An extended tummy tuck is a procedure that best serves those patients that have significant laxity of their abdominal skin as well as their love-handles and waists. Typical candidates for this procedure are those who have lost a significant amount of weight or have had multiple pregnancies. An extended tummy tuck is essentially a full tummy tuck that extends past the waists in order to better shape the mid-region of the body. The extended tummy tuck procedure has all the regular components of a full tummy tuck, which are muscle tightening of the abdominal wall, abdominal skin excision and liposuction, but the incision and fat removal extends around both waists to remove the extra skin from the waist, hips and love handles. Thus the procedure is more elaborate that the standard full tummy tuck but less extensive than a circumferential tummy tuck.
Like the standard tummy tuck, the extended tummy tuck procedure is performed under general anesthesia in an outpatient surgical facility. The procedure can take anywhere from 3-5 hours, depending on the severity of the case. After the incision is made from the outer hip through the lower abdominal area and to the opposite outer hip, the incision is extended to the abdominal muscle surface. The length of an extended tummy tuck incision is customized for each patient’s needs. Similar to the standard tummy tuck, an incision is then made around the belly button in order to release it. The abdominal skin is then pulled back to allow your plastic surgeon to tighten the separated abdominal wall with sutures. Fat is then removed with a liposuction cannula around the flanks and hips. The excess skin of lower abdomen and waists is then removed through an upper incision at the level of the belly button. The upper abdominal skin is then pulled down as far as the lower incision. At this level, the incision is then sutured and closed in 3 layers. Drains are inserted under the incision to allow excess fluid to flow out of the body for the week following surgery. The belly button is next repositioned. Bandages, an abdominal binder and compression garment are placed to help reduce swelling. It is essential for patients to follow their post-operative instructions to reduce the risk of potential complications.