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The ideal tummy tuck techniques are determined by the patients' underlying anatomies, the location and amount of redundant skin, and even their clothing preference.
Some plastic surgeons in Beirut instruct their patients to bring their favorite or usual swimwear, underwear, and/or pants so they can mark the possible scar/incision site in a way that it is hidden under clothing.
While it is always ideal to place the horizontal incision close to the pubic line so the undergarment can easily hide the resulting scar, some patients may have to accept a scar that rides higher than ideal. This is particularly true of someone with significant excess skin in her/his upper abdomen.
The list below explains the most common tummy tuck techniques used in plastic surgery.
It uses hip-to-hip incision below the navel and another scar around the belly buttock so it can be repositioned after removing the excess skin in the upper abdomen.
After tightening the abdominal muscles with internal sutures and removing the excess skin, the remaining skin is pulled down over the stomach.
The horizontal incision reaches around the hips (i.e., sides of the lower back), so when the body is viewed posteriorly the tail ends of the scar are visible.
Because the extended tummy tuck removes more skin from a wider area than the standard technique, it is often reserved for massive weight loss patients.
Extended tummy tuck also requires a round incision to free the navel and reposition it higher once the excess skin has been removed.
Aside from the horizontal incision, it also requires a vertical scar, which is more difficult to hide. For this reason, the technique is only reserved for patients who need the most amount of correction and are willing to accept its tradeoff to achieve the best possible post op contour.
A short vertical scar may also be necessary if the patient has a rather long torso and removing large amount of skin between the belly button and the pubic area could result in less than optimal contour.
Due to the natural "diffusion" of excess skin after weight loss and/or pregnancy, mini tummy tucks are only suitable for a small number of patients because of their minimal improvement.
Mini tummy tucks, which require a 4-8 inches scar above the pubic region, do not reposition the navel nor remove the excess skin in the upper abdominal area.
For more information, including a list of ASPS plastic surgeons in your community, please use our Find a Plastic Surgeon tool.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.