When most people think of tummy tucks, they envision a surgeon using a hose to suck out all of their extra fat around their middle and then somehow smoothing out the skin so they can be skinny once again. This is a very broad generalization of how a tummy tuck is performed; in fact, this procedure requires a great deal of finesse and care on the part of the surgeon. It is also not generally known that tummy tucks do not necessarily involve operating on the entire abdominal region. As a patient, you have multiple tummy tuck options based on your specific needs.
Areas of the Abdomen
Although your abdominal region covers everything around the middle of your front side, your tummy can be split into two general areas: the upper abdomen and the lower abdomen. The upper abdomen starts at your chest and goes down to about your belly button. The lower abdomen starts around your belly button and goes down to your pubic region.
The upper abdomen is a less common target for tummy tucks, but things like dramatic weight loss can lead to a lack of toning in this area caused by excess skin and fat pockets. The lower abdomen is an area more commonly targeted because this is where excess fat is commonly stored, giving you problems like “spare tires” or “muffin tops.”
Tummy Tuck Variations
• Standard tummy tuck – This is the most popular choice among patients. It’s usually employed to remove excess fat around the lower abdomen while tightening the skin in the upper abdomen. The surgeon makes an incision around the hips and pubic area and the abdominal skin is lifted to make any internal corrections, then any excess skin is also removed. The surgeon then lifts the remaining skin to the original incision to smooth out the abdomen.
• Mini-abdominoplasty – This is performed on about one in every 10 patients. It deals specifically with the lower abdomen and is used to repair muscles as well as remove excess fat and skin tissue. Muscles may need repairs from a C-section, pregnancy, or traumatic injury.
• Umbilical float – This is a variation of the mini where the belly button is lowered to give it a more natural look. It also allows the surgeon access to the upper abdomen for muscle repairs.
• Reverse tummy tuck – This is also known as an upside down abdominoplasty or a mini for the upper abdomen. It’s performed even less often than the mini-abdominoplasty and is used to smooth out the upper abdomen. Instead of accessing the abdomen by going through the pubic region, the incision is made along the bottom of the breasts and midline.
Choosing Your Variation
For most patients, a standard tummy tuck will be more than sufficient to take care of all your abdominoplasty needs. However, if you already have good toning in your upper abdomen or lower abdomen, you might be able to have a reverse tummy tuck or mini-abdominoplasty. Your surgeon will make the determination on what is best for you depending on your body type and your own specific needs during your consultation.
Remember that tummy tucks are not meant to be a weight-loss solution, but they can be very beneficial in giving you back a smoother and more toned-looking tummy after a dramatic weight loss, pregnancy, or injury. When diet and exercise don’t make the cut in getting rid of unwanted fat around the middle or tightening up loose skin, a tummy tuck can bring you to that final polished result.
Dr. Christopher Davidson
Dr. Christopher Davidson is a board-certified and Harvard-educated plastic surgeon who performs all types of procedures from Botox injections to breast augmentations. He has a state-of-the-art facility in Wellesley where he performs all his outpatient procedures and is able to provide the highest standard of care to his patients. Dr. Davidson’s exceptional skill and artistry make him one of the top plastic surgeons in the Boston area.
Schedule a Consultation
If you want to rid your middle of excess fat and get a smoother tummy, schedule an abdominoplasty consultation with Dr. Davidson at our office. We can be reached by phone at (781) 237-7700 or through our Patient Contact page on our site.