A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to help flatten the abdominal area. Excess fat and skin are removed and in most cases weakened or separated muscles are tightened creating an abdominal profile that is flattened, smoother and firmer.

Most of us would like to have a flat and well-toned abdomen but it seems like an unattainable dream for some of us. We try getting this through exercise and weight control, but sometimes these methods just do not result in the flat stomach we desire.

This is true with people who are overweight, but may also occur with people who are of normal weight. Many individuals of otherwise normal body weight and proportion can develop an abdomen that bulges and has loose skin that sags.

There are many common causes for these problems. Some of these include:

Pregnancy – with stretchmarks and excess fat accumulation
Aging – which loosens the skin and we tend to accumulate fat as we age
Significant fluctuations in weight – such as with gastric bypass surgeries
Heredity – some people just have a tendency to have these problems
Prior surgery – scars on the abdomen can deform the area

A Tummy Tuck can help all these problems. It can remove stretch marks and loose skin in the lower abdomen. It can remove excess fat that causes abnormal contours. It can tighten weakened or separated muscles under the skin that create some of the bulge. It can reshape what pregnancy had changed. And it can revise some of the abdominal scars that many people have from prior surgeries. The goal of a tummy tuck is to create a smoother and firmer abdomen that is more cosmetically acceptable to the person.

Before doing a tummy tuck, one should lose as much weight as they can. Tummy tucks are not substitutes for weight loss or an appropriate exercise program. Better results can be achieved from a tummy tuck if one loses the weight first and then proceeds with the procedure.

Moreover, after a tummy tuck one must continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle of proper diet and adequate exercise to keep the flattened look. The results of a tummy tuck are technically permanent because fat and skin are removed. However, fat can grow back and the positive outcomes from the procedure can be greatly decreased by significant weight gain. In addition, those women planning a pregnancy may develop further stretching and stretch marks from another pregnancy. Thus they may want to postpone the procedure until they have completed their family.

A tummy tuck may not be for everyone. You are a good candidate for a tummy tuck if you are in good physical health and you have had a stable weight over six to 12 months or more. If you smoke, prepare yourself for rejection: most surgeons will not do a tummy tuck on people who smoke unless they stop smoking.

Anyone who undergoes a tummy tuck must have realistic expectations. Most of us will not turn out to look like models or fit movie stars. We can only accept that we can have a marked improvement in the shape of our bodies. Tummy tucks should only be performed in those individuals who are bothered by the feeling that their tummy is too large. It is not for everyone.

Tummy tucks can correct stretch marks in the lower abdomen below the belly button by removing the lower skin area. Stretch marks in the upper abdomen cannot usually be treated by tummy tucks. In addition, some people have a bulge in their stomach due to intraabdominal fat that cannot be treated with a tummy tuck, i.e. fat that is below the muscle layer. Everyone varies and they should assess their problems and whether the tummy tuck can help them before they do the procedure.

Tummy tuck surgery is therefore a highly individualized procedure and you should have a thorough evaluation and assessment of your body before you undergo the procedure. Moreover, if you are a candidate, you should do the procedure for yourself and not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.

You should have an evaluation with a knowledgeable cosmetic surgeon who performs tummy tuck procedures before you embark on this journey. Please contact my office and set up an appointment. If you are a candidate, it usually is a life changing experience and most people are very happy with their new, flat, firm and smooth look.