Abdominoplasty: The Solution For a Flat Tummy
For many people, after a certain age it becomes obvious that the flat tummy they once had is not going to be there forever. The abdominal wall degrades with time. It happens to all of us sooner or later and, of course, depending on our lifestyle choices. Keeping a balanced diet and regular physical exercises can help us maintain a flat and firm abdominal area for longer. However, there are factors not within our powers that can alter the appearance of the tummy.
Whatever the causes of the lack of firmness in the abdominal area might be, plastic surgery presents a solution that can efficiently correct the issue and provide the patient with a flat, firm and youthful-looking middle area. This intervention is called the abdominoplasty, or more commonly known as the tummy tuck.
Factors that can cause aesthetic imperfections on the abdomen:
There is a host of internal and external factors that can prevent you from having or maintaining a flat stomach such as the natural aging process, heredity, lifestyle choices, your anatomy, weight fluctuations, and pregnancy.
With aging, people tend to accumulate fat on the middle area, despite a healthy life regimen. Moreover, skin sagginess also occurs with time. Add the sagginess to an increasing layer of fat, and the result is not pleasing to the eyes. The abdomen looks deflated like a pouch, and the sides are losing their contours due to the accumulation of fat.
With pregnancy, there are also changes in the abdominal area. The muscles on the abdominal wall stretch to accommodate the growing uterus. The skin on the tummy also stretches. Muscle diastasis and even umbilical hernias can occur due to this reason. Once the baby is born, the uterus will retract and the abdominal wall should regain its aspect from before the pregnancy. But in many cases, this does not happen due to various factors. Muscle diastasis and umbilical hernias can only be corrected with the help of plastic surgery. No amount of physical exercise will bring your muscles together. Moreover, intense physical exercise can even accentuate the diastasis recti.
What is the tummy tuck?
Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure performed with the purpose to restore a beautiful, firm and flat aspect of the tummy. The traditional tummy tuck only deals with removing the excess skin in the abdominal area, correcting the diastasis recti and umbilical hernia. The result can be somehow disappointing as it doesn’t contour the sides of the tummy and the flanks. Many patients are left with a Spongebob figure and complain that the plastic surgeon didn’t do a good job.
But this is the tummy tuck procedure. In my practice, I rarely (if ever) perform a tummy tuck by the traditional method. Over the years I have developed a technique called the hourglass tummy tuck that addresses multiple aesthetic flaws at the same time. During the hourglass tummy tuck, I will use liposuction on the abdomen and the flanks to reduce the thickness of the fat layer and to create a beautiful midline. With the fat harvested through liposuction, I then perform an augmentation of the hips. By adding volume to the hips, we create the hourglass figure that is so sought after nowadays. The results of the hourglass tummy tuck are superior to the traditional tummy tuck because the patient will not only have a flat and firm abdomen, but also a slimmer waist and beautiful curves.
The techniques and methods used in abdominoplasty vary from one patient to the other. The plastic surgeon should meticulously study each case, take extensive measurements and subject the patient to multiple medical examinations so that the end result of the procedure is as satisfactory as possible.
Make it a priority to discuss with your plastic surgeon your expectations and goals, even from the initial consultation. The plastic surgeon will then explain all methods available, what is the recommendation for your particular case and why. The surgeon should also paint a clear picture of what to expect in terms of results and show you pictures of past patients that underwent the same procedure you are interested in.
When is the tummy tuck recommended?
Even after the tummy tuck, a certain amount of fat will be left on your stomach. When you sit down or lay on your side, you might still notice some rolls. This is normal, and the only way to correct this is with the help of physical exercises that will tone the muscles. Without this layer of fat and what seems like excess skin that only shows in certain positions, you wouldn’t be able to stand up.
Plastic surgery for the abdominal area is often recommended for people who are confronted with stretch marks in the abdominal area or significantly protruding bellies. Many of my patients declared that before the tummy tuck surgery they were often mistaken for being pregnant or people would notice and mention the aspect of their tummy.
Patients who had bariatric surgery to lose weight are also suffering due to the excess of skin and fat tissue on the abdominal area. When the sagginess of the skin in the area is exacerbated, the patient might look like he has an apron of skin that descends and covers the suprapubic or even the pubic area entirely. Dermatological conditions can occur as a result of this sagginess on the fold created under it. For all these cases, the tummy tuck is recommended and is also the only viable solution that will help you solve the problem.
The choice of what type of tummy tuck to be performed depends on the elasticity of the skin, the condition of the muscles on the abdominal wall, the amount, and position of the fat layer. Depending from case to case, the plastic surgeon might recommend a mini tummy tuck, a complete tummy tuck, or even an extended tummy tuck. All these procedures can be combined with liposuction to achieve superior results.
When not to have a tummy tuck
While the procedure can certainly improve the aspect of the abdominal area for many patients, there are still some cases when the patient should think twice about undergoing the surgery or postpone it for later.
The first is pregnancy. Many tummy tuck patients choose this procedure exactly to correct imperfections that occurred after pregnancy and giving birth. However, it is important to understand that if an ulterior pregnancy will occur after the tummy tuck, the aesthetic results might be severely impacted and even altered. A good idea would be to postpone your tummy tuck until you know your family is complete as it will be easier for you to sustain the results for longer.
Another important case is the patient being overweight or obese. The tummy tuck is not a weight loss method and should never be seen as such because the results will be disappointing. If the patient is not close to his ideal weight, the procedure should be postponed until a normal weight has been reached and maintained for at least six months, preferably a year.
The result of the tummy tuck in people with a stable weight is much more satisfactory than in people who are overweight. Moreover, if an ulterior weight loss will occur after the abdominoplasty, the sagginess of the skin might occur again, negating the results of the tummy tuck.
The aesthetic improvement achieved by the tummy tuck is remarkable. Rehabilitation of the muscle wall also increases functional comfort, so aside from the aesthetic benefits there are also medical ones.
The appearance of the abdomen changes a lot after the procedure. The protruding bulge will disappear and the abdominal wall will look toned, firm and flat. Moreover, during the intervention, the stretch marks positioned on the lower part of the abdomen where the surgeon will make the skin excision will disappear. Diastasis recti and umbilical hernias are two medical conditions that can also be corrected during abdominoplasty. Physical exercises and diets are ineffective in treating muscle diastasis, they can even accentuate it.
The scar after the tummy tuck does not disappear, but it usually becomes very discreet and will, in any case, be hidden by most of your underwear. Most patients consider it a small price to pay to have a flat abdomen.
With all the temptations around us in terms of food, the long hours spent in front of a computer and a hectic lifestyle, the abdominal area can start losing its youthful appeal and firmness quite soon in our lives. Plastic surgery provides the only reliable, efficient and long-term solution for a flat tummy: abdominoplasty.