Expert Doctor

Extended Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck generally pertains to an abdominoplasty procedure that involves the removal of excess fat and skin from the abdominal area and the tightening of the abdominal wall. A regular tummy tuck involves an incision in the front of the abdomen that extends between the hip bones. Through the incision, the surgeon can pull out excess fat and skin as well as perform muscle repair. A regular tummy tuck addresses the anterior and central abdomen and not the sides or the excess tissue around the hips. However, in an extended tummy tuck, the surgeon basically extends the incision to the sides. If the patient is lying on his, or her, back on a table, the incision may extend all the way down to the table. The incision comes either halfway, almost all the way around the side or as far as the surgeon can reach without having the patient roll over. The idea is to remove more excess fat and skin. One of the main differences between regular and extended tummy tuck is how much tissue the surgeon can actually remove during the procedure.

Am I a Good Candidate for Extended Tummy Tuck?

GOOD CANDIDATES for extended tummy tuck are:

  • Someone who has excess skin or fat rolls on the flank area
  • Patients that want to refine their appearance following a large weight loss
  • Patients with a large amount of excess fat and skin on the upper hip or lower back

Patients who are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES include:

  • Patients who are still greatly overweight or plan on gaining a significant amount of weight
  • Women who plan on becoming pregnant
  • People with a good amount of intra-abdominal fat that surrounds the internal organs

How is Extended Tummy Tuck Performed?

During an extended tummy tuck, an incision is made that spans the entire length of the abdomen. The incision extends all the way back to the hips of the patient. The surgeon then tightens the muscles that have been exposed as well as creates a new navel that is more in line with the new body shape of the patient.  The surgeon might also utilize liposuction to achieve the desired body contour. Once the excess skin has been trimmed and removed from areas such as the hips, back, flanks and abdomen, the incision is closed using sutures.

While an extended tummy tuck provides a more youthful and smoother body contour, some patients opt to further contour their appearance by combining the surgery with procedures such as a Brazilian butt lift, a thigh lift and an arm lift.

Compared to a Body Lift

Tummy tucks are often compared to another procedure called a body lift. Both involve the removal of excess fat and skin but a body lift is more extensive because it includes areas other than the abdominal area. It also deals with the butt, groin and thigh areas. In fact, a tummy tuck is included in the combination of procedures needed to get a body lift done. A traditional body lift is a much longer and more involved procedure. A body lift patient will be required to be face down at some point so the surgeon can cut a circumferential incision that goes all the way around the body.

What is the Cost of an Extended Tummy Tuck?

The cost of an extended tummy tuck depends on if the patient is only having an extended tummy tuck or if the surgery is combined with other procedures.  The final cost also depends on any fees charged by the doctor as well as the facility. In general, the cost is anywhere from $8500-$12,500.

Recovery and Downtime

An extended tummy tuck has the same RECOVERY period as a regular tummy tuck. The difference between the two procedures is the length of the incisions.

The DOWNTIME starts during the first 48 hours after the surgery. For the first 48 hours, patients need to have someone at home with them who will help them get up and go to the bathroom as well as get their medications. After 48 hours, most patients can manage on their own although they will still have drains under the skin that need to be emptied twice a day. They must avoid strenuous activities although moving around is advisable to prevent the formation of blood clots.

The patient cannot operate any kind of vehicle for the first two weeks. After about two to four weeks, patients can go back to work. From the sixth week on, they can resume workouts and other strenuous daily activities. An extended tummy tuck has the same recovery period as a regular tummy tuck. The difference between the two is the length of the incisions.


The results of an extended tummy tuck can be seen right away but more improvements will be seen over the next several months. In some cases, it can take up to twelve months for the full results to be visible. Six to twelve months is needed for the swelling to go away and the scar tissue to completely heal.

The results can last for decades as long as the patient maintains a stable weight and does not become pregnant after the surgery.

Limitations of Extended Tummy Tuck

Limitations of an extended tummy tuck include: 

  • It is not a weight-loss procedure
  • It is not a substitute for healthy eating and maintaining a good healthy weight
  • It is not a good option for women who plan on becoming pregnant

Risks of Extended Tummy Tuck

Some of the risks of an extended tummy tuck include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Blood clots
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the deep veins of the legs)
  • Scarring

Safety First

An extended tummy tuck is a great option for patients who want to get rid of excess fat and skin while having some form of abdominal tightening at the same time. Since a tummy tuck is a surgical operation, it is important to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon to handle the procedure. Patients should schedule a consultation with the surgeon to determine if they are an ideal candidate for the procedure. Some patients might need to wait to have an extended tummy tuck due to the desire to have future pregnancies or if they are too overweight at the moment.


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - MA

Based on an exclusive interview with Dr. Kelly Sullivan in Annapolis, MD