Can a tummy tuck erase stretch marks?
Can a tummy tuck erase stretch marks?
There are very specific goals that each plastic surgery procedure needs to fulfill. Depending on these goals we can evaluate whether the procedure was successful or not and what is to be done in case revision surgery is necessary.
In the case of the tummy tuck, things are very clear: after the procedure, the patient should have a flat and firm tummy, with no skin sagginess on the inferior part of the abdomen. To achieve this, the plastic surgeon will make incisions on the lower part of the tummy and detach the skin and fat tissues from the abdominal muscles. The skin tissue is elevated up to the level of the ribs so the surgeon can gain access to the muscles of the abdominal wall.
One of the reasons why the abdomen can look not very flat and firm is diastasis recti, a condition affecting the muscles of the abdomen. When diastasis recti is present, it means that the left and right muscles of the abdominal wall can’t be brought together as a gap has developed between them. This usually happens when the patient was pregnant with twins or had a baby that weighed more than normal at birth, but it can also occur in case of overweight or obese patients.
It is important to understand that diastasis recti can alter the appearance of the tummy and there is nothing that can be done to correct it aside from undergoing surgery. To bring the muscles together on the abdominal wall, the plastic surgeon will use sutures. Also, he will correct umbilical hernia, if present. After all the imperfections of the abdominal wall are corrected, the plastic surgeon will re-drape the skin on the muscles and eliminate the excess of tissue. This means that the skin that is excised is the one on the lower part of the abdomen.
Many patients ask during the pre-operative consultation for the tummy tuck if the procedure can erase stretch marks. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this, and many patients don’t receive the answer they are looking for.
The reality is that the only stretch marks that are eliminated during the tummy tuck are the ones positioned on the pedicle of skin to the excised, so on the lower part of the tummy. If you have stretch marks on the side of the tummy or on the upper side, chances are you will be left with them after the procedure and they might also change their position on the abdomen due to the excision of the surplus of skin. Keep this in mind and discuss the issue at length with the plastic surgeon during the pre-operative consultation.
It is not a reasonable expectation to undergo the tummy tuck with the aim of getting rid of stretch marks. The stretch marks are a skin condition defined by the break of collagen fibers, while the tummy tuck deals with the imperfections of the structures of the abdominal wall.
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