Flabby bellies are notoriously diﬃcult to control through diet and exercise. Liposuction may be beneﬁcial for someone who has extra fat around the abdomen, but anyone who also has lost muscle tone and developed extra sagging skin will require a tummy tuck, otherwise known as an abdominoplasty, to achieve a ﬂatter waistline.
A tummy tuck addresses all three major problem areas at once. In one operation we remove:
1) excess fat,
2) saggy skin, and
3) tighten abdominal muscles that may have become distended with pregnancy or age.
Men and women can develop abdominal wall weaknesses as they age that can be repaired during a tummy tuck.
During pregnancy, women lose their waistline as a result of the spreading of the surrounding tummy muscles. This spreading is referred to as ‘diastasis recti’ and is not an actual hernia but does cause a bulge from the pubic area to just above the belly button. Men may also experience this spreading following weight gain or in the presence of abdominal hernias.
The modern tummy tuck is not only a removal of skin but also an operation on fat, and muscle. Incisions for a tummy tuck are made below the bathing suit line from hipbone to hipbone and are generally tailored to the patient’s wishes. Some female patients prefer to wear french cut bathing suits. In that case, the incision comes up a little higher on the side extension. For those patients who prefer a traditional cut swimsuit, the incision is made right at the hip line. In all cases, the incision and resulting scar are fashioned to meet the patient’s wishes and aﬀord them complete camouﬂage in a bikini or other bathing suit.
Next, an incision is made around the belly button. While the belly button is left intact on the underlying muscle, the tissues beneath are elevated from the lower tummy to the rib cage area and redundant skin and fat are removed, exposing the abdominal wall. At that point, the abdominal wall is lightened by suturing together (or “lacing-up”) the abdominal muscles and repairing any damage that occurred during pregnancy or weight gain. At no time are these muscles actually cut. It is the lightening of the muscles that really reduces the waistline (and is the main reason for the post-operative pain in tummy tucks). We then perform liposuction on the abdominal wall, waist, hips and “love handles” in an eﬀort to create a smooth, pleasing contour across the entire waistline.
Finally, the tummy skin above the belly button is stretched down to the meet the incision at the pubic hairline. A small incision is made for the belly button, which will reach back through the abdominal wall as usual. The shape and nature of the belly button don’t change unless a patient speciﬁcally requests it. Any hernias of the belly button can be corrected. For example, ‘outies’ can be made ‘innies’ or it can be made a bit smaller if the patient so desires. Patients are usually instructed to wear a ”girdle” or medical compression garment over the entire tummy area to provide support and comfort while healing. It takes generally two to three weeks to make a complete recovery, and most of our tummy tuck patients are back to work within three to four weeks.
Question: What steps do you take to try and get rid of that bothersome ﬂabby tummy? You can leave a comment below.