The many elements involved in a successful tummy tuck

Published: September 1, 2018

Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is one of the most common body contouring procedures performed at Edina Plastic Surgery. Because every patient has a unique body shape and size and their own set of personal goals, each tummy tuck is customized and no two will be exactly alike.

When it comes to a tummy tuck, the procedure is much more than one single surgical step, but rather it is a series of elements that are customized to create the best results for each patient.

By addressing a number of conditions that keep the abdomen from looking toned, the surgeons at Edina Plastic Surgery can achieve tummy tucks with excellent results.

1. Removal of excess fat

Stubborn areas/pockets of fat are responsible for increasing the size of a waistline. Although liposuction is frequently performed as a standalone procedure, it is also an element of a tummy tuck used to help flatten the area. During a tummy tuck the surgeon uses the main incision to get access for the liposuction cannula to loosen and suction out the fat.

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2. Removal of excess skin

Excess skin can create a sagging pouch that hides even very well-defined abdominal muscles that may sit beneath it. Some patients have a small amount of excess skin; others have a great deal of excess skin which is often called an “apron”. During a tummy tuck the surgeon re-drapes the abdominal skin until it sits flat and tight. The excess is then trimmed away. The surgeon places the incision in an area that is typically very low on the torso where it will eventually be hidden by underwear or a bathing suit bottom.

3. Tighten lax muscles

Belly muscles and the fascia covering them often become loose over time. A fascia that is firm helps to hold everything in place much like a “girdle”. When the fascia becomes lax the contents behind it bulge outward. When abdominal muscles separate, it can also make the entire midsection look flabby. When necessary, the surgeon will stitch the abdominal muscles and fascia back together to create a tight and toned look.

4. Belly button placement

During a full tummy tuck the surgeon “relocates” the belly button. This involves creating an opening in the newly-taut abdominal skin, allowing the navel to appear where it should be to look proportional with the rest of the body. This procedure is called an umbilical translocation. For mini and modified tummy tucks, the incision needed is somewhat shorter and the belly button is not impacted.

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