Tummy Tuck
Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck or Dermolipectomy?

I am not a large woman, but I did have two c-sections that left me with loose, hanging skin below my belly button — also referred to as a kangaroo pouch. I need to know which procedure would be right for me, the mini tuck or the dermolipectomy. I need something with little pain and short recovery time. Thank you.

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The Plastic Surgery Channel Surgeon Answers: (4)

  1. Marla
    You should not get caught up in terminology.  In some respects, a mini tummy tuck can be a dermolipectomy.  Best suggestion is to visit several plastic surgeons to gather different opinions.  If you indeed plan to have the lax skin tightened, it may serve you best to tighten the abdominal wall muscles at the same time (since the surgeon is already "in the neighborhood").  On the other hand, tightening the abdominal wall muscles can result in some pain — albeit relatively short-lived.  There are a great many variations as to what can be done — but all of them are predicated upon a proper physical exam — and then recommendations based on the exam itself.

    Bottom line:  visit several surgeons, discuss your goals and solicit various options (including pros and cons) for the surgery — but be aware that opting for a quick fix may not be in your best interest in the long run.

    Elliot W. Jacobs, MD, FACS
    New York City

    Posted on January 18th, 2010
  2. Once you have had kids, you usually need a full tummy tuck.

    Posted on January 21st, 2010
  3. The best choice of procedure for recontouring of the abdomen is really dependent upon the number of things.  Patients requiring abdominal recontouring often have a combination of problems, which involve loose hanging skin below the umbilicus, loose skin above the umbilicus with or without extra fat, and laxity of the abdominal wall referred to as a rectus diastasis.  The most appropriate procedure is really dependent upon what combination of deformities that  you possess.  If you only have loose skin below the belly button without significant laxity of skin in the upper abdomen and without weakening of the abdominal wall, then a miniabdominoplasty or mini-tummy tuck might be appropriate.  Unfortunately, this does not describe the vast majority of patients requesting evaluation for abdominal recontouring.  Most women have had prior pregnancies find that the loose skin involves both the upper as well as the lower abdomen and is generally associated with weakness of the abdominal wall.  In this case, a full abdominioplasty is more appropriate in order to obtain the best possible results.  I would encourage you to discuss these issues with your surgeon, prior to reaching a decision.  Although the idea of undergoing a mini procedure is appealing, it is of no advantage if it does not address your concerns.

    Posted on January 26th, 2010
  4. Hi Marla


    Actually, both terms involve removal of excess skin and fat and every surgeon has a different idea of what constitutes a "mini tummy tuck." It really boils down to how much skin laxity there is (which determines the extent of the dissection) and whether your abdominal muscles need to be tightened.  These differences must be discussed when you have a physical exam by your plastic surgeon.


    One word of caution:  If you are planning to have some type of surgery, don't limit what the surgeon can do by your need for little pain and a short recovery time.  These are very short term concerns and not in your best interests in the longer term.  There is no sense in having a more limited operation to reduce pain and find that you are disappointed with the surgical results.


    Elliot W. Jacobs, MD, FACS

    New York City

    Posted on January 28th, 2010

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