Cosmetic Surgery Tips

What Is A Circular Tummy Tuck

A circular tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin, fat, and tissue from the lower abdomen. After the surgery, you’ll have a scar that encircles your belly button and small scars where your surgeon removed excess skin. You can expect to feel some soreness and swelling after the surgery, but you should be able to return to work in about a week.

The abdominal area can lose elasticity as people age, which can cause excess skin to form. This is referred to as circumferential laxity. A circular tummy tuck uses liposuction and other techniques to remove this excess skin and fat so that your waistline looks smooth again.

A circular tummy tuck is a type of abdominoplasty that removes excess skin and fat from the lower abdominal area, resulting in a smoother, more attractive belly.

The procedure usually takes about two hours to complete. During surgery, your surgeon will remove the excess skin and fat from your lower abdomen, then use sutures to close the incision line.

You will be able to go home the same day as your surgery, but you’ll need someone to help you for several days after surgery as you recover. You’ll have some bruising and swelling around your incision site that should go away within a few weeks.

To get the best results from your surgery, it’s important to follow all instructions from your doctor before and after surgery.

What Is A Circular Tummy Tuck

Circumferential abdominoplasty – also known as belt lipectomy – is the most comprehensive (and invasive) of all 3 main types of a tummy tuck. This procedure addresses both the lower and upper abdomen along with the entire waistline (including the flanks and the back). This holistic procedure is common with patients who have lost a great deal of weight – possibly after a gastric bypass surgery or other types of bariatric (weight loss) surgery. On this page, we explore what a circumferential tummy tuck is and what you can expect from this procedure.

Ideal Candidates for A Circumferential Tummy Tuck

Circumferential abdominoplasty is a type of tummy tuck that is designed to remove loose skin and excess tissue from the abdomen, lower back, waist, and buttocks region. The purpose of this procedure is to achieve massive transformation to a person’s physique after they have undergone massive weight loss. You may be a good candidate for this cosmetic surgery if:

  • You are physically and emotionally healthy
  • You have had bariatric surgery to address morbid obesity
  • You have lost 70 pounds or more worth of weight
  • You are troubled by an overabundance of skin and excess fat in areas that are otherwise difficult to tone, such as the buttocks, outer thighs, and abdomen.
  • You have realistic expectations about the outcome of this cosmetic surgery

Keep in mind that patients who have mild to moderate abdominal protrusion and excess skin may not benefit from this surgery. Circumferential abdominoplasty is exclusively designed for formerly obese patients who desire to remove extra skin and fat, as well as add muscle tone in order to accentuate their newly found slimmer bodies. During your first consultation visit with a board-certified plastic surgeon, the surgeon will examine your midsection and ask questions before determining whether this comprehensive procedure is for you.

How Is a Circumferential Tummy Tuck Performed?

A circumferential tummy tuck is usually performed at an accredited surgical facility under general anesthesia. Plastic surgeons create a circumferential incision (like a belt) running around the waist. The surgeon will then use liposuction and other techniques to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen, lower, back, waist, and other midsection areas. Loosened/separated abdominal muscles are also tightened and the belly button repositioned. Once the desired contouring changes have been completed, the surgeon will close the incision using sutures. The surgery takes between 4 and 6 hours to complete. The patient will then be transferred to a recovery room where their vitals will be monitored before they are transferred to a private hospital room.

Circumferential Abdominoplasty Recovery

Patients who undergo this extremely invasive type of abdominoplasty need to stay at the hospital for 2-4 nights. Drainage tubes will be placed in order to drain away excess fluid from the incision sites. Patients will be asked to avoid showering until after these drainage tubes have been removed (which may be one or two weeks after the surgery). Swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the entire treatment area is common following this cosmetic surgery. Your plastic surgeon will provide pain medication to ease the discomfort as well as antibiotics to prevent an infection. You should walk slowly as soon as you are able to in order to reduce the risk of blood clots. Most circumferential tummy tuck patients are able to resume light activities within 4 weeks. However, you should wait until you get the green light from your plastic surgeon (which may take as long as 10 weeks) before you resume strenuous activities.

Risks of a circumferential abdominoplasty

Like any other invasive surgery, a circumferential tummy tuck has its risks. These include typical surgical risks such as fluid collection, pain, bleeding at the incision sites, wound infection, healing problems, and blood clots. Patients can also expect to experience typical side effects such as swelling and bruising. While scars are another concern, your plastic surgeon will enroll you in a comprehensive scar management program to make sure that they fade well with time. Working with a highly experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon is one of the best steps patients can take to ensure a successful procedure outcome.

When thinking of the perfect body, the first feature that comes to mind is usually a flat tummy. Dieting and weight loss can help you slim down, but sometimes stubborn belly fat just won’t go away. If you’ve gone through childbirth, it may be even harder to get rid of lower abdomen fat. 

71% of women and 63% of men aren’t happy with their abdomen. Abdominoplasty, also known as a “tummy tuck,” aims to remove excess fat and give you a more desirable body contour. It is one of the most popular aesthetic procedures, with 130,000 performed in 2018. 

Anthony N. Dardano DO, FACS, located in Boca Raton, Florida, performs abdominoplasty in its standard and circumferential form. If you’re like many, you probably didn’t know that there were different kinds of abdominoplasty. Read on as we compare and contrast the two to help decide what one is right for you.

Standard Abdominoplasty

If you have excess skin above or around your belly button, standard abdominoplasty can give you a flat tummy and a slimmer waistline. Standard abdominoplasty generally involves a horizontal incision from hip-to-hip and another around the belly button. 

During your procedure, local anesthesia is administered for standard abdominoplasty to keep you as comfortable as possible. Anthony N. Dardano, DO, FACS, tightens your abdominal muscles and pulls your skin taut over your stomach. Dr. Dardano removes excess skin, but standard abdominoplasty is not a fat-loss method — it can be paired with liposuction for more dramatic results. 

Most standard abdominoplasty procedures are done on an outpatient method with a recovery time of 2-8 weeks.

Circumferential Abdominoplasty

After liposuction or considerable weight loss, Dr. Dardano may suggest a circumferential abdominoplasty. Circumferential abdominoplasty uses longer incision to remove excess skin from the lower tummy while lifting the butt, hips, and thighs.

During your procedure, local anesthesia will be administered to give you the most comfortable experience. Dr. Dardano starts by operating on your buttocks and thighs, removing excess skin and soft tissue. He then closes the incisions on your backside with sutures before gently and safely turning you.

Next, he makes an incision in your abdominal skin and lifts it off your abdominal muscles. Your belly button is repositioned on the new tummy, and your muscles are tightened before being replaced over your abdomen. Dr. Dardano places drains underneath your incisions before stitching you up.

Circumferential abdominoplasty is an in-patient procedure and usually requires several days in the hospital before returning home. Dr. Dardano removes the drainage tubes in 1-2 weeks after your surgery.

Which is right for me?

The decision to undergo an abdominoplasty is a personal one that should only be done for yourself. You must be in good health to undergo standard abdominoplasty or circumferential abdominoplasty. 

Standard abdominoplasty is the most common tummy tuck and can help eliminate the abdominal “pooch” often found in women who have had kids. If you have a higher degree of fat that hangs around your sides, circumferential abdominoplasty may be needed to get the dramatic result you’re looking for. This can slim your waistline and free you from excess fat you might feel held down by.

Fast facts


  • An extended tummy tuck is similar to a abdominoplasty, but the procedure also targets fat on the flanks and lower back.
  • The incision wraps from the low pelvis to the lower back.


  • Extended tummy tucks are generally considered safe. As with all surgeries, there are risks involved.
  • Risks include swelling, fluid accumulation, reaction to anesthesia, and numbness after surgery.


  • Tummy tucks are an in-hospital procedure where patients are put under anesthesia.
  • If the procedure is elective, as most are, it will not be covered by insurance.
  • It’s important to find a trained, board-certified plastic surgeon whose work you trust.


  • The cost for a tummy tuck varies widely based on where you live, the procedure itself, and the size of the area.
  • It will usually fall between $4,000 and $18,000.


  • Extended tummy tucks are very effective with studies reporting that the majority of those who elect to have this procedure are satisfied by the results.

What is an extended tummy tuck?

An extended tummy tuck is very similar to a regular tummy tuck — sometimes called an abdominoplasty — but instead of just reducing excess skin and fat on the stomach, it also targets the flank area, or love handles, between the waist and hips. In some cases, an extended tummy tuck will also target excess skin on the lateral thigh.

The ideal candidates for an extended tummy tuck include people who have lost a lot of weight and have excess skin, and those who want to slim the appearance of their stomach and flanks.

Mini Tummy Tuck

Circumferential Abdominoplasty Cost

The cost of an extended tummy will vary depending on the surgeon, the volume of fat, and the size of the area. The price range for a tummy tuck generally falls between $4,000 and $18,000.

In 2019, the average cost of a tummy tuck (not extended) was $6,092 according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Because there is more involved in an extended tummy tuck, the cost will likely be more. In addition, this cost is only for the procedure and does not take into account anesthesia, operating room facilities, or other related expenses.

Because tummy tucks are usually done for aesthetic reasons only, the procedure will not be covered by insurance. In some cases, a tummy tuck may relieve back pain and incontinence. You will also likely have to take several days off from work for recovery.

How does an extended tummy tuck work?

Extended tummy tucks work by removing excess skin and fat from the abdomen and repairing any muscles that have become loosened or torn. Through an incision above the pubic hairline that wraps around to the lower back, skin and fat are removed from the stomach and flank area. The skin is laid flat, and the belly button is reattached, giving the skin a smoother, flatter appearance.

In a 2012 studyTrusted Source of 25 individuals who underwent extended tummy tuck surgery, all 25 were “extremely satisfied” with the results.



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Procedure for extended tummy tuck

  • During an extended tummy tuck, the surgeon will typically make an incision between your hip bones, low in the pubic area. If you’re having a tummy tuck after a C-section, they may reopen the same scar.
  • Any muscles that have been separated, such as from pregnancy, will be sewn together so they appear taut. Full tummy tucks can fix diastasis recti, which is a splitting of the abdominal muscles.
  • The belly button will be cut away, and liposuction may be performed if there is extra fat.
  • Excess skin is removed from the tummy and flank area, and the skin will be pulled taut.
  • Finally, the belly button is sutured in its original place, unless you and your surgeon decide to change its shape.

Targeted Areas for Extended Tummy Tuck

Extended tummy tucks target the upper and lower stomach, waist, flanks, and sometimes the uppermost lateral portion of the thigh.

Are there any risks or side effects?

As with all surgery, there are some risks and side effects associated with extended tummy tucks. One study found that 8.5 percentTrusted Source of people who underwent tummy tuck surgery were re-administered into the hospital because of some kind of complication. These complications and side effects may include:

  • numbness after surgery, which is typically temporary
  • excess fluid or blood pooling in the belly
  • swelling and redness
  • internal organ puncture — while rare, could be caused by cannula (a tube that removes excess fluids from the body) penetrating too deeply and potentially puncturing an organ

What to Expect After an Extended Tummy Tuck

Your surgeon or nurse should brief you on what to expect after surgery including:

  • what activities to avoid and how long
  • if and when you can consume alcohol and certain medications or supplements
  • how long to wear your compression garment
  • how to manage your drainage tubes, if your surgeon uses them
  • when to schedule a follow-up appointment

You will be able to see some results immediately, though your abdominal area will be swollen and bandaged. For the first few weeks, you will likely be advised to rest at an angle and avoid strenuous activity or lifting heavy things.

Around the 2- to 3-month mark, most of the swelling will likely have gone down, though you may still see some scarring, which should lighten over time. After 6 months to a year, you will see the full results, which should be permanent unless you gain weight quickly or have a pregnancy.

Fleur De Lis Tummy Tuck

It’s helpful to see photos from people who have had extended tummy tucks when deciding if the procedure is right for you. Check out before and after photos below:


Preparing for an extended tummy tuck

Before your extended tummy tuck, you’ll likely need to get a blood panel to make sure you’re in good health. You will also want to meet with your surgeon to discuss what to expect. Also, you will need to arrange a ride home.

You may also be told to:

  • stop smoking
  • limit alcohol
  • stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs (like aspirin) and certain herbal supplements, which could potentially worsen bleeding or prevent proper clotting

Extended tummy tuck vs. traditional tummy tuck

An extended tummy tuck and a traditional tummy tuck are very similar procedures. The main difference is that an extended tummy tuck addresses the flanks, also known as love handles, between the waist and hip. Because of the additional procedure, an extended tummy tuck is often more expensive, takes longer to complete, and may require a longer recovery time post-surgery.

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