Are sit-ups not giving you the taut tummy you want? If you've got too much flab or excess skin in your abdomen that doesn't respond to diet or exercise, you may be considering a "tummy tuck," which doctors call "abdominoplasty."
This surgery flattens the abdomen by removing extra fat and skin, and tightening muscles in your abdominal wall.
It's not the same as liposuction, although you may choose to get liposuction along with a tummy tuck.
This is a major surgery, so if you're considering it, you should know the facts before you decide whether to go forward.
Who Are the Best Candidates For a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is suitable for men and women who are in good health.
Women who have had several pregnancies may find the procedure useful for tightening their abdominal muscles and reducing skin.
A tummy tuck is also an option for men or women who were once obese and still have excess fat deposits or loose skin around the belly.
Who Should Not Consider a Tummy Tuck?
If you're a woman who plans to get pregnant, then you may want to postpone a tummy tuck until you're done having children. During surgery, your vertical muscles are tightened, and future pregnancies can separate those muscles.
Are you planning to lose a lot of weight? Then a tummy tuck also is not for you. A tummy tuck should be a last resort after you've tried everything else. It should not be used as an alternative to weight loss.
You should also consider the chance of scarring after a tummy tuck. You can talk about that possibility with the doctor before the surgery.
How to Prepare for Tummy Tuck Surgery
The first step is to choose a surgeon and see him or her for a consultation. At that meeting, you'll talk about your goals and the following options:
If you smoke, your doctor will ask that you quit smoking from at least two weeks before the surgery until two weeks after the surgery. It is not enough to just cut down on smoking. You must stop completely since smoking makes complications more likely and slows healing.
Complete abdominoplasty. The surgeon will cut your abdomen from hipbone to hipbone and then contour the skin, tissue, and muscle as needed. The surgery will involve moving your belly button, and you may need drainage tubes under your skin for a few days.
- Partial or mini abdominoplasty. Mini-abdominoplasties are often done on people whose fat deposits are located below the navel. During this procedure, the surgeon most likely will not move your belly button, and the procedure may only take up to two hours, depending on your case.