The Extended Tummy Tuck Technique
Loose skin and fat can be a serious impediment to achieving your goals for your body, and the stomach is one area in particular where this excess tissue accumulates. Even when people successfully lose weight through diet and exercise, remaining pockets of skin can continue to negatively affect their contours and overall appearance. With a tummy tuck at our Houston office, you can trim excess tissue and finally get the smoother, tighter curves you deserve.
Because everybody’s needs are different, we offer different techniques for our body contouring procedures. Whereas a traditional tummy tuck may be appropriate for some, patients looking to remove a larger area of tissue may require an extended tummy tuck. Before coming in for your consultation, it is a good idea to know the difference between these techniques and which one is likely more suitable for you.
Full vs. Extended Tummy Tuck
Tummy tuck surgery, also called abdominoplasty, aims to remove unwanted tissue from around the stomach and produce contours that better complement the body. Although the methods are similar in each technique, the differences lie in the treatment area.
In a traditional (or full) tummy tuck, an incision is made across the lower waist. From this incision, skin and fat are removed, muscles are tightened, and remaining skin is pulled over the contoured area. The treatment area is thus confined to the front of the body, within the abdomen and waist.
In an extended tummy tuck, the incision also curves around the hips, giving the surgeon access to the sides of the body as well. Patients who are looking to contour around their mid-section, including the flanks, are often best treated through the extended procedure.
Candidates for an Extended Tummy Tuck
As noted, the defining quality of a good candidate is the desire for additional fat and skin removal at the sides and hips. However, patients must also remember that even an extended tummy tuck is not meant to be a means of significant weight loss. The best candidates are those who are already at or near their ideal weight, as future weight gain or loss can affect the results. If the area contains a large amount of fat still, as is common during an extended tummy tuck, the procedure will be combined with liposuction.
Additionally, patients should be in good general health before undergoing a tummy tuck. Health conditions that threaten the immune system or vital organs should be identified as risk factors, as they may compromise one’s health during surgery or recovery. Heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, and even smoking habits are just a few examples of what should be discussed prior to plastic surgery.
The Extended Tummy Tuck Procedure
Due to the extended incisions and tissue removal, the procedure is longer and more involved than other abdominoplasty techniques:
- Extended tummy tucks are usually performed under general anesthesia, which will be administered shortly before the surgery.
- Surgery begins with two incisions - the primary incision from hip to hip, and a smaller incision around the navel to be later repositioned.
- If liposuction is to be performed, it will be completed first. Fatty tissue will be removed and the area contoured to produce more flattering curves.
- The abdominal muscles will be tightened with sutures.
- Excess skin will removed, and remaining skin will be pulled taut over the area.
- The belly button will be placed in a new position to complement the stomach, and all incisions will be sutured closed.
After surgery, patients usually must rest overnight in the hospital to ensure a safe and comfortable recovery. Once home, the typical side effects of surgery can be expected, including swelling, bruising, and pain, the latter of which should be manageable through prescription medication. With continued rest and post-operative care, most patients are able to return to work and light daily activities in one to two weeks.
Schedule Your Consultation
Many patients have reasonable expectations and goals for surgery, but it can be difficult to discern which technique is best for you until you speak with an experienced plastic surgeon. Schedule a consultation with us to learn how we can help you meet your cosmetic needs.