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An abdominoplasty, commonly called a “tummy tuck”, is a plastic surgery procedure which can result in not only a more attractive silhouette, but also a stronger, tighter abdominal core. Abdominoplasty involves removing excess fat and skin from the stomach area and stitching together separated and weakened abdominal muscles. This procedure results in a firmer, tighter abdominal wall which can ultimately benefit one’s overall core body strength and posture.

I actually first considered an abdominoplasty after having had three children in four and a half years. The rectus abdominus muscle separation and weakness left me with a sore back and, diminished abdominal strength. Unable to lose the roll in the middle despite having lost the weight with diet and exercise, I went forward with a plastic surgery consult and then with abdominoplasty. The abdominoplasty helped me regain core abdominal strength and a pre-pregnancy figure.

Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for weight loss and exercise, and is ideal for healthy people who are at a stable weight and yet are concerned about the size and laxity of their stomach area. This procedure is particularly effective following major weight loss and pregnancy. It is sometimes even possible for the plastic surgeon to work with the obstetrician to perform a mini tummy tuck in conjunction with a cesarean section delivery. Abdominoplasty can offer long term positive results, however, for best long term results, candidates should be at a stable weight and not considering future pregnancies.

A tummy tuck is typically done under a general anesthesia. A full tummy tuck involves a horizontal incision from hip to hip, and just above the pubic area, as well as a second incision around the belly button to remove excess skin and fat both above and below the belly button. A mini tummy tuck involves removing excess fat primarily below the belly button and does not typically involve an incision around the belly button. In either case, the lower incision is generally below a conservative bikini line. Abdominal muscles, stretched and weakened by pregnancy, weight loss and age, are repaired and sewn together, while excess fat, tissue and skin are removed. Liposuction of the flanks is often performed at the same time to reduce lateral fat deposits.

After some discomfort, swelling and tightness when standing upright, the tummy tuck usually results in a tighter abdominal appearance and feel. The primary recovery time for this procedure is approximately two weeks but the scars may take over a year fade.

Risks of an abdominoplasty, as with any surgery, are many and include but are not limited to scarring, infection, fluid collection, and less than desired abdominal trimness. It is essential to review the risks in detail with your plastic surgeon prior to any procedure.

An abdominoplasty is often considered cosmetic and is usually not covered by insurance companies. Many plastic surgeons offer financing such as Care Credit that allow payment over several months. When considering the costs of this or any procedure, consider the surgeon’s fee, surgery center costs, anesthesia fees, post surgery garments, time off work and any prescriptions required to manage the post operative pain.

Countless sit-ups and gym routines will help strengthen the abdomen but may not be enough to achieve a flat, well-toned appearing abdomen, especially following life changes including weight gain, weigh loss and pregnancy. Abdominoplasty is one way a woman or man can regain their familiar, more youthful silhouette. It is important to consult a fully trained plastic surgeon when considering an abdominoplasty to determine if the procedure could be right for you.

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