The Extended Tummy Tuck
What Is An Extended Tummy Tuck?
An extended tummy tuck is also sometimes called an extended abdominoplasty and is very similar to the full tummy tuck except for the areas that it addresses. During an extended abdominoplasty, the incision made by the surgeon is longer and wraps around the hips on both sides so that loose skin can be excised from the flanks.
How Does An Extended Abdominoplasty Compare To A Full Abdominoplasty?
A full tummy tuck addresses the upper and lower portions of the abdomen to remove a moderate amount of loose skin and repair all the underlying abdominal muscles. The full tummy tuck generally uses one incision that runs just under the bikini line and runs from the inside of one hip to the other.
Extended Tummy Tuck vs Full Tummy Tuck
The difference between a full or standard (regular) tummy tuck and an extended tummy tuck is that the incision used in an extended abdominoplasty is longer and extends past each hip. Unlike the full tummy tuck, the incision for the extended abdominoplasty curves around each side of the torso but does not extend all the way around like in a 360-degree tummy tuck. The extended incision allows the surgeon to address moderate amounts of loose skin from the flanks that would not be possible using the shorter incision of a full tummy tuck.
When Would An Extended Tummy Tuck Be The Best Option?
An extended tummy tuck is often the best option for a man or woman who has a moderate amount of loose skin on the front of their abdomen as well as the sides. The extended horizontal incision allows the surgeon to remove loose skin further around the circumference of the torso.
If a patient has lost significant amounts of weight through bariatric surgery, they may be a good candidate for a 360-degree or extended abdominoplasty. During a 360-degree tummy tuck, the surgeon creates an incision that circles the torso in a belt-like fashion and allows the surgeon to remove large amounts of saggy skin from the abdomen, sides, lower back, etc.
Who Is A Candidate For An Extended Tummy Tuck?
- Women who have been pregnant and have loose stretched-out skin on their abdomen;
- Men or women who have lost a significant amount of weight and have a moderate amount of loose skin on the front and sides of their abdomen;
- Men or women whose abdominal muscles have been damaged or torn;
- Patients that are in good health;
- Patients who do not actively smoke;
- Patients who have done their research and understand what to realistically expect from the surgery. To ensure your expectations are adequately prepared, you can request to see some extended tummy tuck before and after pictures from your surgeon.
Who Would Not Be A Candidate For An Extended Abdominoplasty?
- Patients who are not close to their ideal weight;
- Patients who are planning future pregnancies;
- Individuals who have significant amounts of loose skin all over their torso may require a 360-degree tummy tuck vs an extended abdominoplasty.
How Is An Extended Tummy Tuck Performed?
- An extended version of tummy tuck is done under general anesthesia.
- The surgeon creates an incision, similar to that of a full tummy tuck, that runs horizontally right above the pubic area that extends beyond each hip and around to the side If you have previously had a C-section, the surgeon may follow the same line to reduce visible scarring.
- Most often, a tummy tuck is accompanied by liposuction for optimal results. The Vaser lipo technique may be used as it helps reduce bleeding during the procedure. Liposuction also removed unwanted fat and helps to loosen the excess skin making it easier to remove.
- The belly button will be detached to enable the surgeon to remove and tighten the excess skin.
- The abdominal muscles that have been damaged or separated are repaired and sutured together. This will not only result in aesthetic appeal but also helps increase the patient’s core strength and can also help reduce urinary incontinence after pregnancy.
- The excess saggy skin is removed from the entire abdomen and flanks and then the rest is tightened and sutured. Cutting this excess skin away often gets rid of stretch marks left over from pregnancy or excessive weight loss.
- The belly button will be replaced or repositioned so that it appears natural-looking.
- Your surgeon may install special drains along the incision line to help keep swelling down and then cover the area with surgical tape and bandages;
- Patients are given a special garment to wear (a compression garment) for the next several months. It is very important that patients wear this garment according to the surgeon’s directions as it helps prevent the build-up of fluids, minimizes swelling and bruising, and holds your new shape in place while it heals.
- Depending on the patient, they may be required to stay in the hospital or surgical center for 1 -3 nights before being discharged to go home.
Recovery After An Extended Abdominoplasty
Recovering fully from an extended abdominoplasty takes about 8 weeks depending on the patient and the extent of the surgery.
The surgeon will provide an after-care plan to the patient to help them best recover at home. This plan should include information regarding caring for the incision site and drains if you have them. You will also be provided guidance from the surgeon on when you may drive again, the recommended way to sleep, walk and get around for the first few weeks. You will also be given some “required” activity directions to prevent blood clots which are normally slow, short, but frequent walks around the house.
You may be provided with a prescription for pain medication to help make you more comfortable for the first week or so and antibiotics to lessen the risks of infection.
Patients who have an extended abdominoplasty may experience swelling and bruising that is normal and can last a few months. Most individuals can resume light activities after about 3 weeks but should ask their doctor before starting any strenuous activities.
How Much Does An Extended Tummy Tuck Cost?
The cost of an extended abdominoplasty can vary by patient, the extent of the surgery, and other considerations but an extended tummy tuck typically starts at around $12,000.