It’s no secret that pregnancy can alter your body shape significantly, and even when you’ve shed the unwanted pounds, it can be difficult to restore it to its original state. Your body has just done something amazing, but it can be hard to reconcile that even hard work and a healthy diet are sometimes not enough. The tummy area can be particularly challenging, since stretching those underlying muscles can make it nearly impossible to eliminate the resulting bulge and thus achieve a flat, smooth contour once again. The solution? Body contouring that can reverse the effects of weight gain and time. Procedures like a tummy tuck tighten the abdomen inside and out, producing or returning you a more active body shape.
What is a Tummy Tuck?
Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, is designed for individuals who desire tight, contoured midsections and offers some of the most dramatic body contouring enhancement, with results that will last a lifetime if you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Depending on your unique needs and body, Dr. Barrett may tighten underlying muscles while removing tissue, fat and loose skin. A tummy tuck can offer a lot of benefits for the right patient, including:
- Smoother, flatter midsection
- Tighter abdominal muscles
- Reduction in loose skin around the middle
- Elimination of some stretch marks, those above the belly button typically can’t be removed
- Repositioning of the belly button for a natural look
There’s also a mini tummy tuck, which uses a shortened incision and is less invasive overall. It offers correction with a faster, more comfortable recovery process. Whereas a full tummy tuck involves the entire abdominal area resulting in a profoundly dramatic outcome. It requires two incisions ending with a more extensive scar, plus involving the encircling of the navel.
Tummy tucks are of course not reserved solely for those postpartum. However if your figure pre-pregnancy is not where you like it to be (and you do plan on having children, it’s a good idea to wait until your family planning is complete, as you may end up needing another procedure.
Often during pregnancy or weight gain, the connective tissue that joins each side of the muscle can thin and widen. This connective tissue change and widening between the two sides of the recti muscles is called diastasis recti. Even after giving birth or losing weight, this separation can remain, and the middle can sometimes bulge upwards or sink inwards. Additionally, there may be weakness in the muscles of the abdominal wall that can make your belly protrude. In other words, no amount of sit ups, planks, or pounding the treadmill can help. The good news is most of the time, the distance will reduce over time, but if you find yourself months later, still suffering, there are steps you can take. A physical therapist can be a good first step into healing your diastasis recti, but for severe cases, surgery may be preferred.
If you’re done having children, or have reached your goal weight, and you find that you’re still struggling with a weak core after having exhausted your physical therapy options, meeting with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options should be your next step.
Surgery to fix diastasis recti involves stitching the abdominal wall muscles back together along the midline. In some cases, a surgeon may be able to do the procedure laparoscopically (using a tiny camera and instruments inserted through small incisions), but severe diastasis recti requires open abdominal surgery through a larger incision.
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