What are the different options available?
The simplest type of abdominoplasty consists of excess fat removal by liposuction alone. This is applicable only to those men and women who have tight abdominal skin and muscles. Women who fit this category usually have not had children. This procedure entails using very small incisions placed inside the navel and within the pubic area through which liposuction is performed. Recovery is relatively quick and near complete by one week.
Those with muscle laxity and limited amounts of excess lower abdominal skin are candidates for a modified abdominoplasty. This is sometimes referred to as a “mini-abdominoplasty” although this is a somewhat misleading and euphemistic term. This procedure utilizes a low horizontal incision to provide access for both muscle tightening and skin removal (Figure 1, left). The final scar is low, like that of a cesarean section, but it is much longer. The navel moves together with the abdominal skin as it is pulled down so its final position is lower than originally (Figure 1, right).
A complete abdominoplasty permits maximum removal of excess skin and stretch marks (Figure 2, left). The abdominal muscles are tightened with internal sutures. Liposuction of the flanks and lower back may be included. The incision is longer and ends up higher than that used for a modified abdominoplasty, even though it is made very low to begin with. The final scar extends from one hip all the way across to the other and lies just below the belt level. There is also a second small scar that encircles the navel (Figure 2, right). Both scars usually fade after a year but they are permanent and are always visible to some degree. Their final width, texture, and color may vary.