|Dr. Bunkis, M.D., F.A.C.S., Medical Director, OCPS
Q: I’m a 38 y old mother of three kids. With each pregnancy I noticed increased skin laxity over my belly and thighs. I exercise regularly and eat well but it seems that this excess skin and fat does not go away. I heard about the Tummy tuck procedure as well as the lower body lift. I would like to know the difference between the two procedures and which one would be better for me.
-K.M, Laguna Hills
A: We would not be able to tell you which option would suit you best without examining you in person. Having excess skin and fat following multiple pregnancies or non-pregnancy associated weight loss is a common complaint. Abdominal bulging may be due to residual weakness of the underlying muscles following stretching from excess internal fat or a baby.
In addition, not all stretched skin returns to its normal tension and unwanted fatty deposits may accumulate or persist following pregnancy or weight loss.
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) deals mainly with the excess skin and fat in the front of the belly and is the appropriate procedure in the vast majority of patients who have just endured a pregnancy and have not had a history of massive weight loss.
A tummy tuck consists of undermining the abdominal wall skin and fat, tightening the muscles, cutting away the extra, lower, anterior abdominal tissues and re-draping the remaining skin.
Liposuction may be used as an adjunctive tool to help sculpt the fat deposits in the flank or thigh areas. The lower body lift procedure deals with circumferential excess of fat and skin e.g. belly, thigh, and buttock. The posterior trunk, buttocks and thigh skin does not get stretched in an average pregnancy, and this procedure is usually performed on patients who may have lost in excess of a hundred pounds with a diet and exercise program, or following gastric bypass or stapling procedures.
It is a more extensive procedure but yields good results in patients with excess skin and fat in these areas.
Pre & Post Abdominoplasty: 40-year-old woman with a prior vertical lower abdominal GYN scar, before and after abdominoplasty with liposuction of the flank areas. (Actual patient of Dr. Bunkis)
Pre & Post Lower Body Lift: 29 year old following significant weight loss, before and after belt lipectomy to address the circumfential tissue laxity. (Actual patient of Dr. Bunkis)
As Medical Director of Orange County Plastic Surgery, Juris Bunkis, M.D., F. A.C.S. brings 30 years of surgical expertise to our communities. Dr. Bunkis is a Harvard trained, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and Member of numerous prestigious organizations including the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the California Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Bunkis, a former faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco, has published more than 40 scientific publications, abstracts and book reviews and 17 book chapters in plastic surgery text books. Dr. Bunkis will be regularly featured in this Cosmetic Surgery Q&A column. We invite you to call Dr. Bunkis at 949-888-9700, or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.