What is a Tummy Tuck?

What is a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty? Can this procedure help with menopausal weight gain?


'Tummy tuck' is a deceptively cute name for a major cosmetic surgical procedure.

In an abdominoplasty, to give the op its more technical handle, the surgeon removes excess skin and fat from your stomach area, and tightens up the underlying muscles. It's often used together with stomach liposuction.

Unlike the various types of bariatric surgery, tummy tuck doesn't affect the way you eat or change the way your digestion works. What it does do is flatten your tummy, reduce the look of stretch marks and remove loose skin.

Tummy tuck is not for you if you're very overweight, but it can make a big difference to the way you look if you've had a protruding tummy since giving birth, but even with healthy diet and weight loss exercise you haven't been able to flatten your abs.

What is a tummy tuck procedure?

Loose skin and bulging paunch can be helped with a tummy tuck
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This is a big operation which can take up to 3 hours to perform. Recovery takes several weeks and can be painful, especially in the early phase.

The surgeon makes a long, curving cut across the lower abdomen, just above the bikini line. In a mini tummy tuck, this is the only incision. In an extended tummy tuck, the cut is taken further on each side so the hips and love handles can be treated, and in a full tummy tuck, a cut is also made around the navel (tummy button). The surgeon can then access the underlying abdominal muscles and will stitch these firmly to make a taut, firm base for your newly slenderised stomach.

Excess skin and fat are removed before the area is stitched back together and the navel re-positioned on the new, flatter stomach.

Tummy tuck recovery

Such an extensive procedure has possible complications and full tummy tuck recovery takes several weeks.

What is a tummy tuck - who can benefit?

Abdominoplasty is a recommended cosmetic treatment for women who have stubborn belly fat and loose skin around the tummy, often following on from one or more pregnancies.

This bulging stomach can be very hard if not impossible to shift because the underlying muscles which stretched during pregnancy have lost their elasticity and can't spring back into place.

Tummy tuck works best when you are already the right weight for your height.

Tummy tuck is not a suitable treatment for obese people, where bariatric procedures like gastric bypass and gastric lap band are a better choice if diet and exercise haven't helped.

Some people who've lost large amounts of weight after bariatric surgery are left with loose skin around the belly which can be removed with a tummy tuck.

Women who know they won't have more children and are desperate to lose the unsightly paunch, may well ask what is a tummy tuck - and is it worth the expense, discomfort and possible complications? Find out more about the cost of tummy tuck.

The procedure is most successful if your expectations are realistic, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle with a good diet and sufficient exercise afterwards, and you are not excessively overweight to begin with.

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