When thinking about a tummy tuck, most of us picture a standard abdominoplasty: the surgeon makes an incision across the hips, removes extra skin, and pulls the abdomen tight. So you may be surprised to come across information about something called a fleur de lis tummy tuck. Also called a fleur de lis abdominoplasty or an FDL tummy tuck for short, a fleur de lis tummy tuck uses a special surgical technique to accomplish a bit more skin removal than other tummy tuck procedures. Here is what you need to know.
What is a Fleur de Lis Tummy Tuck?
A fleur de lis tummy tuck is one in which the surgeon makes two incisions rather than one. He will make the standard tummy tuck incision from hip to hip and then make a second vertical incision up your abdomen. Together, these incisions open in a pattern that resembles a fleur de lis, giving the procedure its name. When combined in this pattern, the incisions your surgeon makes will allow him to remove more excess skin than he can during a traditional tummy tuck.
What are the Benefits of a Fleur de Lis Tummy Tuck?
The most apparent and often discussed benefit of the FDL tummy tuck is that it allows your surgeon to remove more excess skin. For this reason, this is the style of tummy tuck most often utilized when a patient has lost significant amounts of weight through bariatric surgery. Making two incisions allows the doctor to remove skin on both the horizontal and vertical planes.
Although talked about less often, the fleur de lis tummy tuck is also a good option for patients who have previous abdominal scarring. Scars from gallbladder surgery, bariatric surgery or other procedures can compromise the blood supply to the abdominal skin. The fleur de lis tummy tuck pattern removes this scarred skin so that additional surgery doesn’t compromise the blood supply further, potentially causing tissue death (necrosis).
How Much Does the Procedure Cost?
At Mia Aesthetics, we pride ourselves on keeping costs as low as possible so that plastic surgery is an attainable goal for everyone who wants it. We also offer our patients several financing options. Our tummy tuck procedures start at $4,300, but the price will vary from one doctor to another and based on your individual needs. You should expect to pay a bit more for a fleur de lis tummy tuck, however, as this is a more complicated procedure than a standard tummy tuck and it takes longer to perform.
What is Recovery Like?
Because it’s a more extensive procedure, recovering from a fleur de lis tummy tuck does take a bit longer. You will be sore and tender for up to 2 weeks, but we will give you a prescription for pain medication to keep you comfortable. Most people can return to desk jobs and light activity within 2 to 3 weeks of the procedure. Heavy lifting and more rigorous work, however, will need to wait for 4 to 6 weeks.
You should expect to have drains in your incisions after a fleur de lis tummy tuck, and these typically stay in place for 1 to 2 weeks, depending on how much fluid they are draining. You will have to empty these drains and measure the amount coming out of them, but we will show you how to do this after your FDL surgery.
You will see a difference in your body immediately after your FDL tummy tuck, but what you see won’t be your final result. It can take up to a year for all of the swelling to go away and your body to completely settle into its new contour.
How Much Scarring Will There Be?
A fleur de lis tummy tuck can leave you with some scarring. Although scars do fade over time and there are steps you can take to minimize their appearance, there is no way to hide both of the scars from an FDL tummy tuck. Your horizontal incision may sit low enough to rest beneath your waistband, but your vertical scar has nowhere to hide. For most FDL tummy tuck candidates, however, the risk of scarring is well worth the benefits of losing the uncomfortable skin apron a large weight loss leaves behind.
Ways to Minimize Scarring
You may not be able to completely erase surgical scars, but you can minimize their appearance. One way to do so is to quit smoking several months before your procedure. Smoking can interfere with and slow the body’s healing process, making scars more likely. You should also talk to your doctor about controlling any chronic conditions you have. Diabetes, for example, can slow healing. Getting your blood sugar well under control prior to FDL surgery can help you heal faster with less scarring. Vitamin A can also help reduce the appearance of scars, but talk to your doctor before you start popping supplements. Some can interfere with other medications you’re taking. Topical treatments such as silicone gels, vitamin E, vitamin D, and cocoa butter can also help prevent scars. Massage can help, as can protecting your incision from sunlight as it heals.
Am I a Good Fleur de Lis Tummy Tuck Candidate?
The requirements for being a good fleur de lis tummy tuck candidate are quite similar to those for a traditional tummy tuck. You should be in generally good health, close to your ideal weight, and have a BMI of 32 or less. Ideal candidates are patients who avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs or who can abstain from these activities around the time of their FDL surgery and recovery.
Optimal fleur de lis candidacy does require the extra condition of accepting a visible scar. Your surgeon will do whatever he can to minimize scarring and will instruct you in aftercare practices that will do the same. A vertical scar is part of the package with a fleur de lis tummy tuck, however, and you must be willing to live with that. If you’re not, keep in mind that a fleur de lis tummy tuck is an option — not a mandate. You may stick with a traditional tummy tuck if you prefer. Your results may not be perfect if you have a lot of excess skin to lose, but that doesn’t mean a traditional tummy tuck won’t be an improvement.
Conclusion: Fleur de Lis Tummy Tucks vs. Traditional Tummy Tucks
Because information about traditional tummy tucks is so ubiquitous, many patients find it helpful to compare the fleur de lis tummy tuck to a traditional surgery.