An abominoplasty, also known as a “tummy tuck” is generally viewed as a cosmetic procedure that is performed to reduce the size of a distended and/or fatty abdominal area and to remove excess skin. Tummy tucks are often included as part of a “mommy makeover” that women who have completed childbearing undergo to reclaim their before-baby figure.
While the cosmetic and rejuvenating benefits of tummy tucks can be phenomenal, some people who would benefit from a tummy tuck may shy away from the procedure owing to the stigma surrounding cosmetic surgery, which some characterize as vain and superficial. But, unlike most rhinoplasties or facelifts, the benefits of a well-performed tummy tuck can go far beyond the merely cosmetic. Abdominoplasty also conveys medical benefits that help your body function more efficiently so that it can maintain your vitality and health throughout your life.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a series of procedures that are performed to rectify poor abdominal tone and remove excess fat and skin. In some cases, up to 10 pounds of fat may be removed during an abominoplasty. The exact steps in your tummy tuck will vary depending on your individual needs.
A Tummy Tuck Designed Specifically for You
During your consultation for a tummy tuck, Dr. Julio Garcia – a plastic surgeon LV based in Henderson, NV – will examine you thoroughly to be sure you are a candidate for this procedure. Signs that you will benefit from a tummy tuck include:
- You have not had previous abdominal surgery that would preclude a tummy tuck.
- Your excess abdominal fat is genetically determined and is resistant to diet and exercise.
- You are at or near your ideal weight.
- You already have a healthy exercise regimen and diet in place that can maintain your results over the long term.
- If you are female, you have finished your family and are not planning any further pregnancies.
- You have the emotional and physical support you need to help you during your 2-week-plus recovery period.
- You can afford to take at least two weeks off from work for your recovery.
- You have arranged for intensive help and care during the first 48 hours after your procedure.
- Your children are old enough to be entrusted to others during your recovery period.
- You have excess skin.
- You have poorly toned abdominal muscles that are not responding to exercise.
The Steps in Your Tummy Tuck
During his examination, Dr. Garcia will measure you precisely so that your new shape is flattering and harmonious to your body type. Dr. Garcia – who has a double degree in Art History and plastic surgery – will bring his artist's eye and highly developed sense of aesthetics to your body contouring.
Depending on his findings, Dr. Garcia may recommend either a full tummy tuck – in which the incision runs from hipbone to hipbone and both the upper and lower abdominals are treated – or a mini tummy tuck – in which the incision runs across the pubis, muscles are not tightened, and only the lower abdomen is addressed.
He may also recommend some or all of the following procedures as part of your tummy tuck:
Pre-operative liposuction. If you have an excessive amount of abdominal fat, this may have to be removed with liposuction before your tummy tuck. After your pre-op liposuction, you will need to wait several months before you are healed sufficiently for your tummy tuck.
Intra-procedure liposuction. If you have just a small amount of stubborn abdominal fat (such as a muffin top), this can be removed during your tummy tuck procedure.
Tightening the abdominal muscles. If you are having a full abdominoplasty and your abdominal muscles are weak, Dr. Garcia can stitch your muscles more closely together to tighten them.
Repositioning the navel. During a full abdominoplasty, your navel will be disconnected from the underlying muscles so that they can be stitched together and tightened. The navel will then be aesthetically repositioned during your skin tightening and removal.
Removing excess skin. One of the most gratifying aspects of a tummy tuck is stretching the skin to lie tautly over your abdominal area and then trimming away the excess, loose skin. After skin that has lost elasticity due to age, obesity, or pregnancy has been stretched, it cannot regain its original shape. No amount of exercise can create a flat stomach. But removing the excess skin during abdominoplasty restores a youthful plane to your abdomen.
Dr. Garcia may perform additional surgery to correct other problems in the abdominal region, including repairing hernias and weak bladders.
Medical Benefits of a Tummy Tuck
In addition to regaining a toned and beautifully contoured figure, a tummy tuck can confer important functional medical benefits:
1. Improved Abdominal Tone. A tight abdomen is not merely aesthetically pleasing; strong abdominal muscles help hold the spine and the organs in place, allowing them to function optimally.
2. Improved Posture. Weak abdominal muscles can lead to a condition known as lordosis, more commonly referred to as sway back. Good posture not only looks more youthful, it enhances organ function and may alleviate back pain.
3. Reduced Urinary Incontinence. After their abdominal muscles have been stretched during childbirth, many women develop stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Their bladder may leak during acts that put pressure on the abdominals, such as sneezing, exercising and laughing. If you suffer from SUI, Dr. Garcia can slightly obstruct your bladder with soft tissue to prevent excess leakage.
4. Ventral Hernia Correction. Abdominal muscles that have been weakened by obesity, massive weight loss, appendectomies, heavy lifting, family history, pregnancy or C-section deliveries may be compromised to the point where intestinal, organ or abdominal tissue breaks through the abdominal muscles and/or fascia and forms a pocket -- otherwise known as a ventral hernia. Surgical steps involved in ventral hernia repair are almost identical to those of a tummy tuck, as they both tighten the abdominal muscles. Performing both at the same time reduces stress on the body and helps prevent the development of further hernias.
5. Improved Mood and Vitality. Losing control over your body owing to the development of exercise-resistant fat, weakened abdominal muscles and/or excess, sagging skin can lead to depression and loss of a sense of agency. A tummy tuck is not only physically revitalizing, your improved physique can give you an emotional boost as well. You'll look and feel younger, which can go a long way toward encouraging you to be vigilant in your diet and exercise over the long term.
A tummy tuck will not only restore your youthful figure, it will keep you looking younger for years to decades to come. Tighter abdominal muscles will help you feel more energized and vital and allow your body to function more efficiently. Combinted with your dedication to a healthy and sustainable diet and exercise regimen, the priceless benefits of a tummy tuck can last for the rest of your life.