It seems like high-waisted jeans and crop tops aren’t going anywhere for a while, so it’s understandable why so many people are focused on attaining a flat stomach. Not to mention that a flat stomach is also incredibly alluring and a sign of health. But what if you can’t achieve one? If you’ve been genetically predisposed to have a little bit of a tiny tummy or your body never seemed to bounce back after pregnancy, a tummy tuck may be your chance to have the narrow waist and washboard abs you’ve dreamed of. Not sure what a tummy tuck entails? Let the skilled plastic surgeons of the Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery tell you the truth about the tummy tuck.
What’s a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure that can help the patient achieve a flat, athletic abdomen. It’s done by removing excess skin on the belly, fatty deposits, and tightening the abdominal muscles. To access the tissues, a surgeon will make an incision right above the pelvic bone. Then, the skin is lifted so that the surgeon can manipulate the muscles. An incision will be made around the navel to move it in a normal position. After removing excess skin and fat and repositioning the belly button, the skin is pulled down and the incision is closed with sutures. This incision will lead to a scar below the belly, but your surgeon will place the incision strategically so that it can be hidden by underwear or a swimsuit.
Who Can Get a Tummy Tuck?
Almost anyone who is relatively healthy, doesn’t smoke (or at least, is willing to quit for a few weeks before and after the surgery), and has no undiagnosed diseases can undergo the tummy tuck. By and large, most people who get the tummy tuck are people who can’t seem to achieve a smooth, flat belly—but not for lack of trying. Although we often see washboard abs as a sign of athleticism, there are genetic and biological reasons why people tend to have potbellies. It’s a raw deal, but a tummy tuck gives them a chance to get the body they’ve always wanted.
What a Tummy Tuck Can Do
One of the most important things to understand about the tummy tuck? It’s not a weight loss procedure. The ideal candidate for the tummy tuck is someone who is close to their ideal weight (that is, they’re at a stable weight that they can hold on to indefinitely), but still needs to flatten a flabby stomach that can’t be removed over diet and exercise.
Think of a tummy tuck as a sculpting procedure—a way to surgically refine your figure. In fact, many surgeons advise patients to keep up a healthy diet and exercise regimen to maintain their results.
The tummy tuck is also remarkable because it can strengthen your core. One common issue women face is diastasis recti, a condition where the connective tissues holding the abdominal muscles become stretched. Diastasis recti is caused by pregnancy, when the muscles have to part to make room for a baby. Once the connective tissue’s been stretched, it can’t be tightened again after exercise (which will only tighten the abdominal muscles vertically, causing muscles to split even further!). That’s why so many women find themselves with a pot belly even months after giving birth. To remedy this, a tummy tuck will use sutures to hold the muscles closer together, allowing the patient to have a more athletic-looking abdomen and a stronger core.
Your Recovery from a Tummy Tuck
Like any surgical procedure, patients will need to follow a strict recovery protocol after their tummy tuck. You’ll need to wear a compression garment (think: medical Spanx) for 4-6 weeks to help shape your new abdomen and to reduce swelling. You’ll also need to use some drains to prevent fluid accumulation in the abdomen. You’ll likely feel some discomfort, soreness, and fatigue after your procedure, but many patients report that the recovery doesn’t feel as uncomfortable as they thought it would.
Overall, most patients take around 2 weeks off from work to recover, and refrain from exercising for at least a month. After that, patients can their permanently flat, new belly.
Tightening and toning your tummy isn’t as easy as doing a few crunches; for some of us, it takes a tummy tuck. If you think a tummy tuck is for you, why not talk to an expert on the procedure? Contact the Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery now, for a consultation on the tummy tuck.