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Do I need a traditional tummy tuck or extended tummy tuck?

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Both men and women are interested in removing excess skin and fat after weight loss. The most common surgery procedures include different types of tummy tucks. Recommendations on the type of tummy tuck depending on how much weight a patient has lost and the amount of loose skin present.  A surgeon may recommend a mini tummy tuck, full tummy tuck, extended tummy tuck also know as an extended abdominoplasty or a lower body lift. 

Prior to any surgery, a patient should meet with their surgeon to determine if he or she is in good health and an ideal candidate for surgery.  During the consultation process, Dr. Caplin or Dr. Nuveen, evaluate the patient’s health, perform an exam, and then explain the details of what each individual may need. 

A mini tummy tuck typically has a smaller incision and small scar. Also many times, the belly button does not have to be moved and just a small amount of loose skin below the belly button is removed. A full tummy tuck, also know as a traditional tummy tuck, involves making an incision around the belly button, and then pulling the excess skin downward.  The scar is well hidden underneath the underwear line in the pubic area extending approximately hip to hip.

Prior to sewing the skin together, the abdominal muscles are typically repaired by sewing them together like a corset to hold in everything nice and tight.  Tummy tucks are routinely combined with liposuction of the flank area. Some patients may have  lost so much weight that all they have left is skin to be removed.  However, many still need a little extra help on stubborn areas of fat. 

Liposuction which can be performed alone is a complimentary procedure to many tummy tucks and extended tummy tucks. Liposuction entails administering local anesthetic and then using a cannula attached to suction to literally suck out fat cells. With normal skin elasticity, the skin will retract, but when significant amounts of fat is removed or has already been lost, the skin can remain loose. Tummy tucks and extended tummy’s tucks are performed to remove that loose skin.

When a person has lost a lot of weight and has significant skin laxity extending to the love handles, then an extended tummy tuck may be recommended. An extended tummy tuck includes everything that a full tummy tuck includes but extends further around to the sides. When the skin laxity exists completely around the patient the tummy tuck is also extended all the way around, 360 degrees, and called a lower body lift. 

Lower body lifts also known as one-stage body lifts are the most extended tummy tuck. This extended tummy tuck includes essentially three surgeries in one: a tummy tuck in the front, a thigh lift on the sides, and a butt lift in the back. In performing a lower body lift, the love handles can be completely removed. Dr. Caplin and Dr. Nuveen specialize in out patient body lifts and routinely perform them as out-patient surgeries in approximately two and half hours. 

After surgery, it is not uncommon for the patient to go home with a drain which stays in place on average about one week.  Additionally, the patient is instructed to wear a compression garment which is typically placed on the patient prior to discharge from the surgery center.  Compression garments are typically worn around the clock for the first two weeks and then 12 hours a day, weeks three and four.  After one month, the garments are usually elective. 

The recovery process is different for each individual; however, most patients are able to get off prescription pain medication within the first week. Patients are asked to take it easy the first week, and then starting the second week to listen to their bodies as they ease back into more activity. Patients are asked to wait one month for any high intensity exercise or aggressive stretching.

Although patients will see a huge improvement immediately after surgery, it takes time for a final result. Most of the swelling goes down around a month, but patients are informed that it can take three to six months for a final result. At the time of surgery, the skin can have a lot of pleating and puckering, but with time it all gets nice and smooth.

Dr. Caplin and Dr. Nuveen perform consultations and surgery at both of their locations, Cosmetic Surgery Affiliates in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Cosmetic Surgery Affiliates Jax in Jacksonville, Florida. Both facilities have fully staffed teams ready and eager to help you through the entire process.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.