A standard tummy tuck is a surgical procedure performed to remove excess skin from the abdomen. In patients who have excess loose skin from weight loss, pregnancy or other factors, a standard abdominoplasty may not be enough to achieve the best possible results.
An extended tummy tuck procedure is a variation of the standard abdominoplasty which extends to the hips, flanks, and sometimes the lateral thigh. In this procedure, the lateral incision of a standard tummy tuck is extended to reach further around the body, rather than just the central “tummy” area. This recontours the hips and flanks as well as the stomach, resulting in a smooth and tightened appearance of the entire mid-section.
If the flanks (love handles) have excess stubborn fat rather than loose skin, liposuction may be used in combination with a standard abdominoplasty to achieve the best possible result.
Specialist Plastic Surgeon, Dr Mark Doyle is highly trained in performing advanced body surgeries which focus on removing excess skin. If you’d like to recontour your midsection, book a consultation with Dr Doyle to find out more about an extended tummy tuck.
Am I a Good Candidate for an Extended Abdominoplasty?
You may be a good candidate to undergo extended tummy tuck surgery if you:
- Have lost a lot of weight and have folds of excess loose skin around your midsection
- Have loose skin and stubborn fat around the flanks (love handles) and hips
- Have a bulging stomach due to weak abdominal muscles or excess skin
- Have separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) as well as stretched and loose skin
- Have prominent stretch marks around your midsection and hips
- Want to tighten your midsection following pregnancy
As well as these reasons for wanting to undergo extended tummy tuck surgery, there are other criteria you need to meet to be considered a good candidate. You may be a good candidate if you:
- Are in good health with no serious illness or medical conditions
- You are at your goal weight and have maintained this weight for over one year
- You are not planning to get pregnant again
- You don’t smoke or drink
- If you do smoke, you’re able to quit for the months leading up to and following your surgery
- You are not undergoing this procedure to lose weight, rather contour your abdomen
- You have realistic goals and expectations about what this procedure can achieve
To find out whether you are a good candidate, book a consultation with Dr Doyle or submit an enquiry form.
Benefits of Extended Tummy Tuck Surgery
A major benefit of an extended tummy tuck is the improvement to your appearance. This procedure can remove stretch marks, tighten sagging skin as well as reduce excess stubborn fat around the midsection. More benefits of this procedure include:
- You’ll have more contoured hips, flanks and abdomen
- Your body may become more in proportion
- Clothes may fit you better and appear more flattering
- You may have improved self-confidence and self-esteem
- Your upper pubic area will be tightened and fat reduced
- Exercise may become easier and more enjoyable
- You may experience improved posture
- You may have improved abdominal muscle tone
- You may find a decrease in back pain caused by weak or separated ab muscles
- You may have improvements in minor incontinence
During your initial consultation with Dr Doyle, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your condition, concerns and the potential benefits. This will help you decide if this procedure is right for you.
When Is An Extended Abdominoplasty Needed?
When patients lose a significant amount of weight, they are often left with loose skin on their stomach and hips which extends out to the flanks. In this case, a standard abdominoplasty will not address the sagging skin over the hips. While it will help to recontour the central portion of the abdomen, a standard incision tummy tuck will actually accentuate the outer loose skin if it extended around the body.
What’s Involved In An Extended Tummy Tuck Procedure?
Before surgery begins, the incision lines will be marked on your body to ensure they are in the right place. You will be in a standing position and the marks will be placed in a position where the excess stomach, hip and flank skin can be removed but to keep the scar low, under the waistband of most clothing.
Extended tummy tuck surgery is always performed under general anesthesia at John Flynn Hospital on the Gold Coast. The procedure will take around three hours to complete.
The surgery begins on your abdomen and you will be lying face-up on the table. Dr Doyle will make an incision on your stomach from one hip to the other, and around the navel. He will remove extra skin and fat from your abdomen and tighten the underlying tissues and muscles underneath. Excess skin is pulled downwards and the incision is closed.
Next, you will be positioned onto one side, exposing the entire hip/flank area. The flank’s skin will be elevated, excess skin removed and the wound closed. This is then repeated on the other side. Your wounds will be dressed and your surgery is complete.
Recovery From Extended Tummy Tuck
As the extended tummy tuck involves a fairly long incision and sizeable physical change, it may be recommended that you stay in the hospital for 24 hours or more for monitoring purposes. During surgery, you’ll have drainage tubes placed underneath your skin to prevent fluid accumulation and to allow the incisions to heal properly. These remain for the week following surgery.
You’ll be wearing a compression garment or a bandage that will offer support and reduce swelling. This should be worn for about six weeks postoperatively. You will also be provided with a script for antibiotics to prevent infection of the wound site.
You won’t be able to walk immediately after surgery but it’s important to start walking soon after to ensure proper recovery. Walking gets the blood flowing and reduces the chance of blood clotting, particularly in the legs. You should be able to return to light physical activity after three weeks, but always consult with Dr Doyle about when you can resume any strenuous physical activity.
The final result will be apparent six months following surgery.
Risks of Extended Tummy Tuck Surgery
Every surgery comes with certain risks and complications which is why it’s always advised that you attend a Specialist Plastic Surgeon and undergo surgery in an accredited hospital. Before deciding whether this surgery is the right option for you, you must understand all the potential risks associated with it. These are the following risks associated with extended tummy tuck:
- Unfavourable scarring
- Excessive bleeding
- Poor wound healing
- Persistent pain
- Reaction to the anaesthesia
- Seroma – fluid accumulation
- Changes in skin colour
- Changes in skin sensation
- Blood clots in the legs, pelvis area or lungs
These risks will be discussed in further detail during your initial consultation with Dr Doyle. In the meantime, we encourage you to read our General Risks of Surgery page.
Why Choose Dr Mark Doyle
Dr Mark Doyle is a specialist plastic surgeon with over thirty years of experience and has performed many procedures for those patients with significant weight loss including abdominoplasties and upper and lower body lifts, belt lipectomies, inner thigh and upper arm lifts. Book a consultation with him today to find out more about extended tummy tuck surgery.
An extended Tummy tuck can be done along with other cosmetic procedures to obtain further contouring.
Liposuction is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which removes excess stubborn fat from certain parts of the body. Liposuction done along with an extended tummy tuck is an excellent combination of surgeries to give you a more defined and contoured look. Liposuction complements an extended tummy tuck excellently to treat stubborn pockets of fat which can’t be surgically excised.
Extended Tummy Tuck Frequently Asked Questions
How much does extended tummy tuck surgery cost in Queensland?
The final cost of a tummy tuck will be different for everyone depending on your unique requirements. Some require liposuction, while others don’t. Some need to have their abdominal walls repaired, while others don’t. Along with the specifics of your procedure, surgeon, anaesthetist and hospital fees are also factored in.
If specific criteria are met, some patients may qualify for a Medicare rebate for this procedure. Dr Doyle can provide you with a more accurate estimate following your consultation. You can access our list of pricing resources to find about more about the cost of extended tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery:
What’s the difference between a standard abdominoplasty and an extended abdominoplasty cost?
A standard tummy tuck treats the space between your hip bones. Scars are comparatively smaller in length compared to the extended tummy tuck.
An extended tummy tuck contours this section as well as your hips and flanks. It involves an extension of the lateral incision to your sides and hips. As a longer incision is required for an extended tummy tuck, there will be more post-operative scarring. The results encompass a wider range of the abdominal region compared to a standard abdominoplasty.
Depending on your aesthetic goals, both of these procedures are an effective method of tightening the midsection.
Can an extended tummy tuck treat love handles?
Yes, if you have excess skin in your flanks (love handles) and back, an extended tummy tuck can be correct this and effectively contour your love handles.
Will an extended tummy tuck lift my pubic area?
Yes, an extended tummy tuck also lifts your pubic area.
Is an extended tummy tuck painful?
Most surgery involves discomfort and pain during the healing stages. It can be difficult to predict the pain levels as each individual’s pain and discomfort may vary.
You will be hunched over for at the first 3 or 4 days after the surgery. This can provide slight discomfort but don’t worry as it’s perfectly normal. It takes some time to stand up straight after the surgery.
Will insurance cover my extended tummy tuck?
You may be eligible for a subsidy from Medicare and your Private Health Fund if you meet the strict criteria. Please view our Medicare and Abdominoplasty blog for more details on the criteria.
What is the scarring like for an extended tummy tuck procedure?
The incisions that are made during your surgery are thin but you will be left with red and sometimes raised scars after your procedure. As the wounds heal, the scars will fade to a light pink and then to white and hopefully, flatten out. This process can take several months to several years.
Scars which extend from one side of the body to the other will be visible for at least a few years after the extended tummy tuck surgery. Usually, these scars are strategically placed so that they can be hidden underneath underwear and a swimsuit.
How can I minimise scarring?
To avoid making your scars worse, it’s important to adhere to Dr Doyle’s specific aftercare instructions. This will include avoiding heavy lifting, tanning and exfoliating or scrubbing the skin too soon after surgery. There are also specific scar management techniques such as massage and products such as silicone sheets that can help keep scarring to a minimum.
Can I be overweight and have an extended tummy tuck?
It’s important to know that any abdominoplasty procedure is not a weight loss surgery. This procedure is best performed on those within a healthy BMI and for patients who are close to their ideal weight range. Being overweight greatly increases the risks of your surgery and if you plan to lose more weight your results may be compromised.
It’s recommended that you are at a stable weight when you consult for an extended tummy tuck and are finished having children. Dr Doyle will explain this to you in detail and may present alternative body contouring options depending on your weight and your aesthetic goals.
Is extended tummy tuck cosmetic surgery worth it?
An extended tummy tuck removes excess sagging skin from your abdomen, flanks, and hips. It’s an excellent way to get your body contoured following pregnancy and weight loss. If you have image-related issues due to the size of your love handles or excess skin and want to get it removed for a more chiselled and contoured look, extended tummy tuck surgery is absolutely worth it.
Book a Consultation with Dr Doyle
If you are tired of your bulging stomach and love handles despite your dramatic weight loss, book a consultation with Dr Doyle for an extended tummy tuck. If you are looking to discuss your body contouring options with an expert, give us a call on 5598 0988 or submit an enquiry and we will get back to you shortly.