Looking to flatten your tummy and narrow your waistline? A tummy tuck (also known as an abdominoplasty) may be right for you. The aging process creates changes to the abdomen in both women and men (such as increased laxity of the abdominal skin and stretched abdominal muscles). Some individuals, such as females after pregnancy, are especially prone to these changes. The extreme physiologic changes experienced from pregnancy can leave women with a figure that feels and looks very different from pre-pregnancy.
While diet and exercise assist in weight loss, many patients discover that neither improves the loss of skin elasticity and the presence of stretch marks nor the separation of the abdominal muscles. No matter how strong the “six-pack” muscles become, a bulge will be present where the muscles are separated. Moreover, a scar from a cesarian section (c-section) can accentuate this bulge.
Three main problems are targeted with a tummy tuck: 1) excess and lax skin (especially below the belly button), 2) separation of the abdominal muscles and 3) fatty deposits. An incision from hip bone to the hip bone is placed below the waistline to removes excess skin and stretch marks, and the remaining abdominal skin is tightened. The “six-pack” muscles are then secured back to their youthful, supportive position. Additionally, conservative liposuction may be used to remove excess pockets of fat. If a patient has no skin laxity or abdominal wall separation, then liposuction-alone can be performed to areas of excess fat.
What about a mini tummy tuck?
A mini tummy tuck (or mini-abdominoplasty) is designed for patients who have abdominal muscle separation but minimal skin laxity that is confined to below the belly button. It provides the opportunity to realign the separated abdominal muscles and requires a smaller incision. That said, the smaller incision in turn limits the extent of skin tightening that can be performed. While the scar should never be longer than necessary, the amount of skin tightening that can be achieved is directly proportional to the length of the scar. Since the scar is placed low and inconspicuous, it is better to have a longer and well-hidden scar with tighter overall skin, than a shorter scar with loose skin.