The abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is one of the classic procedures of cosmetic surgery and has given many people who are self-conscious about their stomachs a new sense of confidence in their appearance.

Which Tummy Tuck Is Right for Me?

The first abdominoplasties were performed around the turn of the twentieth century, although it was not until a quarter of a century later that people were able to have an abdominoplasty and still have a belly button.

The first form of what is considered the modern abdominoplasty was not devised until 1978, however.

Traditional Abdominoplasty

In the current form of the traditional or full tummy tuck involves the excision (removal) of skin from below the navel, as well as fat in the area. The skin around the navel is cut, then the skin that is maintained from the navel to the rib cage is lifted and folded back over the chest.

Excess fat is removed from the entire area. Then the abdominal muscles are tightened with heavy-duty sutures that run from the solar plexus to the pubic bone.

These sutures were the innovation of J Psillakis, in 1978, and are how the surgery is able to offer an improved waistline. Drains are installed to allow fluids to exit the body in the pubic area.

The remaining skin is laid back down over the abdomen, with a new hole cut for the navel. The skin is stitched back in place, leaving sutures along the upper bikini line, where there will be a slight scar after the operation.

The drains are removed about a week after the operation.


This variation is performed on patients whose muscle and skin laxity is only between the navel and the pubic area. It is a procedure performed on persons with mild skin laxity, too much for the skin to tighten after liposuction, but too little to perform a full tummy tuck.

It involves some excision of the skin below the navel, and the tightening of the abdominal muscle with sutures from the navel to the pubic area.

Although it does not generally affect the area above the navel, it is sometimes combined with liposuction of the upper abdomen.

High Lateral Tension Abdominoplasty

The high lateral tension abdominoplasty represents an improvement for many abdominoplasty patients.

As people age, the laxity in the abdomen that is most significant is not in the center of the abdomen, but across the front.

While traditional abdominoplasty addresses abdominal laxity by tightening at the center of the abdomen, the high lateral tension technique pulls obliquely from the two arms of the incision, providing a second axis of tightening by using the Scarpa’s fascia as the tension-bearing part of the skin closure.

Although all of these techniques offer body contouring for women and men seeking relief from an unsightly bulge of fat or skin in the abdominal area, how to achieve the best possible results for you is something that can only be determined in direct consultation with your doctor.