Many people are curious about tummy tucks, or abdominoplasty, and ultimately find themselves wondering which method of abdominoplasty procedure is appropriate for them. At Edelstein Cosmetic, there are three main methods of performing abdominoplasties. Let’s refer to them as: the mini tummy tuck, the full tummy tuck, and the floating abdominoplasty (or FAB for short).
You may have heard of the mini tummy tuck being referred to as the scar-less tummy tuck, and doesn’t that just seem ideal? This method of abdominoplasty removes a smaller portion of skin, which allows the surgeon to work with a much smaller incision. For this procedure the incision is made in the lower abdomen, and skin and fat are elevated up to the level the navel. As you might guess, this procedure is ideal for patients with less excess skin. Most patients will resume regular activities within a week or two after having a mini tummy tuck. The best candidates for the mini tummy tuck method are those patients who are healthy and fit and just can’t shake that extra little flab of skin or bulginess in their lower abdomen, below the level of the belly-button.
With the full tummy tuck method of abdominoplasty, the incision is slightly larger than that of the mini tummy tuck, in order to allow the removal of larger amounts of tissue. The incision usually runs across the lower abdomen from hip bone to hip bone, above the pubic hairline. With a full tummy tuck procedure, the belly button is typically repositioned as a result of the removal of larger amounts of skin. As far as recovery time is concerned, patients can usually resume normal activities within two to three weeks, but as mentioned before, it can take up to two years for the scar to fade and there is more post-operative pain and follow up involved than with the mini tummy tuck procedure. The full tummy tuck is ideal for patients who are in good health. In other words, they are good surgical candidates, but have a larger amount of loose skin they want removed from their abdominal area. This procedure is commonly performed as part of a “mommy makeover” in conjunction with breast rejuvenation and liposuction.
Using a small incision in the lower abdomen, the floating abdominoplasty technique allows the tummy to be tightened and shaped with optimal results. Also referred to as an extended mini abdominoplasty, this procedure is an excellent option without the telltale signs as there is no incision around the belly button. Excess skin is removed through the incision that is as long as the incision used for a mini-tummy tuck; the belly button is temporarily detached and ‘floats’ above the muscles. This allows the muscles to become tightened and reshaped from sternum to pubic area, that is, along the entire length of the abdomen, as opposed to a typical mini tummy tuck where the muscles are only tightened below the belly button. The skin on the abdomen is then made smooth and firm, and the belly button is reattached from the inside with the option of moving it down one or two cm if necessary. To sculpt to an even greater degree, liposuction is performed, resulting in beautiful tight abs with a scar that is minimal and discreet. This technique is ideal for the woman that has a bulging stomach due to muscle separation (rectus diastasis), but minimal loose skin above the belly-button.
Although the mini, full, and floating tummy tucks are three of the most common abdominoplasty options available to patients today, there are others. There is also an option more invasive than the full tummy tuck procedure. It is commonly referred to as the circumferential tummy tuck and involves continuing the incision made in the full tummy tuck completely around the waistline, meeting at the lower back. This allows the surgeon to remove large amounts of excess skin and fat, and is ideal for candidates who have lost large amounts of weight (usually greater than a 100 lbs) and have great amounts of sagging skin in their abdomen, but also their lower back.
As always, the best way to determine which procedure is best for you is to have a consultation with a surgeon. At Edelstein Cosmetic Dr. Edelstein and Dr. Jindal would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss your abdominoplasty goals and tailor a procedure they feel would be best for you and your unique goals.
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