Plastic Surgery Blog

November 28th, 2017

Mommy Makeover Series: Tummy Tuck

Most of the best things in life are challenging—that’s what makes them so satisfying. Nowhere is this truer than the experience of motherhood: Carrying a child and raising him or her is a miraculous, fulfilling, and inspiring journey… But it’s hard work, for both your mind and your body. While some women are lucky enough to heal completely after their pregnancies, others are left with residual damage in the form of a bulging stomach that will not respond to diet or exercise. This issue is far from being skin-deep, too. The presence of a pronounced tummy “pouch” can signify underlying damage to the muscles of the abdomen.

The above issue is so prevalent among new mothers that almost all “mommy makeovers” include a procedure known as abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery. Tummy tuck surgery can correct aesthetic issues, such as loose skin and stretch marks, while also addressing deeper structural problems. Here’s what you need to know about this procedure:

Having a Tummy Tuck is Often Necessary to Restore Your Shape

When the muscles of the abdomen have been damaged by pregnancy, no amount of exercise is capable of repairing them. This is because the tissue between the lateral portions of the abdominal muscles becomes torn (due to the pressure exerted on it by the growing fetus). Once this occurs, the muscles can no longer be used in unison, making exercise ineffective. Only the surgical sutures that are placed during a tummy tuck can mend the torn tissue and restore full muscle functionality. After the patient recovers, the mended muscles will both respond properly to exercise and exert a “corseting” effect on the abdomen. (They will compress the abdominal tissue as they did prior to pregnancy, meaning that it will no longer be able to push forward and distort the abdomen.)

Tummy Tuck Surgery

A tummy tuck is a powerful procedure that can help patients achieve a slimmer, more athletic abdomen. Like liposuction, a tummy tuck can remove the stubborn pockets of fat on the belly that prevent people from attaining a slimmer belly. But, unlike liposuction, a tummy tuck can actually remove excess skin and tighten a portion of the abdomen. Tightening the abdomen is important for some of our female patients because diet and exercise alone can’t reverse the effects of pregnancy on the abdominal muscles.

Like most surgical procedures, there is a recovery required after a tummy tuck. After the tummy tuck, patients are advised to refrain from lifting heavy objects for about 2-3 weeks, but patients are able to go back to work within a week.

Some of our patients qualify for a mini-tummy tuck, a milder version of the tummy tuck designed for patients who want to localize their treatment to the lower abdomen.

Tummy Tuck Surgery Can be Combined with Liposuction

Sometimes women discover that they have new deposits of stubborn fat on their stomachs, flanks, or thighs after going through pregnancy. If this is the case, you can ask your surgeon about having liposuction administered at the time of your tummy tuck.

Your Mommy Makeover Should Form Part of Your Family Plan

While having a tummy tuck will not impair your ability to have children, subsequent pregnancies can compromise the results of this procedure. Most women therefore wait until they’re done having children to schedule a mommy makeover. However, if you would like to undergo a mommy makeover in between pregnancies, you may be able to do so. Just talk to your surgeon about the possibility of future revision surgeries and make sure to budget accordingly.

Having a mommy makeover can help you enjoy family life with greater confidence and peace of mind. Moms who are happy with their bodies typically have healthier relationships and may even enjoy more robust careers. When it comes to motherhood, the key to success is balance: By looking after yourself, you’ll be better able to look after those around you.