Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, can refer to a spectrum of procedures including liposuction, abdominal repair, partial abdominoplasty or total abdominoplasty. It is an extremely popular procedure for massive weight loss patients or women after pregnancy. Dr Amira Sanki, Specialist Plastic Surgeon from Sydney, is highly experienced in tummy tucks, and considered somewhat of an amazing body contouring specialist, and chatted to us about the ins and outs of the tummy tuck.
Tummy Tuck – the First Step
Dr Sanki says the first step for any patient considering a tummy tuck should be to visit their GP. “It’s always best to start with your GP and have them on board. They can help get you medically fit or the surgery, and I like to communicate with patients’ GPs. Also, that way patients can get a rebate for the consultation and their surgery. Then, the patient can book in for a long consultation with me where we discuss their concerns and consider their options. My waiting time for that consult is about six to eight weeks and this varies from surgeon to surgeon. But the good thing is that patients on their weight loss journey are usually thinking about things before their weight has even stabilised, so it’s good to start thinking ahead.”
What are the different tummy tuck options?
You may have heard different terms referring to different types of tummy tucks. Dr Sanki helps us understand what the differences between each of them are.
ClassicTummy Tuck – this is where an incision is made from hip to hip under your belly button, often under your pants line so the scars will be hidden.
Mini Tummy Tuck – targets the area in the lower abdomen and involves a small incision under the belly button where the surgeon can remove extra skin and tighten the lower tummy muscles if required.
Fleur de lis – involves an incision being made right at the top of your belly just under your breast bone down to your groin and then around both sides, hip to hip. This is a surgery often performed on massive weight loss patients and helps to pull the skin in from side to side. You could look at the incisions as being an inverted or upside down T shape.
Corset Tummy Tuck – similar to the fleur de lis but with an additional incision being made horizontally along from side to side underneath your breast folds. This enables the skin to be pulled and lifted up in addition to pulled in from the sides. You could look at the corset tummy tuck incisions as looking like a sideways H shape. Dr Sanki says, “This is the most dramatic tummy tuck. Even my anaesthetist loves this operation because you just see a patient’s body unveiled; all that beautiful structure and their little waist line and their beautiful proportions suddenly gets shown off by this incredible procedure which is appropriately called a corset tummy tuck because it brings in the waistline and the torso area just like a corset does. But, instead of a piece of fabric, we’re using the patient’s skin.
It’s not an operation I would recommend to everyone. It is most suited to people that have a lot of loose skin around the torso area that seems to even be collecting around the back because it’s going to bring around that skin from the back to recreate their tummy skin that we’ve removed. The other patient that I think it’s worthwhile doing in is people that seem to have multiple rolls of skin at the front of their tummy so they don’t just have that lower hanging abdominal pannus. They seem to have what we call an epigastric roll. They seem to have a top roll and then a middle roll and then that lower abdominal pannus roll. I don’t think there’s any other tummy tuck that can really get rid of that huge amount of skin.”
Extended Tummy Tuck – This operation is a standard tummy tuck but the skin removal curves around the hip area. The scar is longer than a standard tummy tuck but you get an outer thigh and hip lift too.
Belt lipectomy– also referred to as lower body lift, circumferential body lift, or a 360 body lift due to the fact that an incision is made all the way around the body, usually to be hidden in your bikini line. This procedure is also able to a certain extent lift skin in the buttocks and thighs. In some patients, the buttocks can be auto-enhanced with their own fat so that their lost bottom volum is restored.
Liposuction – Dr Sanki says liposuction is quite often required with all tummy tuck procedures. “So some people do still carry a lot of fat and will need liposuction. What a lot of patients don’t realise is that they will also need to reset a lot of the excess skin in the mons pubis area. And then during the tummy tuck procedure if I see there’s still a lot of redundant fat in that area I will lipo it while I’m there as well. A lot of surgeon’s consider a monsplasty a separate procedure, but really, it should be incorporated into all tummy tucks.”
Dr Sanki says that it’s also possible to tailor a tummy tuck operation to suit what the patient needs. She says she’s actually combined a couple of the different tummy tuck techniques to come up with an approach that suited that particular patient. “Not too long ago, I did something that I haven’t done before, which is to combine an extended abdominoplasty with the reversed tummy tuck as well. This is for a patient that just seemed to have a very high riding roll of skin that I knew would not be released by a normal tummy tuck but at the same time she didn’t need to go to the extreme as a corset either. It’s about tailoring the procedures and having the experience and the understanding of a person’s anatomy so that you know what’s safe and what will work.”
Dr Sanki is regarded highly as a body contouring surgeon by both her patients and peers. If you’d like more information about tummy tucks or any body contouring or massive weight loss procedures you learn more in the blogs below, or arrange a consultation with Dr Amira Sanki by filling out this consultation form. You can also learn more about Dr Sanki by visiting her website www.amirasanki.com or check out our real story from Dr Sanki below.