Extended Tummy Tuck (Extended Abdominoplasty)

November 26, 2013

Traditional tummy tuck surgery is performed to remove excess abdominal skin. The main difference between a traditional and extended tummy tuck is that, with an extended tummy tuck, the incision goes around each hip so that the surgeon may access the patient’s sides and back to contour their waist and flanks, as well as the abdomen. This does result in a longer scar.


As with a normal tummy tuck, the skin is lifted off the abdomen so that the doctor can reach the rectis abdominis muscle and tighten it with sutures. Excess fat from the back, sides, and belly is often removed. The skin is stretched back down over the patient’s stomach and the extra skin is excised before the skin is stitched back up. A new hole is cut to recreate the navel. Extended tummy tucks require general anesthesia under the supervision of a board certified anesthesiologist. This means that the patient is unconscious for the duration of the procedure.


Candidates for an extended tummy tuck have normally lost a significant amount of weight. Be sure you have reached your weight loss goals before pursuing a tummy tuck or any other bodily cosmetic procedure. Being at a stable weight ensures the best results. Women of reproductive age should be finished having children, as the skin stretches during pregnancy. Those who have chronic conditions that affect the body’s ability to heal, such as diabetes, should consult their primary physician before undergoing surgery.

Before Surgery

Quit smoking for at least four weeks. Nicotine constricts and damages blood vessels, which prevents healing and can cause necrosis of the tissues. Smoking also compromises the cardiovascular system and can lead to complications during surgery. Marijuana users should also refrain from smoking.

Avoid blood thinning medications for at least one or two weeks before the procedure. These include anticoagulants such as Cuomadin, aspirin, and NSAID pain relievers. They can cause excess bleeding during and after surgery.

Abstain from drinking alcohol in the days leading up to the surgery. Alcohol can interact with anesthetics.

Maintain a balanced diet. Stay well hydrated and avoid foods that are high in sodium before and after surgery. High-sodium foods can lead to excess swelling.

Recovering from an Extended Tummy Tuck

Patients who have undergone an extended tummy tuck should expect to take at least two weeks off of work for recovery. Swelling and a compromised posture will limit your mobility in the days immediately following surgery. Patients should have someone to assist them for the first couple of days. Patients may have drains attached to the incision site. These will be removed at a follow up appointment. Keep incisions covered while you bathe during the first week. Exposing them to tap water too soon could lead to an infection.

To manage pain and swelling:

  • Take any medications as prescribed
  • Wear compression garments
  • Ice the affected area
  • Do your best to manage stress levels
  • Do not smoke for another month after surgery

To find out of you are a good candidate for an extended tummy tuck, contact Crawford Plastic Surgery.

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