What is a ‘Fleur-de-lis’ Tummy Tuck?
A standard abdominoplasty, which is performed on the average tummy tuck patient, removes a horizontal wedge of skin from the belly button down to the pubic area. Along with tightening the muscles, this flattens the skin on the abdomen from top to bottom and satisfies the needs of most abdominoplasty patients.
Massive Weight Loss
Individuals who have lost a large amount of weight, such as those who have had a gastric bypass procedure, not only have excess vertical skin on their abdomen but also have excess skin circumferentially which is not improved by a standard tummy tuck. The ‘Fleur-de-lis’ tummy tuck is designed to treat both excess vertical and circumferential skin found in massive weight loss patients by removing both horizontal and vertical wedge skin excisions. Rather than leaving just a long curved horizontal scar on the lower abdomen, the ‘Fleur-de-lis’ abdominoplasty also leaves a vertical scar in the midline of the stomach which runs from the lower chest down to the pubic area. The final scar is the shape of an inverted ‘T’. For those who have had an open gastric bypass, a midline vertical scar already exists; therefore, one scar is traded for another. For those who do not have a scar in that area, the trade-off for this horizontal skin tightening is a long vertical midline abdominal scar.
Similarity to a Standard Tuck
Like a standard tummy tuck, the ‘Fleur-de-lis’ procedure also involves tightening of the abdominal muscles and repositioning of the belly button. In general, two drains are used in both procedures and ‘quilting’ sutures are typically placed between the muscle and fat layer to reduce fluid build-up.
Stabilize Your Weight
Patients who have had weight reduction procedures are encouraged to wait until their weight has stabilized to undergo body contouring surgery such as a tummy tuck, breast lift, arm lift (brachioplasty) or thigh lift (thighplasty). If you are still in the process of losing weight and are not sure how far you need to go before considering cosmetic surgery, we can give you a guideline after an evaluation at the time of your consultation. It is important to monitor protein intake and to watch for certain mineral and vitamin deficiencies, which can occur as a result of these weight loss surgeries.
Also see our blog about Losing Weight Prior to Surgery
Surprisingly, despite the additional hour or so in surgery time and more scars, there really is not much difference in recovery time. Most patients are off of the pain medication in just a few days and back to non-strenuous activities in a couple of weeks. An abdominal binder is worn for the first couple of weeks and can then be traded for a milder compression garment such as Spanks, which is easier to cover-up with clothes as you go back to social activities and work.
Just like standard tummy tucks, a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck can be combined with other procedures such as a breast lift, liposuction or breast augmentation. In addition, a fleur-de-lis can be extended to a circumferential procedure resulting in tightening of the flanks and providing a buttock lift.