A circumferential tummy tuck is a much more extensive procedure than a standard abdominoplasty. The standard version just takes care of the front or anterior portion of the abdomen.
A circumferential tummy tuck is typically performed on patients who have lost a lot of weight, for example, after bariatric surgery. Because of the massive weight loss, patients have deflated excess skin around their entire body. It is not just loose around their abdomen, but also around their flanks, sides, and back area. In a circumferential tummy tuck, the surgeon makes an incision all the way around the belt line in order to remove the excess skin in not only the abdomen, but also the back and flanks. Additionally, the rectus muscles are brought back together as they typically have been stretched from the original weight gain.
A regular or standard tummy tuck is typically performed if the patient has had multiple pregnancies and is suffering from distended muscles and stretched skin confined to the abdominal area. When it comes to a circumferential tummy tuck, the patient has loose skin all the way around the body.
In a traditional tummy tuck, the surgeon makes an incision on the lower part of the abdomen, repairs the muscles, and takes off the excess skin that was stretched during pregnancy. In a circumferential tummy tuck, the excess skin is taken out around the entire body.
If a patient is having a circumferential tummy tuck, they are typically patients who have had massive weight loss. Thus, the doctor needs to check blood work to assess electrolyte levels and other measures of nutritional health. The patient also needs to see their primary care doctor in order to get a medical clearance. Finally, the patient needs to be at a stable weight for at least one year and their BMI (body mass index) has to be typically less than 35.
The circumferential tummy tuck makes a dramatic change in the person’s physique as far as the abdomen, flanks, and back. Some lift is also gained in the outer thighs and the buttocks, but sometimes the doctor cannot get as much lift as desired.
In any surgery, there can be short-term complications such as wound breakdown, infection, blood clots and fluid collections. Fortunately, these are rare in the hands of a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
If everything goes well with the surgery, there should not be any long-term complications that cannot be taken care of with a quick revision surgery.
There are times when the surgeon does not get as much skin out as they would like during the first operation. Sometimes revision surgery is required to take care of that little bit of excess. The big surgery is the first surgery and any revision surgery is quite minor after that.
Additionally, if the patient loses or puts on weight, a doctor might need to revise some of the work.
The procedure usually takes about three to five hours. The recovery period is longer than a standard abdominoplasty since it involves going all the way around the body. The patient will have drainage tubes in the back and in the front. Typically, patients are up and walking as soon as possible to prevent formation of blood clots.
If patients are doing really well two weeks after the surgery, they can start walking for exercise. As far as heavy lifting and rigorous exercise, that is usually at the four to six week time period. Full healing should happen between this time, however complete resolution of swelling may not be seen until 3-6 months after the surgery.
As far as swelling and knowing what the final results will look like, that typically takes three to six months to become visible. Since the results are not completely apparent for three to six months, the patient has to wait for the swelling to go away and for the scars to mature.
The results should last a very long time. If the patient puts on or loses weight, that affects the results and the patient will need a revision. But if the procedure is done for the right patient for the right reasons, the longevity should last a lifetime.
A circumferential tummy tuck is a procedure that is best suited for patients who have had massive weight loss. The massive weight loss normally results in a good amount of loose skin around the entire body. Since this is a procedure that goes around the entire body, it is best performed by a surgeon who is experienced with this type of tummy tuck. It is in the best interests of the patient to do some research in order to find an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in their area.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team- AA
Based on an exclusive interview with Jarrod Daniel, MD in Charlotte, North Carolina