For men and women alike, a toned and flat stomach is considered to be the epitome of a fit, healthy and attractive figure. But whether due to genetics, childbearing, weight fluctuations or lifestyle habits, achieving that slim and smooth belly can feel impossible with so many factors actively working against you.
Tummy tuck surgery, otherwise known medically as an abdominoplasty, is a frequently requested surgical cosmetic procedure that helps patients attain the otherwise unattainable by tightening the abdominal muscles and eliminating excess fat and skin from the midsection for a more toned and sculpted stomach that lasts for years to come.
If you are bothered by the appearance of stretched skin, stubborn fatty deposits or weakened muscles in the abdominal region, tummy tuck surgery may be the perfect solution for getting the body you want. We've debunked some of the more common myths about tummy tucks to help you determine whether tummy tuck surgery is right for you.
Myth: Tummy tucks are a weight loss procedure
One of the more common misconceptions patients have regarding tummy tucks is that it is a surgery intended for those who would like to lose a substantial amount of weight from their midsection. However, a tummy tuck is not considered to be a weight loss or bariatric procedure.
In fact, the ideal candidate for tummy tuck surgery is someone who is at or close to a normal weight for their physique and who is otherwise active and healthy but is troubled by the appearance of a protruding abdomen or sagging, loose skin on their stomach.
That's not to say that a tummy tuck won't address excess fat within your abdominal region. Often times, liposuction techniques will be utilized during your tummy tuck surgery to gently minimize stubborn zones of fat that have proven resistant to diet and exercise to improve the contours and tone of your midsection.
While your stomach will be flatter and slimmer after your abdominoplasty, it will not drastically lower the number you see on your scale. For this reason, if you are considering a tummy tuck you should be within a reasonable range of your goal weight before undergoing the procedure but will also need to have maintained a stable weight for at least six months. Any future significant weight fluctuations can start to reverse the results of your surgery.
Myth: You can get tummy tuck results with diet and exercise
When it comes to getting the slimmer and sleeker stomach you desire, diet and exercise are well-known as the most effective tools in your toolbox for losing weight, building muscle and improving your overall health and wellness.
However, while each of us should incorporate eating right and exercising into their daily lives, traditional weight loss methods still have their limitations in terms of the results they can provide. No matter how much time or energy you put into these efforts, you cannot control where you will lose weight from and may still struggle with a stubborn belly even if you've hit your target weight.
Additionally, there are some aesthetic concerns that working out and eating right simply cannot address alone. Excess or stretched abdominal skin, for example, can usually not be reversed or tightened without surgical intervention, especially when it is a result of pregnancy or massive weight loss.
Childbearing or significant weight fluctuations can also weaken the abdominal muscles and stretch the inner girdle of connective tissues known as the abdominal fascia, which only further exacerbates the appearance of a protruding belly. If your skin, abdominal wall or fascia have become stretched, tummy tuck surgery is the only way to restore a taut and youthful midsection.
Myth: Tummy tucks are only for women
Tummy tuck surgery was the fourth most popular cosmetic surgery among women in 2018 with 152,446 women undergoing the procedure. Abdominoplasty has been an incredibly popular cosmetic option for women for years, in part due to the many irreversible changes to the midsection that accompany pregnancy and childbirth, such as stretched skin and abdominal muscles.
A tummy tuck is frequently included in "mommy makeover" procedures, which refer to a full suite of cosmetic surgeries performed concurrently to help women restore their pre-baby body and men to regain a leaner physique.
While women did make up for 96.8 percent of the total tummy tucks performed in 2018, men can also benefit from this procedure. Tummy tuck surgery was the fifth most popular cosmetic surgery for men in 2018. While men may not have to worry about the physical changes that women's bodies endure from pregnancy, they are not necessarily immune from developing a "dad bod."
Heredity or significant weight loss can leave men with stubborn belly fat or loose skin that leaves them feeling self-conscious of their midsection. Whether you are male or female, tummy tuck surgery will tighten and tone the contours of your abdomen to allow clothes to fit better and restore a fit and youthful stomach you are thrilled to flaunt.
Myth: You're too old to get a tummy tuck
When it comes to cosmetic surgery, age truly is just a number. While a majority of patients who underwent tummy tuck surgery in 2018 were between the ages of 35 and 50 (56.3 percent), 21 percent were between the ages of 51 and 64 and four percent were over the age of 65.
There is no wrong age to opt for a tummy tuck procedure, however, there are more critical factors that will be considered by your board-certified plastic surgeon when determining your candidacy for the procedure.
To be a good candidate for abdominoplasty, patients must be:
Physically healthy: You must be in good overall health before undergoing invasive surgery to prevent complications.
A nonsmoker: Smoking can inhibit the healing process or cause serious complications both during and after your tummy tuck surgery. If you do smoke, you will be asked to quit for two months before and after your procedure.
Within a stable, healthy weight: Tummy tuck surgery is not intended for significant weight loss or for treating obesity.
Realistic with their expectations: While a tummy tuck will dramatically enhance the contours of your midsection with long-lasting results, no cosmetic surgery will stop the aging process or deliver perfection, or fully camouflage a larger core abdominal shape.
Next steps on your tummy tuck journey
When you are ready to schedule your tummy tuck consultation, be sure to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon on the ASPS Plastic Surgeon Match service.
Board-certified plastic surgeons undergo a rigorous training process and are vetted by their peers through both a written and oral board examination process. Each and every ASPS member surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery, making them the most qualified plastic surgeons to perform your procedure.
- Anthony Terrasse, MD | Lake Forest, IL
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or Her Body Bank.