Many people report they are least satisfied with the appearance of their abdominal region. Significant weight loss and childbirth are among the factors that may cause severe abdominal sagging. At Metairie Plastic Surgeons in Metairie, LA, we are proud to offer an FDA-approved solution, a tummy tuck. Today, we are discussing who is a good candidate for this procedure, what the benefits of this procedure are, and more.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a safe, incredibly effective body contouring procedure designed to tighten weakened abdominal muscles, eliminate excess skin and a bit of excess fat, and tighten loose skin. Men and women alike seek this procedure for a number of medical and aesthetic reasons.
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
To be considered a good candidate for this procedure, you must be an adult who is in fairly good health. It is also important to have realistic expectations regarding the results of this procedure. For example, you should understand it is a body contouring procedure rather than a weight loss procedure. If you are over 20 pounds from your goal weight, you should focus on weight loss through diet and exercise.
Here are some of the signs you may qualify for abdominoplasty:
You’re Done Having Children
You may be considered an ideal candidate for this procedure if you do not plan to become pregnant in the future. Pregnancy is among the most common causes of abdominal muscle weakness, excess abdominal fat and skin, and loose, sagging skin. If you plan to have children in the future, it is possible to qualify for this procedure. That said, you should understand you may need a maintenance procedure to restore your youthful contours.
You’re Confident You Can Maintain Your Level of Fat Reserves
Another sign you may qualify for this procedure is you feel confident you can maintain your level of fat reserves. We’ll discuss this further shortly, but the bottom line is you should not gain more than 15 pounds following this procedure. If you gain and subsequently lose too much weight, sagging or excess skin may occur.
You Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
If you exercise regularly and eat at a caloric deficit but your excess belly fat simply won’t budge, your abdominal contours may be caused by your genes. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, tells your body to store excess energy in the abdominal region, increases your hunger hormone, and decreases your satiety hormone. That said, genetics and sex far more commonly determine whether you will store abdominal fat and struggle to get it off.
What’s great about this procedure is it doesn’t matter why you’re storing stubborn abdominal fat. If you lost a significant amount of abdominal fat and you now have excess skin, this procedure can eliminate your excess skin. If you have loose skin from a moderate amount of fat loss, this procedure can tighten your skin, improving your contours significantly. If you have a bit of excess fat, this procedure can excise it. If you have a great deal of excess fat, abdominoplasty pairs perfectly with liposuction.
Your Muscles Were Damaged During Pregnancy
While this procedure is a great body contouring procedure for both men and women, it is most commonly sought by women who have given birth. Sometimes, the abdominal walls tear during pregnancy or childbirth. This leads to distended lower abdominal muscles. Unfortunately, once damaged, these muscles can’t heal themselves. The only way to repair damaged muscles and improve the appearance of your abdominal region is to get a tummy tuck.
Besides repairing torn abdominal walls, this procedure can reverse other effects of pregnancy and childbirth, including SUI (stress urinary incontinence). This procedure works in two ways to treat stress urinary incontinence. First, the pelvic floor muscles are tightened and repaired as necessary. Second, some excess fat is removed from the upper abdominal region, relieving some of the constant stress placed on the bladder and urethra.
Who Doesn’t Qualify for This Procedure?
To reiterate, abdominoplasty is not a weight loss procedure. This procedure is not a good fit for you if your goal is to lose a substantial amount of weight. That said, in addition to having goals that align with the benefits associated with abdominoplasty, there are numerous conditions that preclude an individual from qualifying, including:
- Chronic heart conditions
- Uncontrolled Type 1 or 2 diabetes
- Extreme fluctuations in weight
- Tobacco consumption
- Extreme scarring from a prior procedure
- Pregnancy, breastfeeding, or planned pregnancy
- Kidney or liver conditions
With that being said, if you have been diagnosed with any of the aforementioned conditions, you should still come in for a consultation. Everyone is unique, so you may suffer from one of those aforementioned conditions and still qualify for this procedure.
What Are the Benefits Associated With This Procedure?
Back Pain Relief
There are many potential causes of back pain. One of those causes is abdominal muscle weakness. The weaker your abdominal muscles are, the harder your lower back muscles have to work to keep you upright and provide you with core support. One of the steps taken during a tummy tuck, referred to in the medical community as abdominoplasty, is tightening the abdominal muscles. This strengthens the abdominal muscles, taking a lot of the core support load off of your back.
Be advised, it isn’t just important to avoid significant strength imbalances between your back and abdomen. When you perform resistance training, make sure you’re working both your pulling and pushing muscles in a given area. For instance, if you’re working your pecs (pushing muscles), make sure to also work your lats (pulling muscles). The same guideline applies to your legs. Make sure you’re working your quads and hamstrings to prevent a future injury caused by an extreme muscular imbalance.
Another benefit of a tummy tuck is your posture will improve. This is an incredibly significant benefit if you work long hours in a non-ergonomic office environment. Although, as noted above, your lower back muscles are important for core support, your abdominal muscles should perform a large portion of that job.
Once your abdominal muscles are stronger and your abdominal wall is tighter, maintaining proper posture will be much easier. Shortly after your procedure, you should expect to find it feeling natural. This can reverse such chronic problems as shoulder pain, upper back pain, and neck pain. Additionally, if you stand and sit up straight, you may feel and look taller and more confident.
Improved self-confidence is another benefit of receiving abdominoplasty. Two of the most common reasons people seek this procedure are to eliminate excess skin following massive weight loss and tightening loose skin. Loose skin can make people very self-conscious, and excess skin can decrease self-confidence even more than loose skin. Over the course of several months, loose skin may tighten on its own. That said, there is nothing you can do about excess skin besides having it removed.
You will be amazed by how much your self-confidence will improve once your skin is as tight and smooth as it was when you were younger. Additionally, your self-confidence will improve because this procedure is designed to tighten loose abdominal muscles. If you don’t store much excess abdominal fat, or you combine this procedure with liposuction, your abdominal muscles will be clearly visible. In other words, you can go to the beach or lounge by the pool confidently with a clear six-pack.
You will also be amazed by how much happier you are after abdominoplasty. Loose skin is frustrating, but excess skin can significantly affect several facets of your life. For instance, excess abdominal skin can prevent you from running, spinning, and enjoying other activities you loved in the past. After excess skin is removed, you will be able to move better, and you may even try out and fall in love with a new hobby.
It is also a lot easier to lose weight following abdominoplasty. As noted above, some physical activities are much more challenging or impossible depending on how much excess abdominal skin you have. Additionally, physical activity can be painful for people with excess skin. Notably, people often lose weight following this procedure because they are so motivated by their new, improved contours that they want to continue making healthy choices. For people not yet at their goal weight, this results in burning excess fat.
Finally, we’d like to mention that weight loss occurs as a direct result of abdominoplasty. Although it is not a weight-loss procedure, up to 10 pounds of excess skin and fat can be removed during a single convenient operation. Be advised, most of this weight loss comes from the removal of excess skin. Only a bit of excess abdominal fat is excised during this procedure. Consider liposuction to complement abdominoplasty if you have a lot of excess abdominal fat.
Abdominoplasty can provide permanent results. That said, extreme weight fluctuations and future pregnancy can change your contours. If you don’t lose over 15 pounds of fat after your procedure, and you work your abs weekly, you should expect your contours to remain desirable for the rest of your life.
Also, be advised that you can lose over 15 pounds post-op and not experience excess skin. Whether you end up with excess skin depends on several factors, including where fat is burned from and how much fat is burned from different areas.
What Should I Expect During This Procedure?
Before your procedure begins, we will sanitize your abdominal region with an alcohol-based cleanser. Then, we will administer anesthesia to ensure your comfort throughout the entire procedure. Once all of the preparation steps have been completed, an incision will be made from one hipbone to the other.
This incision allows us to tighten loose abdominal muscles, repair any damage done to weakened muscle tissues, excise loose skin and a small amount of fat, and tighten loose skin. Additionally, your navel may be moved during this procedure depending on your personal preference. Whether repositioning your navel will enhance your appearance will be discussed during your initial consultation and determined by the amount of excess skin you have.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
If you’re in fairly good health and concerned about the appearance or functionality of your abdominal region, there is an excellent chance you will qualify for abdominoplasty. Reach out to us today at Metairie Plastic Surgeons in Metairie, LA now to schedule your initial consultation if you are in the New Orleans area and ready to change your appearance and health for good.