The 5 Types of Tummy Tuck Techniques

Also known as abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is designed to remove loose skin, tighten abdominal muscles, and eliminate stubborn deposits of fat.

It may not be considered a weight loss surgery, but it can definitely refine your contours when diet and exercise are not enough to eliminate stubborn excess tissues and fat cells.

While a tummy tuck’s main purpose is to help you achieve a firmer figure, it comes in several variations. Each of them is designed to specifically target certain issues or body areas.

Here is an overview of the five types of tummy tuck techniques used by cosmetic surgeons.

Complete tummy tuck

The complete tummy tuck is the traditional and most commonly performed tummy tuck surgery technique. It is often prescribed for patients who need the most correction, as it is also the most invasive. More often than not, it is combined with an abdominal liposuction for best results.

To make it easier for you, we have come up with a short checklist of questions that you should ask your surgeon before a Tummy Tuck.
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In a complete tummy tuck, a hip-to-hip incision is made on the level of the pubic hair in the lower abdomen. This allows the skin and muscles in the abdominal area to be easily manipulated as needed. It is also combined with another incision around the belly button to free it from the surrounding tissue. That way, the belly button can be easily moved to ensure natural-looking results.

Since it addresses the entire abdominal area, tummy tuck recovery often involves the placement of drainage tubes under the skin. These tubes, connected to a bulb, suction excess fluid that accumulates in the surgical area during recovery. They are often removed by the cosmetic surgeon a few days after surgery.

Mini tummy tuck

Also known as partial abdominoplasty, the mini tummy tuck is the best option for people who have a small amount of abdominal skin to be removed. Patients are within 10 percent of their ideal body weight and the fat deposits that they want to be removed are located below the navel. They also do not have a significantly protruding abdominal muscle wall, so the less invasive nature of the mini tummy tuck works well for them. It is even sometimes dubbed as “scarless.”

This technique only requires a small incision that only exposes a small section of the abdominal wall, usually extending from the point of incision towards the navel. Thus, the navel does not need to be repositioned. After the excess fat has been removed and the abdominal muscles have been tightened, the surgeon stretches the skin downward, cutting away excess tissue and stitching the remaining skin into place.

The results of mini tummy tucks are not as dramatic as those of other types of tummy tuck surgeries, but the recovery time is often shorter.

Endoscopic tummy tuck

Another minimally invasive technique is the endoscopic tummy tuck surgery, which is performed on patients with weakened abdominal muscles, little abdominal fat, and no noticeable loose skin around the stomach area since no skin is removed during this procedure.

Considered as a variation of the mini tummy tuck, the endoscopic tummy tuck involves the use of a tiny camera attached to a slender tube that is inserted into the incision site. This device, known as an endoscope, is used by the surgeon to tighten the patient’s abdominal muscles and suture them into place, hence restoring a toned appearance to the abdominal area.

Since the incision is only large enough to accommodate the endoscope, this technique results in the least noticeable scarring among all other tummy tuck techniques. It also has a shorter recovery time than other methods, as there is less bleeding, swelling, and bruises to be expected.

The endoscopic tummy tuck is also the strategy of choice for people who suffer from rectus diastasis—a disorder that involves the separation of the abdominal muscles at the midline of the belly.

Extended tummy tuck

Just like what its name implies, the extended tummy tuck is an expanded version of a normal abdominoplasty procedure, since it also involves the removal of excess skin from the patient’s sides or “love handles” on top of the removal of excess fat and skin from the stomach area. This method is perfect for patients who still have folds of fat and extra skin in the flanks and back area.

The incision spans the entire length of the abdomen and extends to the back of the patient’s hips. This allows the surgeon to treat a larger abdominal area than the complete tummy tuck. The surgeon tightens the exposed muscles and even creates a new navel to match the patient’s new body shape. It is also possible to combine this with liposuction to achieve the ideal body contour. For those who want more comprehensive body contouring results, the extended tummy tuck can be combined with an arm lift, thigh lift, or even a Brazilian Butt Lift.

But in spite of the large incision involved, the scar is usually so low that it is often not visible even when wearing low-rise clothing.

Circumferential tummy tuck

The circumferential tummy tuck is also a type of body lift procedure, as it is more extensive than a standard tummy tuck. It is performed when there is also excess fat in the back besides the abdomen, usually as a result of massive weight loss that led them to have loose, overhanging skin around their entire body. Patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery or other typ es of bariatric surgery usually go for the circumferential tummy tuck.

The incision spans the entire circumference of the torso, and the surgeon uses liposuction and other techniques to re-contour the patient’s figure from the ribs to the knees, in both the front and the back of the body. The surgeon will also tighten the muscles in the abdominal wall, as well as reposition the patient’s belly button for a more natural appearance. Excess skin is also removed before the sutures are closed.

Because of the extensiveness of the circumferential tummy tuck, it usually takes three to five hours to complete. But in spite of the huge scar, it can often be concealed by the patient’s underwear. The recovery time is longer than that of the other techniques.

Your doctor will help you decide which of the aforementioned tummy tuck techniques fits your individual needs. Consider an accredited and experienced board certified cosmetic surgeon to do your tummy tuck procedure. Schedule a Free Consultation with us here at

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and discuss the different tummy tuck techniques with one of our highly-trained board certified plastic surgeons.


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