For patients who have lost significant amounts of weight, tummy tuck
procedure may provide smoothing results. Following the procedure, excess fat deposits and inelastic skin may be removed, which are often hard to eliminate through diet and exercise.
For many patients, the standard tummy tuck procedure with a hip-to-hip incision will be sufficient to smooth their midsection and accent the results of their successful weight loss. However, for some cases, particularly those who have lost more weight, the tummy tuck procedure may be customized with a belt lipectomy to provide a greater reduction of excess skin and fat deposits, according to the popular and trusted plastic surgery website RealSelf.com.
Extended Tummy Tuck or Belt Lipectomy for Patients with Significant Weight Loss
The traditional tummy tuck procedure involves an incision made across the front of the stomach from hip to hip, generally underneath the bathing suit line. Excess fat, skin and tissue are removed and the muscles are secured. The skin is pulled down for a smoother appearance. In some cases, the navel is repositioned.
For patients with more significant weight loss, another incision may be made vertically up the center of the stomach, in order to remove additional skin. This is less common, as the resulting incision line is more visible.
For major weight loss patients, the horizontal incision does not stop at the hips, but wraps all the way around the body. The procedure is expanded to treat the back and sides in the same manner as a traditional tummy tuck. An entire belt of fat, skin and tissue is removed, resulting in the “belt lipectomy” procedure name.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons
, additional procedures that may be incorporated for patients with major weight loss include an arm lift
, breast lift and thigh lift.
Patients undergoing a tummy tuck
or abdominoplasty procedure will generally not require a vertical incision due to the high visibility of this location. In most cases, the surgeon will simply make their incision across the stomach just below the underwear line. For some cases, another incision will be made that encircles the belly button and allows for its repositioning.
The use of a vertical incision is only used when absolutely necessary, as these incision lines are more difficult to conceal with clothing that bares the midriff. According to the trusted plastic surgery website RealSelf.com
, this incision is generally only used when patients have had significant weight loss, such as 100 pounds of weight or more.
Vertical Incision Used for Patients with Significant Weight Loss
As with other body contouring procedures such as arm lifts
, thigh lifts
or breast reduction, there are a number of variables that determine the necessary incisions for each patient. The significance of each of these variables must be balanced in deciding what incisions are necessary for the best result. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons
, some of these factors may include:
- Amount of weight lost
- Elasticity of abdominal skin
- Previous surgical history
- Individual anatomy and tissue position
As a result of these factors, each patient’s incisions will be specifically dependent on their situation. Talking these factors over with your surgeon prior to the procedure will help ensure that your eventual result will best meet your needs.
Generally, vertical incisions are used as a last resort when any of the above factors play a significant role. When vertical incisions are determined to be necessary, the length of the vertical incision may still vary. In minimal cases, the incision may only extend to the bellybutton, but in cases with more significant skin removal required, the incision may extend several inches further upwards.
When having a tummy tuck
procedure or mommy makeover, it may be convenient to add the repair of any hernias sustained as a result of pregnancy. The changes the body goes through during pregnancy and childbirth may often cause these hernias in addition to the aesthetic issues addressed by a tummy tuck.
While each case is different, speaking with your surgeon regarding your surgical options will help you to ensure the best possible treatment of your set of conditions. Some patients are eligible to combine these procedures, saving time and avoiding the need to do two surgeries and recoveries.
Hernia Repair May Be Needed Following Childbirth
Most childbirth-related hernias tend to be around the umbilicus and between the rectus muscles at the midline. This area is often easily accessed during a tummy tuck, and may be prepared very conveniently during the normal tummy tuck procedure. Choosing to combine the procedures often means that an open surgery will be more effective to handle both objectives, rather than a laproscopic procedure.
However, there are several variables when it comes to hernia repair. The severity of the herniation and the specific location may contribute to a more complex procedure than what is described above. Diagnostic imaging will help determine these conditions, and will help your surgeon determine the best course of action.
For some situations, your plastic surgeon may wish to involve a general surgeon to handle more serious hernias, though the procedure may sometimes still be handled in one surgical session. In other cases, your surgeon may wish to split up the procedures to ensure the very best results for your body.
In the medical community, there much controversy over whether patients may be able to have a portion of the procedure covered by their insurance. Speaking with your surgeon regarding your medical and financial situation in detail will help you determine if there will be any financial benefit to this combination.
Some patients may also wish to combine their hernia repair with a full mommy makeover
, which includes a breast procedure like breast augmentation
or breast lift.
Tummy tucks, or abdominoplasties, are performed on an individual basis to ensure that your personal wishes and needs are met with the results. This may include variable incision locations and the number of incisions. When determining these factors, your surgeon may consider your medical history, location of treatment areas, and preferential swimsuit style.
In the tummy tuck
procedure, the major incision is made from hip to hip across the front of the abdomen. The placement of this incision is based on unique personal anatomy and may often be hidden within swimwear. In addition, you may require a second incision to be made around your belly button.
Belly Button Scars Not Required for Every Procedure
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons
, it may not be necessary for every patient to have an incision made around their navel. This particular aspect of the procedure is determined by the severity of the condition. For cases with excessive and inelastic skin around the navel, an incision here is highly recommended.
If you do not have excess or inelastic skin on your stomach, you may be able to avoid the navel incision. This is particularly useful for situations where excess fat deposits are localized around the sides, hips and lower stomach.
Tattoos are one option that many patients choose for concealment of their navel or stomach scarring. Several doctors on RealSelf.com
advocate for this method of concealment, providing the scar has healed fully. Regardless, it is crucial that you discuss the matter fully with your surgeon. This ensures that you will be aware of any potential risk factors and the timeline of your complete incision healing and recovery.
The tummy tuck procedure is often combined with liposuction
for a more effective result. It is also performed with a breast augmentation
as a mommy makeover, or with a thigh lift for a lower body lift.