The idea of a “tummy tuck” is thrown around in jest quite often – this notion of magically making your belly disappear without any effort. While the procedure is meant to help get rid of stubborn, unwanted tummy parts…it’s often not that simple. For many moms, their reason for considering a tummy tuck is the fact that they have sacrificed their body during childbirth and can’t get it back to where they are comfortable…on their own.
After carrying a baby, the rectus abdominis muscles (your six-pack) can be permanently stretched out of place. They should face forward; but pregnancy, especially if you gained a lot of weight, can stretch out the tough band of fibrous tissue that runs down your midline (think of the row of buttons on a button-down shirt), causing the muscles to be shifted off to the side. Think about when the neck of a t-shirt stretches out – even after washing, it never really tightens back up.
The result is that “pooch” you see when you turn sideways. Instead of your old previously flat tummy, you look a little thicker from front to back. You can suck it in and try to hold it; you can do crunches in the gym religiously every day. You won’t be able to tighten that fibrous connective tissue back down on your own.
In addition to the stretch of these muscles, there’s the stretching of skin – often beyond the point of repair. As a result, you’re left with skin that is saggy, wrinkled, and may have some stretch marks. My patients call it “prune belly,” an “apron,” or “muffin top.” The belly button is widened and may even be pointing south. Again, dieting, exercise, and expensive creams alone just can’t return your skin to its original condition.
So what can you do? This is where you begin to consider the tummy tuck (abdomino-plasty), a procedure intended to provide a flatter, tighter abdomen, and remove the appearance of stretch marks.
Things to Consider Before Your Tummy Tuck
As with all cosmetic surgery, there is a needed step of self-evaluation before following through with procedures. In the case of a tummy tuck, here are some questions for you to honestly answer:
Have you lost most or all of your pregnancy weight? Are you within 10 percent of your ideal body weight? What have you done to get back into shape? Do you have plans to have more children? Did you have a Cesarean birth (C-section)? Have you had any other surgery on your abdomen?
Your answers to these questions will impact the success of your tummy tuck, and individual results will vary*. For instance, when it comes to an honest evaluation of your weight and being close to your desired body weight, it’s important to understand that a tummy tuck is not a weight-loss surgery. If you haven’t been able to establish a healthy lifestyle prior to surgery, those same difficulties will still be there (and will still affect your body). Make the decision that is right for you and your body. Learn more about the tummy tuck procedure in my book, The Mommy Makeover.
Music City Plastic Surgery 3803 Bedford Ave, Suite 102 | Nashville, TN 37215 Phone: (615) 567-5716 Office Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm