A flat and well-toned abdomen is something many of us strive for through exercise and weight control. But regardless of effort, sometimes these methods cannot achieve our goals. Even individuals of otherwise normal body weight and proportion can develop an abdomen that protrudes or is loose and sagging. The most common causes of this include heredity, multiple pregnancies, prior surgery, significant fluctuations in weight or congenital spine abnormalities that affect posture.
If you desire a tighter, flatter abdomen, then a tummy tuck many be appropriate to help achieve your goals. In general, a tummy tuck removes excess fat and skin, and in some cases restores weakened or separated muscles. This creates an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer, often enhancing your body image and confidence.
What is a tummy tuck?
Tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a common term for the surgical procedure to correct a protruding or loose, sagging abdomen. Areas to be treated may include the center of the abdomen or may extend to the entire area between the lower rib cage and pubic bone, as well as to the sides and back.
Abdominal contouring can be performed using a variety of techniques. When localized fat is the cause, abdominal contour surgery may be performed using only liposuction techniques. When excess fat is combined with loose, sagging skin and tissue, a tummy tuck removes unwanted fat, tissues and skin by excision. Abdominal muscles that have weakened or separated, a condition called diastasis, can also be corrected with a tummy tuck.
A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program. Although the results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent, the positive outcome can be greatly diminished by significant fluctuations in weight. For this reason, individuals who are planning substantial weight loss or women who may be considering future pregnancies may be advised to postpone a tummy tuck.
Tummy tuck is best performed on adults of any age who are in good health, are close to the ideal weight for their body type and size, are moderately fit and, overall, have good muscle tone. Good candidates are:
- Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
- Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for body contouring
In addition, previous abdominal surgery may limit the potential results of a tummy tuck. In women who have undergone cesarean section, the existing scars may often be incorporated or revised for new incisions.
Your tummy tuck
Your tummy tuck will be individualized to your specific condition that may include:
- Excess localized fat in the abdominal area
- Loose and sagging skin in the abdominal region
- Weakened or separated abdominal muscles due to pregnancy, weight loss or aging
One or all of these conditions may be present and can be surgically improved by a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck cannot correct stretch marks, although these may be removed or somewhat improved if they are primarily located on the areas of excess skin that will be excised, generally those treated areas below the belly button.
There are variations to tummy tuck surgery; the technique selected is dependent on the degree of correction necessary to achieve a flatter profile and firmer abdomen. Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as personal preference and Dr. Greg Ganske’s surgical judgment.