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.
Tummy Tuck Techniques
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 tummy tuck, 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 women 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.
How Long You Should Wait
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
Because pregnancy and breastfeeding usually take a toll on the stomach and breasts, most mommy makeover procedures I perform combine a tummy tuck and breast enhancement surgery. See the improvements possible with a mommy makeover in my online patient photo gallery.
Post-Weight Loss Tummy Tuck Considerations
Those who have lost a significant amount of weight are also candidates for tummy tucks. Concerns for post-weight loss patients often include:
- Overhanging lower belly skin: You may need a panniculectomy, a modified version of the tummy tuck, to remove the “apron” of lax skin that hangs over the pubic area. 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.
- Remaining fat: I may suggest liposuction in addition to the tummy tuck to give you the best abdomen contour by removing fat from the flanks, waist, and other areas.
- Stretch marks: When reducing excess skin during the tummy tuck, I can remove stretch marks, depending on where they’re located.
Keep in mind that the tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure–you should be close to or at your goal weight beforehand.
To see the improvements possible, look through my online gallery of patients before and after tummy tuck surgery.
To learn more about body contouring after pregnancy or weight loss in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV, request a consultation using my online form.