What are dog ears?
How to avoid dog ears following tummy tuck surgery is a common question I get from patients desiring correction of undesired pregnancy changes. What is a dog ear? A dog ear is an unnecessary fullness that can result along the flanks following the tucking of the front abdominal skin and soft tissues.
The reason for the creation of dog ears is twofold. First, just as there is fullness in the front of the belly, which patients are seeking a tummy tuck for, there is fullness of the sides due to either excess fat or skin redundancy. In addition, the process of tightening the soft tissues in the front will push the soft tissues out on the sides. Everybody has witnessed this effect when trying to stuff a suitcase when traveling.
As you zip one side, the clothes will pop through the other! Regardless of the cause of the dog ears, the appearance of soft tissue on each side of your torso can appear like the floppy ears of a dog. This is what is unappealing to patients and characterized as dog ears.
How to avoid dog ears during surgery The real question is how it will be avoided following tummy tuck surgery. The answer to this question depends on the cause of the dog ears. When the pouts on end are related to excess fat, then liposuction of the fat alone can avoid dog ears. I will typically wait until the near end of the tummy tuck to evaluate the sides.
This is because tightening the belly maximally pushes out the lateral torso, like the suitcase analogy above. Typically, I will inject about 300 to 500cc of the tumescent solution on each side and liposuction that amount out until dog ears are eliminated. Avoidance of dog ears is essential to achieving appropriate female aesthetics.
Appropriate lateral female torso contours demand a smooth transition from the more generous buttock and hips to the narrowed waistline. As such, a successful tummy tuck demands the avoidance of dog ears. The second cause of dog ears is skin redundancy. Avoiding dog ears following tummy tuck surgery caused by skin redundancy requires surgical excision.
Surgical excision of these dog ears can be accomplished by extending the tummy tuck skin excision laterally over the flank region. We call this the extended tummy tuck, which will prevent dog ears caused by skin redundancy. Another advantage of the extended tummy tuck is that it will allow for the tightening of the lateral thighs.
Avoiding dog ears summary
Avoiding dog ears following tummy tuck surgery is critical to achieving excellent tummy tuck results. Eliminating dog ears during surgery will ensure proper female aesthetics as defined by the Tilde Curve.