What Is My Upper Abdomen Still So Thick After My Tummy Tuck?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had a tummy tuck six  months ago and although I am happy with my lower abdomen I am not with my upper. It is still fairly thick and not as slim as the lower half. From the side view, the upper abdomen shows no difference unlike the lower. The only explanation that I can come up with is that my plastic surgeon refused to do liposuction of this area even though he did it to the sides of the tummy tuck. I can’t help but wonder if that had been done also it would look much better now. Can I get the upper abdominal area liposuctioned now and will it result in more loose skin afterwards?

A: Your question/concern of a tummy tuck result is a common one and one in which I review with every patient before surgery. Tummy tucks do their best work in the lower abdomen, where tissue is actually cut out, and offer more modest improvement in the upper abdomen. Your plastic surgeon was very prudent to not liposuction the upper abdomen during your tummy tuck as the risk of major healing problems can ensue at the central closure line . Thus many tummy tuck patients will have an upper abdominal fullness after their tummy tuck due to a persistently thick fat layer. This can be addressed after tummy tuck suction out extra fat and thin out its thickness. It will not cause any extra loose skin as that has been adequately tightened by the previous tummy tuck.

While we wish we could address the upper abdominal fat at the same time as the tummy tuck, it is wise to remember this basic motto in aesthetic surgery. It is far better to have two surgeries done safely than going for the perfect result and suffer a major wound healing complication which ca takes months to heal and leave a more devastating aesthetic problem than what one was initially trying to treat.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana