Getting a firm, flat stomach is the main focus of thousands of diets, supplements, exercise apps, and fitness devices, yet the tummy continues to be a problem area for many women and men. The abdomen is one of the toughest areas to tighten and sculpt, especially after pregnancy or significant weight loss because of stretched or separated abdominal muscles.
Stomach muscles act like a corset, but as they loosen over time, an abdominal gap occurs. A tummy tuck will repair those loose muscles and also remove lax skin and belly fat so that you can enjoy a tight, well-contoured stomach that looks and feels great.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a plastic surgery procedure that involves removing excess loose skin, tightening the muscles of the abdomen, and reducing stubborn belly fat for an abdominal transformation. A tummy tuck can be performed alone but is often combined with liposuction to provide better contours and to achieve the best possible results. A full tummy tuck tightens and repairs the entire abdominal wall, which typically requires repositioning the belly button.
Patients who have less sagging skin may benefit from a mini tummy tuck, which only removes and tightens the skin below the belly button. A tummy tuck is not for simple weight loss. It is an abdominal plastic surgery that addresses issues that dieting can’t resolve.
What are the Benefits of a Tummy Tuck?
Your plastic surgeon will create a tummy tuck plan that addresses your concerns and matches your goals. A tummy tuck offers many benefits, which may include:
- Repairing stomach muscles that were stretched or separated during pregnancy
- Removing excess skin that was unable to contract back on its own after extreme weight loss or pregnancy
- Correcting a ventral hernia that pokes through the abdominal wall and creates a pouch
- Improving episodes of stress urinary incontinence
- Reducing back pain
- Enhancing posture
Could I Benefit from a Tummy Tuck?
Aging, pregnancy, and dramatic weight loss can cause the abdominal muscles to lose strength over time, despite dieting and exercising. Different body contouring procedures can target and tone the abdomen, including liposuction, a tummy tuck, or a combination of both. Tummy tuck surgery may be beneficial for you if you would like to tighten your stomach muscles and reduce fat and excess skin from your midsection for a flat, smooth belly.
Tummy tuck surgery might be right for you if you meet most of the following criteria:
- Sagging or excess abdominal skin
- Separated or weak stomach muscles
- Stubborn stomach fat
- Currently at or near your ideal weight
- Generally healthy
- Previous pregnancies
- Abdominal stretch marks
- Have lost a massive amount of weight
- Not planning a future pregnancy
When is a Tummy Tuck Necessary?
Belly fat, a muffin top, stretched and sagging skin, and a puffy pouch around your waist doesn’t have to be a lifelong battle. A plastic surgeon can examine you to determine if a tummy tuck is necessary to help you reach your goals.
A tummy tuck may be the best choice if:
- Your abdominal wall is stretched and is unable to return to its original state naturally.
- You are maintaining a healthy weight, regularly exercising, eating right, and you still have a loose belly and excess stomach fat.
- You have lost a tremendous amount of weight, your stomach muscles are weak, and your skin is lax and hanging.
Repairing Stretched Muscle
Mild muscle separation is common, but some lifestyle choices, aging, and pregnancy can lead to a dramatic separation that allows the inner organs to push forward and outward. When the muscles that hold your organs and stomach in position are stretched, a round and protruding belly occurs. Abdominoplasty pulls the stomach back in and tightens those muscles.
Do I Need a Tummy Tuck?
When you first meet with a qualified plastic surgeon, you may discuss different cosmetic options, including liposuction, a mini tummy tuck, or full tummy tuck with liposuction. Liposuction alone cannot eliminate stretch marks or tighten abdominal muscles. So, if you have stretched or loose stomach muscles, a tummy tuck is probably the best choice.
The Abdominoplasty Procedure
The tummy tuck procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Regardless of which type of tummy tuck you choose, your surgeon will begin the procedure by creating a horizontal incision above your pubic area, near your navel.
The incision will provide the surgeon with access to your abdominal muscles so they can be tightened. The surgeon will also remove excess skin and fat before closing the area. Liposuction may be performed before or after the tummy tuck alterations, depending on your surgeon’s preferred technique.
What are the Possible Risks?
All surgeries have risks. The main risk associated with a tummy tuck is the accumulation of fluid under the skin. A temporary drain is used after surgery to help avoid this.
Rare complications include bleeding under the skin, slow healing, infection, and blood clots. Diabetes, heart disease, and poor circulation can increase the risk of complications and can prevent candidacy for this procedure.
How Do I Choose a Tummy Tuck Surgeon?
Make sure you choose a board-certified plastic surgeon who has extensive body contouring experience. Check before and after photos from former patients during your consultation. Read online reviews posted by previous patients, and review the surgeon’s qualifications, including prior residency, education, hospital affiliation, and years of experience.
Schedule a Private Consultation
Stephan Baker MD, FACS, has over 25 years of experience performing tummy tuck surgery and body contouring for patients in South Florida and worldwide. Contact our Miami office today at (305) 381-8837 or visit us online at drbaker.com to schedule your consultation with Dr. Baker.