Hourglass Tummy Tuck Versus Traditional Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty

Written By
Megan Apa
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July 4, 2022

After years of weight gain, weight loss, and childbirth, a person can be left with sagging skin around their abdomen. The internet is filled with quick fixes for “how to get rid of saggy skin” but the truth isn’t so simple. If you are considering a tummy tuck procedure then you may have come across the terms “traditional” and “hourglass”. Perhaps you have heard these words used by your plastic surgeon but aren't sure what they mean or how they differ. In this post we will discuss the difference between a traditional tummy tuck and an hourglass tummy tuck as well as when each procedure is appropriate for your needs.

Dr. Jugenburg, a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon says, “Skin is pretty elastic, but after a certain age or after it has been stretched too far, the skin cannot return to its original state. Once it has reached that point, there is no exercise, no cream, no magic pill that can fix it. The only way to address this excess skin is to remove it.”This can be done through a Tummy Tuck, also known as Abdominoplasty. The traditional tummy tuck is the most common plastic surgery procedure performed on women to fix stretched or sagging skin. It involves a long incision that runs across the lower abdomen, starting under the belly button and ending near the pubic bone. The resulting scar is a long, straight line that can easily be hidden by clothing (although it will be visible while bathing). The surgeon undermines all the way up to the xiphoid process, and then stretches the loose skin towards the incision to gauge a reasonable and comfortable amount to remove. An advantage of this type of tummy tuck is that it's possible to tighten abdominal muscles as part of the procedure.

What is a Tummy Tuck?

Another incision is made to remove the panus, which is then disposed of. The surgeon will then make room for the new belly button, and then tightly suture the skin to the abdomen and close the incision. The result is a tighter, flatter stomach with a scar low enough that it can be hidden by underwear. Some surgeons use a drain for this procedure, which removes any excess fluid from the abdominal cavity. While this was standard practice in the past, it can make the recovery process more uncomfortable for patients. At the SixSurgery Clinic, Dr. Jugenburg and his team offer the drain free tummy tuck, which is accomplished with excellent suture work as they close. In certain cases a drain is still required, but for the most part drain free is the way to go.

What is an Hourglass Tummy Tuck?

Tummy tucks are one of the most popular aesthetic surgeries, but unfortunately many patients don't understand what they're getting themselves into. They may see images online of traditional tummy tucks and think that is how they can achieve their dream bodies. In reality, they are often looking at a variation of the Tummy Tuck called an Hourglass Tummy Tuck.The hourglass tummy tuck is a plastic surgery technique that involves a combination of procedures to provide more improvement in the shape. When the hourglass tummy tuck is performed, we not only desire a firmer and flatter stomach, but also an hourglass silhouette. A traditional Tummy Tuck only removes excess skin and fat from the midsection, while an Hourglass Tummy Tuck focuses on contouring the abdomen by removing both excess skin and stubborn fat to create curves. In addition to the Tummy Tuck steps listed above, your surgeon will use liposuction to remove excess fat from areas of the body like the belly, love handles, and flanks. From here, the fat is separated and purified, similar to the process of a Brazilian Butt Lift. After this, the fat is injected into the hips to achieve the “hourglass” figure. An Hourglass Tummy Tuck provides a more contoured result, with additional work being done to define the waist. The hourglass tummy tuck, or mini-tummy tuck, involves removing skin and fat in a V-shaped pattern to create an inverted "V" around the navel while also performing liposuction on any areas where fat is needed. This is a more “full service” option that is tailored to the patient’s specific wishes and areas of excess skin and fat.

Which one is for me?

A consultation with a reputable surgical team is the best way to know which Tummy Tuck is right for you. You should always come prepared with a little bit of knowledge about the procedure you’re interested in so that your consultation can be spent going over specific details for your unique procedure, rather than educating you on the basics. Reading this article is already a step in the right direction!  

“Wish pictures” or example photos of your desired outcome are incredibly helpful to the consultation process. This can allow your surgical team to assess your expectations and set realistic goals for your unique body type. It is always best to look at pictures of other people who have had a similar procedure, rather than a photoshopped image of a celebrity who has never experienced childbirth or weight loss/gain. Images like this are the main culprit for unrealistic expectations and unhappy patients. Your surgical team should never make promises to mimic photoshopped images - that is a big red flag.The choice between a standard Tummy Tuck and an Hourglass Tummy Tuck comes down to your desired outcome. Are you looking to remove excess skin and tighten muscles only? If so, then you are probably a great candidate for a standard Tummy Tuck. If you are looking to create the appearance of a more cinched waist with fuller hips, you are more suited for an Hourglass Tummy Tuck.

If you’re considering a tummy tuck, the first step is finding a reputable surgeon who can walk you through the process. A tummy tuck can help you get your body back and feel much more confident, but it’s important to find a surgeon you trust to ensure the best possible results. With so many options out there, it can be daunting to choose the right one, but doing your research and taking the time to find a surgeon who meets your needs will be worth it in the end.