The tummy can be a cause for concern for many men and women – it’s an area that’s often resistant to diet and exercise, yet we’re surrounded by images on social media of sculpted abs or perfectly toned tummies. It’s no surprise then, that the tummy tuck procedure was one of the few to see growth, among a general slight downturn, in the most recent figures released from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.
Whatever the reason for wanting an abdominoplasty, patients are often surprised to find out that it’s not a one-size-fits-all procedure: there are a number of options and techniques available to the trained plastic surgeon, and what works best for one person may not work as well – or be even necessary – for you. And you may be surprised to learn that you might not even need a tummy tuck at all.
Generally, when it comes to an abdominoplasty, there are two options: the full tummy tuck, or the mini tummy tuck. The former is usually recommended to women who have undergone substantial weight loss or have undergone pregnancy which has stretched and weakened their abdominal muscles. The latter usually does the job for women who have maintained a healthy weight, but have a ‘pouch’ that won’t shift however well you exercise or diet.
During your tummy tuck consultation, Mr Anthony Macquillan will perform a physical examination which will examine the abdominal area before advising you on the appropriate procedure for you. There are three main factors to take into account:
1. The quality of your skin
Simply put, what condition is your skin in? This can depend on age, exposure to sun, pregnancy, your general health and your weight history. The key word is laxity: in other words, how elasticated your skin is. As time goes on, we naturally lose a considerable portion of that laxity – and extreme weight gain and pregnancy can also wear away skin laxity.
Beware many of the non-surgical treatments that promise to tighten skin. They typically do this by heating the tissues and causing a collagen stimulation, but there is a very limited amount of skin tightening that can be achieved through this method and they can often prove very costly. Surgical excision is still the most effective way of dealing with excess skin.
2. Muscle tightness
After pregnancy and substantial weight loss, previously taut and perfectly-positioned abdominal muscles can loosen and weaken – and sometimes they can even separate from each other. And no matter how many crunches you do, it’s impossible to move them back together without a little surgical help. During a full tummy tuck, the whole of the abdominal muscle wall is accessed, whereas a mini tummy tuck can only target the area below the belly button.
3. Remaining excess and protruding fat
The sad fact is that no matter how strict your diet or how intense your workout regime is, there can be certain stubborn pockets of fat on your body which just won’t shift. If your skin laxity is good and your abs are where they should be, there can be no need for a tummy tuck: a liposuction procedure (where a small incision is made and the protruding fat is sucked out) may be all that is required to deliver the desired results.
And don’t forget: if your sagging problems go further than around your belly, it could be worth considering a full body lift, or a tummy tuck combined with a breast reduction or arm or thigh lift. To find out which abdominal procedure you’re best suited for, call us on 0117 325 5034 to arrange a tummy tuck consultation with Mr Anthony Macquillan.