A tummy tuck, also called abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic body contouring procedure, not a weight loss procedure. Tummy tucks are most often performed after a patient has lost significant weight, rather than as a means for losing weight. Bariatric surgery is an example of weight loss surgery because it is performed to help a patient lose significant weight for health reasons, not to contour the body.
Significant weight loss and weight loss after pregnancy leave the abdominal area full of loose skin and excess fat cells. The loose skin and fat gravitates toward the midsection, making this the area of the body the most difficult to tone and define. A tummy tuck is a type of plastic surgery that removes excess skin and fat, tightening the abdominal wall.
Simply put, a tummy tuck is intended to remove inches, not pounds, from the patient’s body. Sometimes the results of abdominoplasty are dramatic, making it look and feel like the patient has lost weight. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a majority of abdominoplasty patients lose fewer than ten pounds.
Abdominoplasty after Pregnancy
Pregnancy can cause a woman to gain anywhere from 25 to 50 or more pounds over a short period of time, only to lose some or all of the weight in sometimes an even shorter time span, leaving a lot of excess skin behind. A tummy tuck can remove the extra skin and any stubborn fat deposits, tighten the abdominal wall muscles separated during pregnancy, remove stretch marks and c-section scars, and help a woman return her body to its pre-pregnancy state.
Complete abdominoplasty. A full tummy tuck targets the lower and upper abdomen in a procedure that can take up to five hours.
- In extended abdominoplasty, the surgery includes a lateral thigh lift, which tones and contours the waist and upper thighs.
- In circumferential abdominoplasty, the tummy tuck procedure includes a buttock lift, which helps re-proportion the entire midsection after significant and/or rapid weight loss.
- High lateral tension is a newer method of abdominoplasty in which the abdomen wall is tightened both vertically and horizontally, whereas it would be tightened only along the vertical plane in a traditional tummy tuck procedure. The results of this refined procedure are more dramatic.
Partial abdominoplasty usually targets only the lower abdomen, is often combined with liposuction, and takes less surgery and recovery time than a complete tummy tuck procedure.
Use of liposuction: Liposuction, a related body contouring procedure, is often used during a tummy tuck to remove excess fat cells from the abdomen while the abdominal wall is already exposed. Liposuction dramatically improves the final results of the abdominoplasty procedure by removing the greatest amount of tissue possible before tightening the muscles and skin.