Though a tummy tuck, known clinically as abdominoplasty, is one of the most popular plastic surgeries performed, the high lateral tension abdominoplasty is a lesser-known and under-utilized technique. But, if weak muscles, loose skin, and persistent fat bulges on your stomach and lower body are affecting your quality of life, this procedure may be just what you need to slim down, shape up, and feel confident. Today, we’re discussing the nuances of a high lateral tension abdominoplasty and how it differs from a traditional tummy tuck.
What is a high lateral tension abdominoplasty?
A high lateral tension abdominoplasty (HLTA) is a tummy tuck technique that repairs loose abdominal muscles and tightens sagging tissues in the abdomen, flanks, and thighs. Unlike a traditional tummy tuck, a high-lateral tension tummy tuck tightens skin both horizontally and vertically across the abdomen, enabling a plastic surgeon to cinch the waistline and accentuate the hips. This technique results in a desirable “hourglass” figure for women and a more toned, athletic look for men.
A brief history of the high lateral tension abdominoplasty
In 1993, a plastic surgeon named Dr. Ted Lockwood invented the high lateral tension abdominoplasty while working on improving lower body lifting techniques. Dr. Lockwood realized that by tightening the abdominal skin diagonally across the abdomen and making a slightly longer incision, tension would be placed on the sides of the incision (laterally) rather than on the center, resulting in a safer procedure and recovery. Furthermore, Dr. Lockwood’s new technique was able to not only contour the abdomen but also lift sagging tissues along the waist, hips, and, in some cases, even the buttocks, creating a more desirable result than a traditional tummy tuck could accomplish.
A high lateral tension tummy tuck lifts and tightens skin on the abdomen and lower body, providing more contour than a traditional tummy tuck.
High lateral tension tummy tuck vs traditional tummy tuck
A high lateral tension tummy tuck differs from a traditional tummy tuck in the following ways:
- It uses a longer incision to distribute tension across the upper and lower abdomen, relieving tension above the pubic area. The resulting scar is typically lower, allowing it to be easily concealed by a bathing suit bottom.
- It tightens skin diagonally rather than vertically, resulting in greater contouring of the flanks and a tightening of the upper thighs and groin. This contouring creates a “snatched” waistline, and can also correct fat in the upper pubic area (FUPA).
- It tightens skin and muscle on the upper, mid, and lower abdomen.
- It tightens skin along the sides of the waistline, providing a noticeably more defined abdomen.
Can a high lateral tension tummy tuck help me lose weight?
A tummy tuck, including the high lateral tension tummy tuck technique, is considered a body contouring procedure, not a weight-loss procedure. Rather than removing extensive body fat, a high lateral tension tummy tuck is designed to remove excess sagging skin and repair stretched abdominal muscles. That said, a high lateral tension tummy usually results in some weight loss by helping patients eliminate sagging tissues.
Patients who also struggle with unwanted fat on their abdomen, flanks (love handles), thighs, and/or back may want to consider adding liposuction to their procedure plan.
Am I a good candidate for a high lateral tension tummy tuck?
You may be a good candidate for a high lateral tension tummy tuck if:
- You have recently lost weight and are struggling with loose or sagging skin on your belly, upper thighs, and groin area.
- You have separated abdominal muscles due to pregnancy, physical exertion, or weight gain. (Separated abdominal muscles cannot be re-tightened with exercise alone.)
- You are at or near your target weight.
- You are finished having children.
- You don’t smoke or can refrain from smoking at least 2 weeks before and after your surgery.
Will I have “dog ears” after my high lateral tension tummy tuck?
“Dog ears” is a colloquial term used to describe the appearance of skin that hangs over the ends of an incision after surgery. Though they are most often associated with skin tightening procedures like tummy tuck surgery, dog ears are uncommon and are often the result of poor suturing technique.
A high lateral tension tummy tuck helps eliminate the risk of dog ears by distributing tension more evenly across the incision.
That said, dog ears are more likely to occur from the short incision used during traditional tummy tuck surgery than from the longer incision associated with a high lateral tension tummy tuck. In fact, the high lateral tension technique helps eliminate the risk of dog ears after surgery by distributing tension more evenly throughout the abdominal incision. To further reduce the potential of dog ears, Dr. Movassaghi closes the incision using multiple (between 3-4) layers of sutures, helping to ensure a smooth, thin scar.
Interested in tummy tuck surgery in Eugene, OR? Get the results you want with Dr. Movassaghi
If you’re struggling with extra belly skin and weak core muscles, a tummy tuck may help. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Kiya Movassaghi has helped women and men in the Eugene, Oregon area get in shape and look their best with tummy tuck surgery for 20 years. Find out why Dr. Movassaghi is a 10x Register-Guard Reader’s Choice Award winner for “Favorite Cosmetic Surgeon”—schedule your consultation online or call (541) 686-8700 today!