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Does One Tummy Tuck Fit All? Read This Handy Guide to Find Out

Does one tummy tuck fit all? That’s a great question, and one we hear from our tummy tuck patients at our San Jose, CA, practice every day.  Here’s a quick and easy starting point for the answer:

Think of the last time you went looking for a bathing suit—or a pair of jeans. If they only offered one style and one size, would it automatically fit you?

Does a single choice fit or flatter every shape? Of course, the answer is a very big no!  We chose bathing suits and jeans because they seem to be the most challenging articles of clothing to match with an individual’s body type.

When you’re considering surgery to reshape your abdomen and body contour, a tummy tuck is often the best answer, as we discuss in a related blog post. With possible changes to muscle and skin during a tummy tuck, though, you really need to understand that there are different ‘styles’ of tummy tuck to fit different needs. You should learn what they are, and how they might work—or not work—for you.

The other half of this question is usually: How much does a tummy tuck cost?  Again, it’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of surgery, so this answer too will depend on the type of tummy tuck chosen for the patient.

What is the best tummy tuck procedure for you?

You’ll need some careful consideration—and a consultation with your board-certified plastic surgeon. The information here will get you started.  Most tummy tucks will basically remove a quantity of excess fat and skin, and allow for tightening and tailoring the abdominal region. You can see some of our patients’ dramatic results in our tummy tuck before-and-after photos.

There are different types of tummy tuck (also known as abdominoplasty).

Mini Tummy Tuck

The simplest abdominoplasty is known as the mini tummy tuck, and you can read more about it on our Tummy Tuck FAQ page. In the mini tummy tuck, the incision is the shortest, and the scar is the shortest. This surgery can improve the lower part of the tummy from just above the pubic area to the belly button.

Full or Standard Tummy Tuck

For patients who need improvement above the belly button, you can consider the full, or standard tummy tuck. This will improve the region from the pubic area, all the way up to the rib cage, and can tighten up the tummy muscles as well.

Before photo by Dr. Lepore

After photo by Dr. Lepore

Extended Tummy Tuck

For patients who have lost a significant amount of weight and have extra skin that hangs over the sides of the tummy, you can consider an extended tummy tuck—which will also address that looser skin on the flanks.

Fleur-de-Lys Tummy Tuck

The name refers to the shape of the incisions in this surgery. In patients who have had large amounts of weight loss, a fleur-de-lys tummy tuck may be a solution to larger amounts of excess skin. In this tummy tuck, we’re removing skin horizontally and vertically as well. This does add a scar that goes down the front of the abdomen, but it can significantly improve the overall contour.

Corset Abdominoplasty

For patients who have had a large weight loss, with loose skin in both the lower and upper abdomen, you may consider what we call a ‘corsetoplasty’ or corset abdominoplasty. In this type of tummy tuck, we remove skin vertically in both the lower and upper abdomen and horizontally. The incisions result in an ‘I-shaped’ scar.

Circumferential Body Lift

In those patients with significant amounts of loose skin in the upper and lower abdomen, as well as over the buttocks, the circumferential body lift is performed. In this surgery, we remove a ring of skin from around the abdomen, flanks, and over the buttock. This produces what most people consider a ‘body lift,’ along with the abdominoplasty.

What are some other body contouring options?

Muscle Repair

As you and your surgeon identify the best type of tummy tuck surgery for you, you’ll also discuss possible treatment of your abdominal wall. The tummy muscles are often stretched or damaged during pregnancy or large weight gain and loss. You may need surgical repair of these muscles.

Liposuction

You may also opt for the removal of more excess fat in the abdominal area and flanks through added liposuction surgery. Tummy tuck and liposuction are separate procedures but they are often performed together in a single surgical session.

Is getting a tummy tuck worth it?

Tummy tuck surgery remains among the top 5 plastic surgery procedures performed nationwide because it truly transforms a saggy, flabby midsection. After following the doctor’s instructions through recovery time, patients are usually very satisfied with their results. In fact, RealSelf reports that 96% of men and women who’ve had a tummy tuck say it was “Worth It.”

“One size fits all?” Not in tummy tucks. But if you do find that magical one-size-fits-all bathing suit or pair of jeans—please let us know!

Dr. Vincent Lepore, board-certified plastic surgeon performs tummy tuck surgery, along with a full range of cosmetic procedures, in his San Jose surgery center. Please use our online form to request a consultation or call us at (408) 356-4241 to schedule a free cosmetic consultation.

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