Summary: While most people are familiar with the idea of a tummy tuck, many don’t realize how many variations of this procedure are available depending on your unique situation. From minimally-invasive to very-extensive, here are some examples that run the gamut.
If you’ve ever read up on cosmetic surgery, then you’re probably familiar with the tummy tuck. Surgeons perform tummy tuck surgery on thousands of patients per year, making it one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the United States. A traditional tummy tuck is considered major surgery, but there is actually a whole set of lesser-known tummy tuck options that range from very extensive to much less so. Here are a few examples.
Endoscopic Tummy Tuck
As the name suggests, an endoscopic tummy tuck is performed with an endoscope, or a small camera, inserted through several small incisions. This procedure involves minimal scarring. With specialized tools, a surgeon tightens the abdominal muscles and then close the incisions. In addition, liposuction is usually performed during the process to remove fat. This method differs from a traditional tummy tuck because there is no removal of skin. It is ideal for someone who has weakened lower ab muscles but not excess skin in that area. This option is minimally invasive compared open surgery, but still strives for the same results.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck is essentially a modified version of a traditional tummy tuck. It’s designed for people who have abdominal muscles that are in good shape but have some excess skin or fat on their lower abdomen that they would like removed. Unlike a traditional tummy tuck, this option does not have to involve abdominal muscle repair or repositioning the belly button. It’s best for patients who need some extra skin removed, but only below the navel. Basically, a mini tuck is the middle child; it’s more invasive than an endoscopic tummy tuck but less invasive than the traditional procedure. Although it doesn’t provide results that are as extensive, it uses a shorter scar between the hips on the pelvic region, and the recovery period is usually easier. As some patients describe it on the RealSelf.com plastic surgery forum, it’s “the full tuck’s little sister that gives you half the scar but yields far less results.”
Extended Tummy Tuck
Geared toward those with folds of loose skin or heavy love handles, an extended tummy tuck is a good option on the other end of the spectrum, meaning it’s actually more extensive than a traditional tuck, as its name implies. Like a regular tummy tuck, it involves removing excess skin and fat, repositioning the belly button, and repairing ab muscles, but it also focuses on the outer areas of the body, including the hips and lower back. The scar stretches beyond the hips in an extended tuck, allowing the surgeon to address those areas.
Reverse Tummy Tuck
The reverse tummy tuck is the least common of any of these options. The procedure is designed for individuals who have extra skin in their upper abdomen instead of the lower abdomen. It’s far more common for this excess tissue to develop below the belly button, but it can happen above the navel, as well. Dr. Remus Repta, a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in a variety of tummy tuck methods in the Scottsdale-Phoenixarea, describes the reverse procedure this way: “Although very few patients are good candidates for this procedure, for those who are the result is often excellent.” The procedure involves an incision beneath the breasts, which is one reason it’s not as popular, as most people prefer their incisions within the bikini line. However, the nature of the procedure naturally rejuvenates the belly button as tissue is pulled upward, so most cases do not require an incision there.