What a Tummy Tuck Can and Can’t Do

African american woman in underwear demonstrating her perfect body

Abdominoplasty, commonly called a tummy tuck, can help you regain your body confidence by eliminating stubborn fat pockets and creating a slim, toned abdomen. But there are tummy tuck myths circulating online.

During a tummy tuck, abdominal muscles are repaired, and loose skin is tightened, resulting in a thinner midsection. Before undergoing any plastic surgery, it’s important to have realistic expectations. This procedure is usually done under general anesthesia.

Here we explain what abdominoplasty can and can’t do so that you can decide if this procedure is right for you.

A tummy tuck can restore a slimmer, younger stomach.

Whether your tummy is flabby from losing a lot of weight, pregnancy, or is a result of aging, a tummy tuck could help by removing some of the abdominal fat and loose skin.

While a healthy lifestyle, such as making good food choices and exercising regularly, helps burn fat, these efforts do nothing for loose skin. A tummy tuck can eliminate excess skin that is left after weight loss or pregnancy.

A tummy tuck can’t be used for weight loss.

While excess fat deposits are often removed during an abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck should not be relied upon for significant weight loss. The amount of skin and fat removed during a tummy tuck is not going to be as much as losing 20, 30, or 40 pounds or more.

Tummy tuck candidates should be within their ideal weight before seeking surgery. Tummy tuck results can be permanent, although this surgical procedure does not prevent future weight gain. It is essential that you maintain an active, healthy lifestyle after getting a tummy tuck to maintain your best results.

A tummy tuck can repair separated abdominal muscles.

It’s also common during pregnancy or weight gain for the underlying abdominal wall to stretch and separate to accommodate fat or a pregnancy. This is called diastasis recti.  The size of this gap between the abdominal muscles varies between individuals.  Unfortunately it cannot be reversed through diet and exercise.

During a tummy tuck, these muscles can be tightened and sutured back into position for long-term benefits.  Most surgeons use sutures which are absorbable and do not need to be removed.

But, not all tummy tucks include a muscle repair. Sometimes, a person’s muscles are intact and display a low level of laxity even after extreme weight loss. In such cases, there is usually no need to perform muscle repair during a tummy tuck.

A tummy tuck can’t result in a six-pack in every case.

While a tummy tuck does help tighten loose abdominal muscles, it does not guarantee that you will have a six-pack or significantly defined midsection. How toned your abdominal area appears following your procedure will be dependent on your pre-surgery physique, as well as your lifestyle choices afterward.

A tummy tuck can be combined with other surgical procedures.

Often, liposuction is combined with a tummy tuck to achieve the best results. Sometimes, patients want more than just a toned midsection. Tummy tucks can be combined with most other surgical procedures, specifically breast augmentation, breast lift, and facelifts. Many patients find that combining procedures allows them to reduce their overall recovery time by getting everything done at once.

A tummy tuck can’t remove most stretch marks.

Many people also carry stretch marks around their abdomen, hips and thighs. These are usually caused by the skin being unable to properly accommodate rapid growth and the skin tears at a deep level. They can be very difficult to remove, especially through a tummy tuck. As there is only so much skin that can be removed from the abdomen, only stretch marks that are located on the excised skin can be removed (usually below the belly button).

If you want to remove stretch marks located outside the navel area, you can speak with your plastic surgeon about your treatment options.

Who is a good tummy tuck candidate?

Some older patients may be better candidates than their younger counterparts because they’re in better health. Being a non-smoker and exercising regularly are essential criteria for anyone considering a tummy tuck.

  • You don’t plan to have more children
  • You are middle-aged or older and want to git rid of excess abdominal skin

You don’t have to be middle-aged to qualify for this procedure. Some patients choose to undergo a tummy tuck in their 20s or 30s to improve the appearance of their midsection that has been negatively affected by genetic factors or significant weight loss. However, if you choose to undergo this procedure and get pregnant later in life, your results will be negatively affected.

What is the best age for a Tummy Tuck?

A woman in her 20s, 30s, or 40s who wants a tummy tuck after having children may also be considering cosmetic breast surgery or other procedures as part of a mommy makeover. In this situation.

The ideal candidate should be as close as possible to her ideal weight and not plan to have more children.

What is the right BMI for a Tummy Tuck?

Your BMI is the ration between your body height and amount of weight.  Body Mass Index (BMI) can tell you about your overall fitness based on your height. You can easily calculate your BMI online, as there are many online apps.

BMI is calculated by dividing your current weight with your height squared. So if you’re 210 lbs and you’re 5 ft and 8”, your BMI would be 31.9

According to science, the recommended and healthy BMI for an adult should range between 20-25. So if your BMI is under, you’re considered to be underweight and if it’s above, you’re considered to be overweight.

But why is this so important? In order to get the best results from a tummy tuck surgery procedure, you need to be your ideal weight and BMI. A BMI that is less than 30 is considered to be ideal for a tummy tuck procedure. Of course, you can still have the surgery even if you’re overweight and still get good results.