What is an extended tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is, in my opinion, the most dramatic body contouring procedure. A tummy tuck can rejuvenate the abdomen. The abdomen’s muscle, fat, and skin layers are made tighter and more defined. Over the years, many techniques have been developed to improve the procedure. Previously, that improvement was limited to the front of the abdomen. Each technique has enhanced the result. Liposuction of the hips, the thigh lateral tension suturing, and central abdominal liposuction with minimal undermining, all have their advocates.
Starting in the mid-90’s, we noticed something about our major weight loss patients. Those who had lost 50-100 pounds or more from surgery or medically controlled diet and exercise, were complaining not only of skin excess on the abdomen, but also the sides and buttocks. Some of these patients had such an excess, that we felt obligated to extend the abdominal incision all the way around the patient to remove the excess. What we began to notice was that the thighs and buttocks looked so much better after this more extended type of tummy tuck. A lifting of the thighs and buttocks had occurred.
Trying to learn from this experience, we began to offer to other patients a more extensive, or extended, tummy tuck. Not necessarily all the way around the patient in every case, the incision did extend around to the posterior hip area just above the buttocks. Removing skin in this area lifted the thighs and buttocks. This extension has, in my opinion, revolutionized the tummy tuck operation. Now a patient’s appearance can be improved in the back as well as the front, obtaining a buttock-thigh lift at the same time as the abdominal improvement.
The extended operation does leave a longer scar. We mark it before surgery so that it may come to lie underneath the underwear or bathing suit line. It does not add much to the healing time, but does add about two hours to the operation.
While not everyone wants to trade a scar for an improvement in the thighs and buttocks, those that have made this decision have been glad that they elected the extended tummy tuck.