Tummy tucks are the subject of a lot of disinformation. This can be a complex surgery, so it’s not surprising that there’s confusion regarding how it works and what it can and can’t do for patients. Here’s a list of some of the most common tummy tuck myths, plus some facts to set the record straight.
Tummy Tuck Myth: If People Just Ate Right and Exercised, They Could Get Rid of Their Flabby Stomach
This myth is based on a misunderstanding about what tummy tucks are actually designed to do. This surgery is specifically for patients who are fit, eat a healthy diet and maintain a body weight close to their ideal weight. The procedure does three things:
• Removes excess skin
• Removes excess pockets of fat (if accompanied by liposuction)
• Brings the abdominal muscles back together
Here are the facts: There is no exercise that can tighten loose skin that simply doesn’t have enough elasticity. Aging, extreme weight loss and pregnancy can all create a situation where skin simply doesn’t bounce back any more. If the skin is still sagging after a person has reached and maintained their ideal body weight for some time, it is unlikely that it will tighten up more regardless of exercise.
What about that little roll of fat on the abdomen? If there were exercises that really would “target” fat in specific areas, no one would have a stomach pooch. While patients can control their overall weight loss, there isn’t a way to burn fat in a specific area of the body. That’s not how the human metabolism works – despite what you may see in infomercials.
Finally, there is the issue of abdominal separation. Diastasis recti is a medical condition that involves the thinning and weakening of the connective tissue on the midline of the abdomen. This tissue is what holds the abs tightly together. When the tissue separates, the abs move further apart and the upper and/or lower abdomen may bulge outward as a result. This has nothing to do with being fat, and weight loss won’t help. Doing sit ups won’t fix the problem either – they may make it worse.
As you can see, blaming people who want a tummy tuck for not having the will power to get themselves in shape is off base. The problems addressed by tummy tucks simply don’t have other solutions.
Tummy Tuck Myth: Tummy Tucks are for Women Only
Actually, men can and do get abdominoplasty surgery as well. Obviously, they don’t do this as part of a “mommy makeover” to get back their pre-pregnancy figure. However, if a man loses a lot of weight, he can end up with saggy, droopy skin and small areas of stubborn fat that can be successfully addressed with a tummy tuck. The factors that make a male patient a good candidate for this procedure (overall health, stable weight, non-smoker, etc.) are the same as the criteria for female patients. The procedure itself, the risks, and the recovery are all similar for men and women.
Tummy Tuck Myth: Liposuction Is Always a Part of the Tummy Tuck Procedure
Liposuction is often used during tummy tucks for additional sculpting of the waistline and surrounding areas. However, you shouldn’t assume that lipo is included in your procedure. Instead, talk to your plastic surgeon about the specific areas of fat that you want to address. Your surgeon can explain what areas of your abdomen can be smoothed by abdominoplasty and how liposuction might be used in combination with the tummy tuck to achieve your desired results. Having liposuction along with your tummy tuck may affect the overall price of your surgery and entail additional risks.
Tummy Tuck Myth: Tummy Tucks are Great for Removing Stretch Marks
Unfortunately, abdominoplasty will only remove stretch marks that are on the lower abdomen. Even there, the removal may only be partial depending on how large and extensive the marks are. You really don’t want the surgeon to take off more skin than necessary just to get rid of the stretch marks. Improving the overall contour of your stomach is the important thing. So, during your consultation you should discuss your stretch marks and get an idea of which ones are in the area of skin that will be removed and which ones will remain after surgery. If your stretch marks are red or pink, there are cosmetic laser therapies that may help fade them.
Tummy Tuck Myth: A C-Section is the Perfect Opportunity to Have a Tummy Tuck
The end of a pregnancy is precisely the wrong time to have cosmetic surgery of any kind. This is when your body weight is at its highest and your abdominal muscles and skin are stretched completely out of shape. If a surgeon starts removing skin and excess fat and suturing connective tissue at this point, there is absolutely no telling what the results will look like as you heal.
You should let your body bounce back as much as it will on its own before you consider tummy tuck surgery. This is actually the fastest and most efficient way to get the body that you want. Remember, the ideal candidate for a tummy tuck is within a few pounds of her ideal body weight to start with. The less drastic the changes made during the abdominoplasty, the more likely you are to have a good aesthetic outcome. Besides all that, c-sections and tummy tucks may share some of the same incision area, but they are not overlapping or similar procedures in any other way. You need your full strength to take care of your baby in the first months of his or her life. Trying to recover from two major surgeries instead of one would put far too much strain on your body.