Tummy Tucks Are Not for Overweight People
Some people have got the wrong idea about tummy tucks – they think that it is a procedure that is for overweight people to help them to lose weight. This is not the case. If you are overweight, then you should avoid surgery because your risk of complications is higher. In fact, if you have a tummy tuck when you are overweight, then you will not get as good a result as if you were at your ideal weight, because if you lose weight after your tummy tuck, then you may have some laxity in your abdomen and it will not be as tight as it could have been.
The Ideal Candidate for a Tummy Tuck
The ideal patient for a tummy tuck is one who is slim, ideally with a BMI below 30, with good quality skin. Patients with good quality skin are young, non-smokers, who have not had significant sun damage from excessive sun exposure. This means that their skin will still have some of its elasticity and so will respond well when tightened and not look slack.
Will my Stretch Marks be Removed?
The skin from the belly button to just above the pubic hair will be removed and so ideally any stretch marks will be limited to this area. If there are stretch marks above the belly button, or on the sides of the abdomen, then these may not be removed following a tummy tuck.
The Problem is Skin, Not Fat
The reason that people need a tummy tuck is the excess skin, not fat. There are two main reasons why people have excess skin – pregnancy and weight loss. The mechanism is that the skin is initially stretched, either by the baby or by putting on weight, and then the stretching force is removed, either by giving birth or losing weight. There is a natural ability for the skin to recoil to a certain extent, but if it is stretched too much, either by a large or multiple babies, or losing a lot of weight, then it will not be able to go back to its original state and you may be left with a redundant apron of skin on your lower abdomen.
No Amount of Exercise can Remove the Excess Skin
It is the excess skin that is the root of the problem. Exercise and keeping fit, can reduce the amount of fat that you have, but it will not improve the elasticity of your skin. If there is fullness on your flanks or your thighs, then exercise and weight loss may well help these areas. But it will not help if you have excess skin on your abdomen – in fact weight loss can actually make it look worse!
Surgery is the Only Way
Surgery is the only way to remove the excess skin and tighten the abdomen. A tummy tuck will restore your abdomen to a flat contour and remove the excess unwanted skin. It will not protect you from what may happen in the future, so if you were to have more children (it is perfectly safe to have more children after a tummy tuck) or to put on and lose weight again, following your tummy tuck, then you may get problems with excess skin again.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Prevention is always better than cure, so you should take good care of your skin by avoiding smoking and excess sun exposure, drinking plenty of water and avoiding weight fluctuations to maximise your chances of keeping a tight and taught abdomen.