision for a full tummy tuck is typically made from hip to hip.  It is important to remember that a full tummy tuck can treat:

  • Loose, sagging skin, above, below, and around the belly button
  • Stretched stomach muscles, and it is the best approach for this repair
  • Resistant fat throughout the belly
  • Stretch marks below and partially above the belly button

During surgery, an incision is made across your lower abdomen, remaining below the bikini line. Even though the incision is longer than a mini tummy tuck, it is easily concealed. For those of you with top to bottom belly issues, this is the best option to get a flatter, firmer look. Check out this before and after example of a full tummy tuck:



Full Tummy Tuck with 360 Degree Liposuction

A tummy tuck is by far the best way to flatten a poochy belly.  But what do you do about the rest of your toros, including your love handles, waist, hips, and lower back? It obviously wouldn’t make much sense to only improve your front, and not address your sides and back. That’s like only doing half the surgery! A tummy tuck with 360 degree lipo takes a more holistic approach and treats your entire torso, circumferentially. It is the best way to optimize a standard tummy tuck and it can treat: 

  • Everything that a standard tummy tuck procedure addresses
  • The bulges along your sides and lower back, aka the “spare tire” area
  • Your torso, in 360-degree fashion 

As with a standard tummy tuck, an incision is made across your lower abdomen, remaining below the bikini line. There are also a few very small incisions, less than a ⅕ of an inch, that will be used for liposuction along your hips, waist and your back.  These will also be well hidden in the underwear line and barely visible after surgery. For those of you with top to bottom belly issues AND contour issues along your waist, hips and back, this is the best option for contouring these areas in 360 degree fashion.  Check out this before and after example of a full tummy tuck with 360 degree lipo:

Extended vs. Fluer-de-lis vs. Belt Lipectomy 

If you have a significant amount of excess skin around the midsection, an extended abdominoplasty may be required. This procedure:

  • Removes loose, excess skin around most of the lower torso 
  • Can powerfully contour the abdomen, waistline and hips
  • Eliminates a much larger amount of fat and excess skin, especially along the waist

In addition to the standard tummy tuck incision, an extended tummy tuck involves an incision that extends around to the back, addressing trouble spots, including the waist.

Often used after significant weight loss, a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck involves two incisions – one across the lower abdomen and one vertically in the midline. This allows for complete removal of loose skin. It also effectively tightens abdominal muscles and slims the waistline. This procedure:

  • Offers the best way to remove moderate to severe loose belly skin
  • It has the downside of having a difficult to hide midline belly scar 
  • Of all the tummy tucks, this has the most transformative results

A belt lipectomy can be added onto a full tummy tuck to supercharge the results.  This option addresses your midsection in a 360 degree fashion and circumferentially removes loose skin and excess fat.  This procedure:

  • Has the longest recovery of all the tummy tuck options
  • Can and is often combined with a body lift and a BBL
  • Offers the most powerful way to contour your hips and lower back

The Final Skinny on Tummy Tuck Options

The ideal tummy tuck for you depends on your goals, your concerns and most importantly, your exam.  We hope that you use this guide to look at your belly in a more educated way.  Getting factual information on tummy tuck procedures is necessary and can be revealing. In many cases, what you thought you needed is not what you actually need. Understanding your options is the best way to empower yourself to move forward. Most importantly, set up a consultation with us to see which option is best for you.