Tummy Tightening

Arguably, the cornerstone of the “Mommy Makeover” is a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty. Women are often concerned about their abdomen, as well as their breasts after pregnancy.   The natural growth of the baby within the uterus pushes the abdominal wall forward, stretching both the skin and the muscles.   The separation of the rectus muscles is known as a diastasis recti. Hernias of the groin and belly button can also occur.  Much of the distortion goes away after delivery, but extra skin and muscle weakness often remains. For some women this is a concern. Considerable or rapid weight loss may present the same concerns.  A tummy tuck can fix these problems.
A tummy tuck is designed to correct these physical changes. Extra skin and fat are removed while the underlying  muscles are repositioned above and below the belly button.   Hernias can also be repaired.   This surgery does leave scars. There is a scar at the lower portion of the abdomen, where the extra skin and fat are removed.   If a large amount of skin is removed, a scar around the belly button may be necessary. We can also reposition the belly button to a more natural position. Of course, the placement of these scars is critical.   I design the scars so they can be easily covered by the smallest bathing suit a patient wants to wear.   A “W” shaped scar at the level of the pubic hair and near the groin is best for this.   Planning requires marking the location of the bathing suit bottom, prior to surgery  to design an easily covered scar.

Traditionally drains have been used as part of the after-care of a tummy tuck. Recent changes in the dissection  technique along with the judicious use of liposuction around the belly button have reduced their need.   I do not  routinely use drains at this time. No diet or exercise is able to fix excess skin or the separated muscles and patients are often discouraged at not achieving results.  Some of my happiest patients are my tummy tuck patients, because surgery is the most effective way to address these problems.  

Next time: A Tummy Tuck patient share her story



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