The tummy tuck procedure here in my Las Vegas surgery center is for both women and men with loose abdominal skin and fat deposits that do not go away with diet and exercise. However, there are some major differences between tummy tucks done for women who want to get back their pre-baby body after pregnancy vs. those seeking a tummy tuck after weight loss.
There are two types of tummy tucks:
The comprehensive technique is appropriate for most tummy tuck patients because it restores the abdomen above and below the belly button. The incision typically runs from hipbone to hipbone, just above the pubic area. I take special care to ensure the incision is made as low as possible. I also make an incision to free the belly button (umbilicus) from surrounding skin and tissue. In many cases, I repair abdominal muscles that were stretched and separated during pregnancy.
The mini tummy tuck is similar to the complete abdominoplasty procedure, but the incision is significantly smaller, and the belly button is left in its original place. The amount of skin dissection and muscle tightening is also limited.
Post-Pregnancy Tummy Tuck Considerations
Many patients love everything about being a mom but are unhappy about some of the physical changes that happen as a result of pregnancy.
The separation of the abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) is extremely common, affecting two-thirds of pregnant women, and can create a “pooch” that won’t go away with diet and exercise. Moms may also experience pesky excess skin, created as the baby grew, that remains after the uterus returns to its normal size.
Both excess skin and diastasis recti can be addressed through a tummy tuck. Although it’s safe to get pregnant after a tummy tuck, I advise that patients wait until they’re done having children, as pregnancy will re-stretch the skin and abdominal muscles. I suggest waiting at least six months after pregnancy to undergo the tummy tuck procedure. There are a few different reasons for this waiting period:
- The stomach needs time to heal internally
- Pregnancy hormones take months to stabilize
- New mothers need to be able to bend over often to pick up their children
- As you’ll need to undergo anesthesia, you’ll need to be done breastfeeding so anesthesia isn’t transmitted via breast milk
You can learn more about “mommy makeovers” here.
The Post-Weight-Loss Tummy Tuck Considerations
Those who have lost weight and have either stubborn fat pockets or loose skin are also candidates for tummy tucks.
Patients who have lost a significant amount of weight may need a panniculectomy, a modified version of the tummy tuck that addresses overhanging lower belly skin. This procedure is generally performed to alleviate pain, prevent infections, and improve personal hygiene. Because of this, it may be considered “medically necessary” and may be covered by medical insurance.
I may also suggest liposuction in addition to the tummy tuck to give you the best abdomen contour. Stretch marks can be removed during the tummy tuck, depending on where they’re located.
Keep in mind that tummy tucks are not a weight loss procedure–you should be close to or at your goal weight beforehand.
Click here to see before and after photos of the tummy tuck procedure.