Tuck Up That Abdominal Bulge in Your Bikini Line

By: Dr Barry Eppley

Like all structures on the body, things change with age, gravity, and the general wear and tear of life. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the female abdomen. Puberty, pregnancy, and weight change all play potential havoc with the smooth flat abdomen that most women have in youth. Pregnancy is the biggest culprit here, stretching the skin through expansion and contraction and leaving scars from c-sections.

The c-section scar shrinks and pulls in, creating a lower abdominal bulge as the loose skin ends up overhanging the scar. Often stretch marks extend upward from the scar and around the bellybutton as well. Unfortunately, no amount of dieting and exercise will shrink this skin excess and many women can attest to that observation. Abdominoplasty, otherwise known as a tummy tuck, will get rid of this problem but a traditional or full tummy tuck may be a bigger procedure than many women desire to undergo. The long hip to hip scar from a full tummy tuck may not be justified given the smaller amount of skin overhang that exists. Also, full tummy tucks result in belly button scars as the old belly button is brought back up through a new skini location. Despite my best efforts at making belly button scars, I find most of them to be somewhat visible and not completely normal in appearance.

Another option is a smaller tummy tuck version, which I call the Bikini Line Tummy Tuck. With this approach, the length of the resulting scar is shorter but, more importantly, it stays very low. (hence the name Bikini Line) It stays low because the amount of skin removed is less and the cut out is below the belly button level. The placement of the initial incision is quite low and the amount of skin removed does not usually allow the scar to be pulled up higher during skin closure. (as occurs in a full tummy tuck) In addition, no scar results around the belly button since as it is repositioned lower from underneath the skin before the final skin closure.

While many women, due to the size of their abdominal excess, are not good candidates for the Bikini Line Tummy Tuck, about half of the female patients that I see are. If the women is not overweight with a small lower abdominal pooch, with or without a c-section scar, she may be an ideal candidate. A scar that fits inside the bikini line but still allows a flat abdomen and a scarless belly button is the result.

Plastic Surgery
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