Abdominoplasty or a "Tummy Tuck" is a procedure in which excess loose skin and underlying subcutaneous fat are removed from the abdomen. This procedure also corrects the loose muscles along the midline that are affected due to pregnancy or weight gain. Although the incision for an abdominoplasty varies depending on how much skin is removed, most of these incisions are easily hidden with a garment and tend to improve significantly over time. Following an abdominoplasty, patients can expect a flatter more contoured abdominal area with tighter skin and muscles. Abdominoplasties are generally categorized as "Mini", "Full", or "Circumferential".
A Mini Abdominoplasty has a shorter incision than a "Full Abdominoplasty" and is ideal for patients with loose skin concentrated below the belly button. Unlike the "Full Abdominoplasty", it does not significantly correct loose skin above the belly button.
A Full Abdominoplasty is the most commonly performed abdominoplasty procedure and although the incision is longer than the "Mini", it removes more excess tissue of the lower abdomen and significantly tightens the tissue above the belly button. It also corrects the loose separated muscles of the abdomen thus providing a tight "inner girdle". It is the procedure of choice for woman who have had multiple pregnancies and are unhappy with loose skin and muscles.
Finally, a Circumferential Abdominoplasty is known by many names. It is often referred to as a "Total Lower Body Lift", a "360 Degree Tummy Tuck", "Dimple to Dimple Abdominoplasty", or "Full Abdominoplasty with a Posterior Lipectomy". It involves combining a Full Abdominoplasty in the front with a Lateral Thigh lift and Buttock Lift in the back, thus the incision goes completely around the body. This procedure is usually reserved for patients that have had either massive weight loss or simply have extreme hereditary loose skin.
With the exception of a Mini Abdominoplasty, most abdominoplasty patients require an overnight stay after surgery in a certified facility to ensure proper recovery and one to two weeks to fully recover and return to normal daily activities. Often, these procedures are combined with Liposuction and Breast Surgery.