Abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck, is a procedure to flatten and tighten the abdominal skin and muscle. There are many reasons a patient may be unhappy with the way their abdomen looks. It may be excess abdominal skin only, excess fat only, a combination of both excess skin and fat, and /or stretching of the abdominal muscles.
Pregnancy can affect the abdomen by stretching the muscles apart. Exercise will help to strengthen muscles and over time the space between the muscles may retract bringing the muscles closer together as they were before pregnancy. Because of this, we recommend waiting at least a year after pregnancy to work on abdominal exercises as well as allowing yourself time to return to ideal weight before considering Abdominoplasty. Although it is safe to become pregnant after an abdominoplasty, we recommend waiting for surgery until after you are done having children.
During a traditional abdominoplasty, excess skin and fat is removed and the muscles are tightened as needed. There is not one tummy tuck for all patients. Abdominoplasty must be tailored for each individual. A patient with a large amount of excess skin will likely need a full abdominoplasty, which involves an incision on the lower abdomen from hip to hip. A patient with excess skin only in the lower abdomen may need a mini abdominoplasty, which is a simpler procedure performed through a smaller incision above the pubic area. A patient who has good skin tone, no sagging skin, but has excess fat, would be a good candidate for liposuction. A patient with no excess skin and fat, but bulging of the abdomen from spreading apart of underlying muscles may need a tightening of the muscles (muscle plication) without skin removal.