Abdominoplasty is an elective plastic surgery procedure created to restore the appearance of the belly after weight loss and childbirth. Commonly known as a Tummy Tuck, the procedure is extremely effective because it uses a three-step approach to abdominal rejuvenation.
Why Won’t My Belly Flatten?
A common question my patients ask after childbirth or weight loss is, “Why won’t my belly flatten?” Unfortunately, the abdominal skin and muscles can permanently stretch during pregnancy or weight gain.
The abdomen does not always flatten after weight loss. Diet and exercise can increase abdominal muscle tone and reduce abdominal fat; however, they do not remove excess skin and cannot tighten the abdominal muscle sheath.
How Does Abdominoplasty Work?
As mentioned above, the Tummy Tuck is a three-step procedure. It optimally flattens the abdomen by:
- Tightening the muscle fascia
- Removing excess abdominal skin
- Reducing excess abdominal wall fat
Here are the details.
Tightening The Abdominal Muscles
The muscles of the abdominal wall lie beneath the abdominal skin and subcutaneous fat, and superficial to the abdominal organs. With weight gain and pregnancy, the abdominal muscles get stretched out. The muscle fibers still contract and they are strengthened with exercise; however, the case around the muscles (the muscle fascia) remains distended.
As part of the Tummy Tuck, the lax fascia is tightened. It is like applying an internal corset. Since the muscle is the foundation of the abdominal wall, failure to tighten this leaves the abdomen round and poochy. Abdominoplasty is very effective for candidates who are near their ideal body weight. Unfortunately, fat around the organs cannot be removed during a Tummy Tuck, and this internal fat can interfere with the results. For some patients, weight loss is recommended before Abdominoplasty in order to obtain the optimal result.
Removing Excess Abdominal Skin
Abdominoplasty means abdomen changing, and one of the biggest changes is the removal of redundant skin. When skin is folding over, weight loss and exercise rarely fix it. Moreover, as additional fat is lost, the support for the skin is reduced, and the skin folds over even more.
Tummy Tucks remove excess skin directly via an incision below the belt line. The low placement of the scar helps keep it well hidden. The wider the skin redundancy, the wider the required incision. In cases of extreme weight loss, the redundancy may extend all the way around the body and a lower body lift is performed.
Reducing Excess Abdominal Wall Fat
The subcutaneous fat of the abdominal wall tends to be located on the lower half of the belly. This is convenient because when the skin is removed from the lower abdomen, the fat beneath it is also removed.
Fat that extends around the sides and back can also be removed in the same operation with Liposuction. Liposuction of the central abdomen, however, is often delayed a few months to protect the skin’s circulation and to maximize the fat removal.
Tummy Tuck Consultations
For the safest and most predictable Tummy Tuck results you will want an experienced, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. In the San Francisco Bay Area call (925) 943-6353. My Walnut Creek Plastic Surgery office will schedule a convenient, private and personalized consultation appointment to review all the details of the Abdominoplasty procedure.