Circumferential Tummy Tuck


If you recently lost significant weight, you may wonder whether a circumferential tummy tuck is right for you. It may be one of the best surgical options for those who want dramatic body contouring. But it isn’t for everyone.

A plastic surgeon removes loose skin, excess fat, and other tissues during a tummy tuck. The doctor repairs the muscle and re-drapes the skin. In principle, it’s similar to other lifts and tucks performed by plastic surgeons.

The easiest way to define it is by comparing a circumferential tummy tuck to a standard tummy tuck. Before we go into that, it’s essential to understand this article is for patient educational purposes and not a substitute for actual medical care.

How it compares to a standard tummy tuck

A circumferential tummy tuck, or belt lipectomy, focuses on the waistline, belly, and back. In other words, it sculpts from all angles, while a traditional tummy tuck is mainly focused on the front of the body or the “tummy” area.

During a circumferential tummy tuck, a plastic surgeon makes an incision extending around the body. The incision allows the surgeon to remove loose skin and fat tissue from the belly, lower back, hips, and buttocks. It’s more comprehensive and more invasive than a standard tummy tuck. It also tightens the skin and helps contour the waistline from all angles.

Why opt for a circumferential tummy tuck?

It’s especially popular among people who lost a lot of weight, like over 70 pounds, often after bariatric surgery. Losing that much weight relatively quickly results in loose skin. Depending on your age and genetics, the skin may never wholly tighten. A history of obesity often results in the skin all around the torso getting stretched. Losing weight usually leaves people with excess skin that can’t be fully addressed with a standard tummy tuck.

Sometimes, the loose skin causes physical discomfort, making it difficult to find clothes that fit well or enjoy exercise, or it may even cause pain or skin irritation. For others, it may hide the results they worked hard to achieve and make them feel self-conscious.

Benefits of a circumferential tummy tuck

A circumferential tummy tuck While we touched on some of the benefits, it may help to have a summary:

  • 360-degree contouring compared to a traditional tummy tuck focused only on the abdomen. A circumferential tummy tuck addresses the belly, hips, buttocks, and lower back for a more balanced and natural-looking body contour.
  • Removes excess skin after significant weight loss and is left with loose, hanging skin around their midsection and back.
  • Like a traditional tummy tuck, the circumferential version also tightens weakened or separated abdominal muscles, often resulting in an improved waistline.
  • By removing excess skin and tissue, this procedure can alleviate discomfort caused by skin chafing and rashes and improve mobility.
  • The improved body contour can increase self-confidence and a better body image.

Remember, while these benefits can be significant, a circumferential tummy tuck is a major surgery with risks and recovery time. Be sure to book an appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss whether you are a good candidate for one.

Who is a good candidate for a circumferential tummy tuck?

Any surgical procedure carries some degree of risk. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), a standard tummy tuck carries a 3.1% chance of failure. Of course, personal risk factors make complications more likely for some people than others. We recommend that you see a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon to discuss your personal risk factors and the results you might experience.

The following criteria indicate whether someone may be a good candidate; just keep in mind that we can’t cover every possible contraindication. This is why you must share your detailed medical history with your surgeon.

  • You have a normal (or close to normal) Body Mass Index range since a higher-than-usual BMI can make it difficult to administer general anesthesia safely.
  • You are a nonsmoker since it is a major risk factor and hinders your healing ability. Be prepared to stop smoking at least a few weeks before and after the operation.
  • Talk with your doctor about your general health and any conditions like diabetes.
  • You are in good general health.

Since a circumferential tummy tuck is more invasive than a standard tummy tuck, you would only opt for one if a traditional tummy tuck can’t meet your aesthetic goals. This is sometimes the case with people who were previously obese and have lost a lot of weight. They have excess loose skin on the back and other areas that a traditional tummy tuck can’t resolve.

What to Expect

A circumferential tummy tuck is an operation performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon creates an incision around the umbilicus area. The process is like a standard tummy tuck, just more comprehensive. The surgeon removes excess skin and fat, repairs muscle, and re-drapes the skin. Like a traditional tummy tuck, sometimes the operation is combined with another procedure like liposuction.

Since it is more invasive than a standard tummy tuck, your body may need more healing time. As with other lifts and tuck procedures, you will experience swelling, bruising, and tenderness while you recover. You will need to wear a compression garment to assist with healing and to help prevent blood clots. Your plastic surgeon will give you more specific instructions; please follow those instructions. Make sure you take enough time off work for recovery and make arrangements to cover any child, elder, or pet care and household chores until you are cleared to return to those activities.

The resulting scar runs around the circumference of the waist, back, and lower abdomen. In time, it fades into a white or light-colored scar. Scar healing is highly individual, depending on the condition and healing ability of your skin. People who feel self-conscious about their loose skin find the scar reasonably easy to conceal in summer clothing and even swimwear, and they feel confident.

If you want to find out whether a circumferential tummy tuck is right for you, contact a board-certified plastic surgeon. If you live in or near Charlotte, NC, then consider Charlotte Plastic Surgery. CPS has been a trusted name in the region for over seven decades as we blend best practices, clinical excellence, and compassion.