Flattening Your Stomach Muscles

Before and After Tummy Tuck Surgery

Pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s body and often results in unwanted changes. After giving birth, many women seek plastic surgery procedures to return to their pre-pregnancy state. During pregnancy, mommies suffer from weight gain, changes in shape and size of the breasts, diastasis of the rectus muscles, and stretch marks on the abdominal area. However, prior to proceeding with any surgery, a board certified plastic surgeon will recommend waiting until you are finished having children. This is an important decision to consider prior to surgery because, unfortunately, plastic surgery does not guarantee permanent results. Factors such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, as well as, weight loss, weight gain, and aging or gravity can all affect the results of plastic surgery.

Many women are motivated to shed post pregnancy pounds as soon as possible through exercise and diet. However, the reality is that no matter how intense and dedicated you are to exercise and a healthy diet, it is frustrating not to see optimal results. Prior to your consultation, it would be in your best interest to reach your ideal weight to allow the surgeon to determine the best and safest possible procedures for your specific case. During the process of weight loss, the body goes through significant changes, which may affect the planned procedure. Weight Loss post surgery may require you to undergo additional surgery to address any major changes of the body. Often times, a previously unknown defect known as a hernia can become visible after a major transformation to the abdomen.

A hernia is a protrusion of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening in the body. Most hernias occur when a portion of the intestine slips through a weak spot in the abdominal wall, creating an obvious bulge in the abdomen. Hernias can appear around the naval, in the groin, or any place where you may have had a surgical incision. Umbilical hernias are not only painful, but also it can create permanent damage if not treated. Organs or tissue can get forced through the opening, which will not only increase the intensity of pain, but will require urgent, emergency surgery.

Many patients suffering from hernias, who also want to undertake tummy tuck surgery, wonder whether both operations can occur at the same time. The surgeon will determine this option during your examination and is dependent on the severity of the hernia. A large hernia and/or thinned out tissues, may complicate tummy tuck surgery, so it is important to have the hernia repaired first. If you have a small hernia that is easily fixable and good tissues, a concomitant tummy tuck is certainly a possibility if you're willing to accept the risks of surgery.

Having a tummy tuck is usually a perfect time to repair that small hernia. In most cases, tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) plastic surgery and hernia repair can be handled at the same time, frequently by the same plastic surgeon, as long as they are experienced with hernia surgery. Otherwise, a general surgeon would perform the hernia repair.

The extent of the type of procedure would be based on the severity and complexity of each case. A tummy tuck involves major repair of the abdominal rectus muscles, which have been stretched from pregnancy. The muscles are tightened with permanent sutures to provide a small waistline. To improve body contours, liposuction is used to remove excess adipose tissue. The loose and stretched skin in the lower abdominal region is removed as much as possible. By removal of the majority of striae below the belly button area, the quality of the skin on the abdomen is greatly improved and the previous belly button is re-positioned. In order to gain the results you would like to achieve, it is crucial that you explain to your surgeon your specific goals. At your examination, the doctor can determine which procedures are necessary to obtain your goals.

 With the help of a tummy tuck, women can regain their feminine curves and a body they are proud to show off.

Tom Pousti MD

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