Anyone who has had a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, knows just how impressive the results can be. Almost instantaneously, your waistline is a shell of its former self and you’ve lost that excess flab and toned muscles. Taking the standard tummy tuck even further is a procedure known as a circumferential tummy tuck, or circumferential abdominoplasty.
The Circumferential Process
A circumferential tummy tuck is a complex surgery where loose, hanging skin over the entire body is removed and tightened. With a regular tummy tuck, the incision is made just below the bikini line and after excess skin is surgically removed, the skin that is left is pulled down.
With a circumferential tummy tuck, the incision extends all the way around the torso and extra skin and fat are removed from that entire region. The cut is made at belt level, which is why another name for the procedure is a belt lipectomy. The underlying muscles are also tightened, and for added impact the buttocks and outer thighs get a lift and sometimes a new navel is made so everything looks in proportion.
Basically, a circumferential tummy tuck is just more involved, as both the front and back of the body from the rib area to the knees is re-contoured by the surgeon. The large incision is closed up with sutures and scarring is inevitable, but it can usually be hidden with underwear or bikini bottoms.
A circumferential tummy tuck is not for the person who has a bit of a protruding midsection or some noticeable extra skin around the middle. Those eligible for a circumferential tummy tuck have usually lost a massive amount of weight and have copious amounts of skin and flab causing them trouble.
The skin and fat that is left behind in areas that are almost impossible to tone, like the abdomen, outer thighs and buttocks must be removed to complete the transformation. Patients who carry around this skin and fat after a giant weight loss still appear as though they are overweight and may have trouble participating in various physical activities until it is gone.
Patients who have buckled down and changed their diet and activity levels and dropped a lot of weight quickly are eligible, as are patients who have lost the weight after weight loss surgery. Gastric bypass surgery and gastric banding often result in rapid weight loss that leaves a lot of skin and flab behind. Once the skin is gone and the muscles are tightened up, you literally feel like a new person.
Circumferential Recovery Time
The procedure can take up to five hours to complete, and as you might imagine the recovery time is longer than a basic tummy tuck surgery. A circumferential tummy tuck requires between two and four nights in the hospital to help keep the large incision site clean and disinfected and prevent the accumulation of fluids with drainage tubes.
The drainage tubes are typically left in for one to two weeks, and during that time you will be advised not to shower. This may be a tough order to follow, but it is important for a smooth recovery. Swelling and bruising around the entire area is common and pain medication is part of the protocol during the first several days. Blood clots are a possibility so patients are strongly encouraged to get up and get walking around as soon as is possible.
Within two to four weeks, some of your daily activities will be resumed, but the surgeon’s approval should be the only signal to begin exercising and carrying out more strenuous activities.
As can be expected, there are significant emotional and psychological benefits from having a circumferential tummy tuck. For many formerly obese patients, this loose skin is the last symbol of that former life, and once it is gone they feel like they’ve been reborn.
Since a circumferential tummy tuck is the last part of an overall process, the physical results are well known ahead of time, but those mental benefits can catch you off guard. You will finally feel as though you can get started on that new life, in that new body you’ve wanted for so long.
Once you have healed up you can bend over and tie your shoes, your flexibility increases, self-confidence goes through the roof and you can finally discover who you really are without all the extra tissue. A circumferential tummy tuck is no walk in the park, but under a skilled and experienced hand and with a good deal of determination on your part, it will completely transform your life.
Dr. Kesarwani is one of the few physicians who has been doing this procedure for over twenty years. It is demanding surgery that requires meticulous planning and experience. Patients who have it done are always thrilled with the changes of not only their belly, but also of their backs, buttocks and legs.