A tummy tuck can help to achieve a more toned and contoured abdominal area. The procedure can also improve the appearance of a protruding belly or “pooch” caused by muscle laxity and fat accumulation. Your surgeon will then reposition the belly button and tighten the underlying muscles, creating a flatter, more toned appearance. Matthew J. Lynch MD recommends a tummy tuck for loose and sagging skin.
The surgeon will also conduct a physical examination and review your medical history before making a recommendation. A tummy tuck is not a weight loss surgery and is not recommended as a substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise. The procedure typically involves an incision across the lower abdomen, removing extra skin and fat and tightening the underlying abdominal muscles.
The incision is closed with sutures or staples, and a compression garment is worn to support the healing process. Strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for several weeks to allow for proper healing.
It is important to note that a tummy tuck is a major surgery, and it should be done only when other weight loss methods, diet, and exercise have failed.
Reasons to get a tummy tuck
A tummy tuck may be recommended for several reasons, including:
Loose, sagging skin
Pregnancy, weight loss, or aging can cause the skin on the stomach area to stretch and lose elasticity, resulting in loose, sagging skin. A tummy tuck can remove this extra skin and tighten the remaining skin for a more toned appearance.
Pregnancy or weight gain can cause the abdominal muscles to stretch and separate, resulting in a protruding stomach. A tummy tuck can tighten these muscles to create a flatter, more toned appearance.
Stretch marks are a common result of pregnancy, weight gain, or weight loss and can be difficult to remove with diet and exercise alone. A tummy tuck can remove excess skin affected by stretch marks, resulting in a smoother, more toned appearance.
This condition is characterized by a separation of the abdominal muscles that can occur during pregnancy, leading to a protuberant belly. A tummy tuck can repair this separation and result in a flatter stomach.
If you have had previous surgery, such as a C-section, the scar tissue can result in a protruding stomach. A tummy tuck can remove scar tissue and repair the abdominal muscles.
Certain individuals may not be good candidates for a tummy tuck. These include:
- Individuals who are significantly overweight or obese
- Women who are planning to become pregnant in the future
- Individuals with a history of poor healing or scarring
- Individuals who smoke, as this can significantly increase the risk of complications during and after the procedure
- Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease that may increase the risk of complications
A tummy tuck procedure typically takes 2-5 hours to complete, depending on the extent of the surgery. The recovery time can vary, but most patients can return to work and light activities within 2-4 weeks. However, it can take several months for the final results to become fully visible as the swelling subsides and the incision lines continue to heal.
It is advisable to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with your surgeon before deciding to have a tummy tuck.