How much skin removed during tummy tuck? Arguably, this is one of the most common concerns of patients with apron-like abdominal skin resulting from previous pregnancy or massive weight loss.
The truth is, the real issue is not how much skin removed during tummy tuck, but how much tissue is left behind that will allow for a safe wound closure.
Leaving sufficient tissue after surgery also preserves the natural contours and valleys of the abdomen and promotes favorable scarring—i.e., it appears thin and faded.
Most tummy tucks result in a hip-to-hip scar that is positioned immediately above the pubic hairline and thus easily covered by the patient’s underwear or bathing suit. Despite the media hype purporting the benefits of modified techniques (i.e., a much shorter horizontal scar), their contouring effects are rather limited.
Simply put, mini tummy tucks are only reserved for a very small subset of patients because the redundant skin following massive weight loss or pregnancy generally affects the entire abdomen, sometimes even the flanks.
It is important to note that mini tummy tucks can only remove a very small amount of loose skin in the lower abdomen, thus any “bulging” in the upper and lateral aspect remains after surgery, warns leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley.
After removing all the loose skin, the remaining tissue is then pulled down and sutured to the pubic hairline. Dr. Smiley says that precision during skin removal surgery is the key to preserve a smooth transition between the lower abdomen and the mons.
Over-resection of the tissue, he warns, can lead to surgical stigmata such as abrupt transition between the lower abdomen and the pubic hairline, scar migration (riding higher that the underwear no longer hides it), and unnatural contour.
To further achieve a smoother contour, some patients will need a simultaneous liposuction (fat removal), but only if they require minimal “correction.” This ancillary procedure is only reserved for patients with excess fat in their upper abdomen and flanks.
It is important to note that the standard tummy tuck automatically removes the excess fat in the lower abdomen as it trims away the loose skin in the area.
However, large volume liposuction is best performed separately to avoid compromising the blood supply in skin and thus preventing wound healing problems.