Tummy Tuck 101

At Austin Cosmetic Surgery, we perform many tummy tucks. Some are part of a mommy makeover. Others are stand-alone surgeries. They are an especially effective procedure if the patient has a good deal of excess sagging skin on the lower abdomen.

Here’s some more information on our tummy tucks at Austin Cosmetic Surgery.

Why is a tummy tuck needed?

Patients often wonder if they can only have liposuction rather than the more involved surgery of a tummy tuck. The skin is the question. Our skin has lots of elasticity and flexibility. This enables us to perform all sorts of complex movements without tearing our skin. If we did the same things with tight fitting clothing, for instance, it would be torn in many places.

But there are limits. When a woman is pregnant, the weight gain is very localized, and that stretches the skin far more than simple weight gain. Twelve pounds of pregnancy weight is nothing like 12 pounds of overall weight gain. This stretching can basically over-stretch the skin to the point where it can’t rebound back down onto the slimmer contour once the woman has the baby and loses her baby weight. What is left is a tummy pooch usually beneath the belly button and above the pubic area. In many cases, the stomach muscles that support the abdomen also can become separated, and they cannot come back to the center of the stomach without help.

So, loose skin and separated muscles. Those problems cannot be solved by liposuction. A tummy tuck is necessary to remove the excess, sagging skin and reposition the stomach muscles back into the center of the stomach. In contrast, if you had gained 12 pounds and then lost it, but there are some stubborn pockets of fat here and there afterwards, your skin still probably has good elasticity and can tighten back down. You simply need to remove the pockets of fat, and liposuction is perfect for that scenario.

Full or mini?

In a full tummy tuck, Dr. Carlotti (Michelle or Albert) makes an incision from hipbone to hipbone, as well as above the belly button. A hexagonal area of skin is removed, including the sides (to get rid of the “muffin top” tendency). The separated stomach muscles are brought back toward the center with a corset stitch to make the abdomen firmer and to narrow the waist. Now, the skin is pulled downward, excess skin is trimmed away, and the navel is brought back through the flap in a natural, higher position. This incision will be lengthy, but it can be hidden under a bikini bottom or underwear.

A mini tuck usually focuses solely on sagging that occurs below the belly button, removing a lower pooch. The incision for mini tucks can often be shorter, depending on the unique needs of the patient.

Are you interested in doing something about that stomach pooch? Call the team at Austin Cosmetic Surgery in our Lakewood office, (512) 688-8000, or our Scottsdale office, (480) 947-7700, and set up a consultation.

  • Share: