How Is A Reverse Tummy Tuck Done?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have some loose skin around and above my belly button after my tummy tuck which was three years ago.  I never though it was the tightest above my belly button right after surgery but the skin seems to have gotten a little more loose since.  I’d never heard of a reverse tummy tuck before I read about it online and am now curious about how the procedure works and where the scars would be placed?

A: The reverse tummy tuck is a distant cousin to the traditional tummy tuck, not only in location but to how it is performed to some degree. For those women who have loose skin around and above the belly button but not below it or have had a prior tummy tuck with loose residual skin above the belly button (the usual candidate for the procedure), a reverse or superiorly-based tummy tuck is the only skin removal option. A crescent of skin and fat is removed along the lower breast folds and across the sternum. This lifts the tummy above the belly button, just like pulling up with your hands along your rib cage. This places most of the scar along the inframammary breast fold with the exception of a small area that crosses the sternum. Unlike a traditional tummy tuck, no muscle usually needs to be tightened. In some reverset tummy tuck patients, I have only removed skin and fold under the breasts, keeping the scar from crossing the sternum. In the properly selected patient this can be a very good option if one can accept a scar along the lower breast folds. While always called a reverse tummy tuck, it should really be called a tummy tuck lift or superior tummy tuck.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana