How many different types of tummy tucks are there?

Written by: Miss Judith Hunter
Published: | Updated: 30/12/2019
Edited by: Lisa Heffernan

Whether you want to tighten up loose skin around your tummy after shedding weight or having kids, a tummy tuck or in other words, an abdominoplasty removes excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen and tightens the rectus abdominis (six-pack muscles) that lie underneath.


However, an abdominoplasty is not a substitute for losing weight. Patients who are already at their ideal weight achieve better results with the surgery. Miss Judith Hunter talks about the different types of abdominoplasty, all of which can be combined with tightening your muscles that give you a six-pack!


Standard abdominoplasty

This is the most common abdominoplasty. Skin and fat are removed from below the belly button and the remaining skin is pulled tight together. Stretch marks below the belly button will be removed, however, stretch marks above the belly button will remain. There will be two scars after the abdominoplasty. One will run from one hip to the other, across the lower abdomen and there will be another scar around the belly button.


Mini Abdominoplasty

A small melon slice of skin and fat is removed from the lower abdomen, leaving behind a scar along the bikini line. There will be no scar around the belly button, but the belly button might be shifted into a lower position after the procedure. This tummy tuck is only suitable for those who have a very small amount of excess skin.


Fleur de Lys Abdominoplasty

This abdominoplasty is very similar to the standard abdominoplasty but there will be an extra scar after the surgery, which will be vertical and run along the front of the tummy. This is because excess skin is removed, not only from the lower part of the abdomen but across the abdomen too, so skin is removed both horizontally and vertically. This is more common in people who have lost a lot of weight.


Extended Abdominoplasty

Similar again to a standard abdominoplasty, this procedure is commonly used after a massive weight loss, with the scar extending further around the back of the patient.


Full Body Lift or Circumferential Abdominoplasty

This is similar to a standard abdominoplasty, however, the scar extends from the front of the tummy all around the back to the top of the buttocks. This is done after a major weight loss. Liposuction can also be combined with this abdominoplasty for some patients.


Before the abdominoplasty

Every patient will have a pre-op assessment and sometimes blood will be taken.


During the abdominoplasty

Depending on the type of abdominoplasty, the procedure can take anywhere from between 90 minutes to four hours. It’s performed under general anaesthetic, so you are fully unconscious/asleep.


You cannot eat or drink anything but water for six hours before the operation. Water can only be had up to two hours before the operation.


After the operation

Patients generally have drains placed in them and stay in the hospital overnight. Often drains are removed the next day but sometimes patients may need to go home with a drain in.


A pressure garment will be fitted at the end of the operation and will need to be worn for six weeks following the operation, every day and night. You’ll be able to walk right away after the operation but should expect to take two weeks off work, avoid driving, heavy lifting and going to the gym for six weeks.


You’ll have a follow-up appointment one to two weeks after the procedure and then once again at six weeks.


If you’re considering a tummy tuck and you have more questions, you can contact Miss Hunter through her Top Doctors profile.

By Miss Judith Hunter
Plastic surgery

Miss Judith Hunter is a Senior Consultant Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgeon based at Imperial College Healthcare NHS and Imperial Private Healthcare London with a special interest in all forms of breast surgery, including DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction and TUG Flap Breast Reconstruction.  Miss Hunter's work in breast reconstruction has served to finesse her cosmetic surgery procedures offered to her private patients: she regularly performs breast reductions, having performed around 1000 breast reductions over the last few years; together with breast uplift (mastopexy); breast augmentation (breast enlargement - using implants or fat transfer to breasts); augment mastopexy (breast enlargement and uplift) and removal of implants and capsulectomies and exchange.  Miss Hunter also has extensive experience in body contouring, regularly performing abdominoplasty (tummy tuck); brachioplasty (arm lift): and inner thigh lift procedures, combined with liposuction and also labiaplasty procedures.   

Miss Hunter has undertaken three microsurgery fellowships, at the Royal Marsden and St Thomas's Hospitals in London and a year in Australia.

Miss Hunter originally graduated from the University of Cambridge with a First Class Honours degree and trained for over 10 years in plastic and reconstructive surgery in Cambridge and London. She attained her FRCS (Plast) in 2011 and achieved her specialist registration in plastic surgery in 2013. In 2015 she joined the consultant plastic surgery team at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, primarily to perform immediate microsurgical flap reconstruction for breast cancer patients, her post was made substantive in May 2016.

Miss Hunter has performed over 300 DIEP free flaps over the last few years, helping the Plastic Surgery Department at Imperial College Healthcare NHS to become the second largest free flap provider for breast reconstruction in the UK; she has set up a breast reconstruction clinic at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, working together with fellow breast surgeons; she is also trained in medical tattooing, and in microsurgery for lymphoedema.

Miss Hunter teaches at the Royal College of Surgeons courses on oncoplastic breast reconstruction and is a faculty member of the Masters Programme in Oncoplastic Breast Surgery; she has over 25 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and has presented widely at national and international meetings.

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