- An extended tummy tuck is similar to a abdominoplasty, but the procedure also targets fat on the flanks and lower back.
- The incision wraps from the low pelvis to the lower back.
- Extended tummy tucks are generally considered safe. As with all surgeries, there are risks involved.
- Risks include swelling, fluid accumulation, reaction to anesthesia, and numbness after surgery.
- Tummy tucks are an in-hospital procedure where patients are put under anesthesia.
- If the procedure is elective, as most are, it will not be covered by insurance.
- It’s important to find a trained, board-certified plastic surgeon whose work you trust.
- The cost for a tummy tuck varies widely based on where you live, the procedure itself, and the size of the area.
- It will usually fall between $4,000 and $18,000.
- Extended tummy tucks are very effective with studies reporting that the majority of those who elect to have this procedure are satisfied by the results.
An extended tummy tuck is very similar to a regular tummy tuck — sometimes called an abdominoplasty — but instead of just reducing excess skin and fat on the stomach, it also targets the flank area, or love handles, between the waist and hips. In some cases, an extended tummy tuck will also target excess skin on the lateral thigh.
The ideal candidates for an extended tummy tuck include people who have lost a lot of weight and have excess skin, and those who want to slim the appearance of their stomach and flanks.
The cost of an extended tummy will vary depending on the surgeon, the volume of fat, and the size of the area. The price range for a tummy tuck generally falls between $4,000 and $18,000.
In 2019, the average cost of a tummy tuck (not extended) was $6,092 according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Because there is more involved in an extended tummy tuck, the cost will likely be more. In addition, this cost is only for the procedure and does not take into account anesthesia, operating room facilities, or other related expenses.
Because tummy tucks are usually done for aesthetic reasons only, the procedure will not be covered by insurance. In some cases, a tummy tuck may relieve back pain and incontinence. You will also likely have to take several days off from work for recovery.
Extended tummy tucks work by removing excess skin and fat from the abdomen and repairing any muscles that have become loosened or torn. Through an incision above the pubic hairline that wraps around to the lower back, skin and fat are removed from the stomach and flank area. The skin is laid flat, and the belly button is reattached, giving the skin a smoother, flatter appearance.
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- During an extended tummy tuck, the surgeon will typically make an incision between your hip bones, low in the pubic area. If you’re having a tummy tuck after a C-section, they may reopen the same scar.
- Any muscles that have been separated, such as from pregnancy, will be sewn together so they appear taut. Full tummy tucks can fix diastasis recti, which is a splitting of the abdominal muscles.
- The belly button will be cut away, and liposuction may be performed if there is extra fat.
- Excess skin is removed from the tummy and flank area, and the skin will be pulled taut.
- Finally, the belly button is sutured in its original place, unless you and your surgeon decide to change its shape.
Extended tummy tucks target the upper and lower stomach, waist, flanks, and sometimes the uppermost lateral portion of the thigh.
As with all surgery, there are some risks and side effects associated with extended tummy tucks. One study found that
- numbness after surgery, which is typically temporary
- excess fluid or blood pooling in the belly
- swelling and redness
- internal organ puncture — while rare, could be caused by cannula (a tube that removes excess fluids from the body) penetrating too deeply and potentially puncturing an organ
Your surgeon or nurse should brief you on what to expect after surgery including:
- what activities to avoid and how long
- if and when you can consume alcohol and certain medications or supplements
- how long to wear your compression garment
- how to manage your drainage tubes, if your surgeon uses them
- when to schedule a follow-up appointment
You will be able to see some results immediately, though your abdominal area will be swollen and bandaged. For the first few weeks, you will likely be advised to rest at an angle and avoid strenuous activity or lifting heavy things.
Around the 2- to 3-month mark, most of the swelling will likely have gone down, though you may still see some scarring, which should lighten over time. After 6 months to a year, you will see the full results, which should be permanent unless you gain weight quickly or have a pregnancy.
It’s helpful to see photos from people who have had extended tummy tucks when deciding if the procedure is right for you. Check out before and after photos below:
Before your extended tummy tuck, you’ll likely need to get a blood panel to make sure you’re in good health. You will also want to meet with your surgeon to discuss what to expect. Also, you will need to arrange a ride home.
You may also be told to:
- stop smoking
- limit alcohol
- stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs (like aspirin) and certain herbal supplements, which could potentially worsen bleeding or prevent proper clotting
An extended tummy tuck and a traditional tummy tuck are very similar procedures. The main difference is that an extended tummy tuck addresses the flanks, also known as love handles, between the waist and hip. Because of the additional procedure, an extended tummy tuck is often more expensive, takes longer to complete, and may require a longer recovery time post-surgery.
An extended tummy tuck should only be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. You can use the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ Find a Surgeon Tool tool to find a list of board-certified plastic surgeons near you.