Surgical Options For Tummy Tucks

No two patients are exactly like, even though each person may have the same desired results. Many people long to improve the appearance of a protruding abdomen, reduce saggy skin around their midsection, or realign and tighten their ab muscles and turn to one of the many tummy tuck techniques.

Several tummy tuck options exist to overcome these challenges to contour the body including a full tummy tuck, mini tummy tuck, extended tummy tuck, drain-free tummy tuck, and dermolipectomy. Dr. Kulick, a leading board certified plastic surgeon, can discuss these options with you to decide which plan is best for you.

Full Tummy Tuck

A fully tummy tuck, abdominoplasty, is designed to flatten the upper and lower abdominal area from the lower rib cage to the bikini area. This procedure helps eliminate excessive midsection skin and and tighten the tissue that holds the abdominal muscles in place called “fascia.” If this tissue layer is stretched out due to pregnancy or previous weight gain, it can cause a condition called diastasis recti, where the abdominal muscles are spread apart by the overstretching of the linea alba, the tissue called fascia overlying the rectus abdominis muscles. This tissue layer normally provides us with our hourglass waistline. In addition to tightening the abdominal fascia and removing excess skin and fat surgically, to remove excess fat elsewhere, liposuction can be combined with the tummy tuck to achieve desired results.

In the lower abdomen, a horizontal incision is made in the shape of a “w.” The amount of excess skin will determine the length of the incision. An incision around the navel region will be made allowing it to remain in the same location after the procedure and to maximize the amount of skin excised. Excess skin and fat is then removed and the tissue holding the muscle in place, the fascia is tightened. The incision is closed with sutures. The horizontal incision usually can be concealed most bathing suit bottoms. The fully tummy tuck will result in a much flatter, smoother abdomen, and reduced appearance of stretch marks. Pants, skirts, and form-fitting dresses will all have a more flattering fit.

Mini abdominoplasty

The mini tummy tuck solely addresses the abdomen below the naval and is less invasive. This method can be ideal for a small bulge in the lower abdomen, loose skin, and stretch marks below the belly button. Unlike the full tummy tuck, an incision is much shorter than a full tummy tuck and doesn’t require entry through the naval. Once the incision is made the surgeon will remove extra skin and tighten lower abdominal muscles before closing the incision. Patients can be under twilight anesthesia and due to its less invasive technique, a shorter recovery period will be needed. Dr. Kulick can perform liposuction with the mini tummy tuck if needed.

Extended tummy tuck

An extended tummy tuck is also known as a circumferential lower body lift.tummy tuck techniques This more invasive procedure addresses the full abdomen as in a full tummy tuck but also targets the hips and lower back. People who have lost a significant amount of weight and have excess, sagging skin around the front half of the body are great candidates for an extended procedure. This technique is also useful to repair damage and significant laxity in the abdominal muscles following multiple pregnancies or significant weight loss.

A horizontal incision is made in an extended tummy tuck by reaching around the hips – sides of the lower back – along with a vertical incision through the belly button. This allows more surplus tissue to be removed from a wider area. Liposuction procedure removes fat around the lower back and hips and to contour the area. A round incision to free the navel and reposition it higher is required following the excised skin before the incisions are closed.

Drain-free tummy tuck

Many tummy tucks are accompanied with drains to help remove natural fluid buildup between the abdominal wall and tissue. A tummy tuck can be done without drains. Your surgeon can use progressive tension sutures in a quilting technique to secure the abdominal skin to the underlying tissue layers. This tightens the bond to leave less room for fluid to build up. With this technique, the incision can be made lower and is easier to conceal. It also reduces tension on the incision site so many patients have a less visible scar.


Dermolipectomy is even a less invasive procedure than a mini tummy tuck. It removes excess fat, skin, and tissue but does not tighten underlying muscles. A candidate for this procedure would be someone who has strong tone in their abdominal muscles but has just a small pouch of excess skin.

To decide which procedure is right for you, schedule an in-person consultation with Dr. Kulick, a leading board certified plastic surgeon in San Francisco. During this time, he’ll examine your individual anatomy, discuss all your options, and create a unique tummy tuck treatment plan along with any other necessary procedures.

Interested in a Tummy Tuck?

Dr Michael KulickDr. Michael Kulick, MD is a leading board certified plastic surgeon in San Francisco, California. During an initial consultation, he’ll examine your individual anatomy, discuss all your options, and create a unique treatment plan along with any other necessary procedures. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of plastic surgery and are looking for a qualified cosmetic surgeon, use this online form to request a consultation with Dr. Kulick or call 415-956-2550.