There’s nothing quite like a flat abdomen. We all want one! While some seem to be graced with god-like genetics, the rest of us have to watch what we eat and consistently exercise to stay in good shape. Even though it’s tough, it is possible! That is except for many woman after pregnancy.
Pregnancy changes the body like no other natural change. With such a dramatic transformation, there’s almost no way the body will ever be what it once was. To that point, an abdominoplasty procedure, or tummy tuck, works to correct not only the loose skin and fat, but the stretched muscles of the abdomen.
“There’s a progression in the way we manage a woman’s abdomen,” says Dr. Mark Pinsky, a board certified plastic surgeon in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida who routinely restores post-pregnancy abdomens. “Some women come in with excess skin, some with excess fat, and some with loose muscles.” Based on the existence and severity of these 3 issues, a treatment plan is tailored to best reverse the changes.
Every body is unique and will react to pregnancy in different ways. Because of this fact, the tummy tuck procedure is highly customizable, tailored to the needs of each patient.
One issue that is fairly universal is stretched skin. “Typically there is some excess skin on the lower abdomen,” describes Pinsky. “When we remove skin, there is a 3:1 ratio with the scar. If we remove 1 inch of skin vertically, the scar will be 3 inches long along the waist-line. The key is to place the scar low and stitch it in a way that it will end up pencil-thin.”
The real enemy to your 6 pack? Stretched muscles
It seems obvious why a mother would have loose skin: that big yo-yo of abdomenal stretch to make room for a growing child saps some of the skin’s elasticity, causing it to be loose. Not only is the skin stretched, but the muscle below is also stretched and doesn’t always spring back.
“Lots of times after a woman has a baby, the abdominal muscles are stretched apart,” says Pinsky. “No matter how much you tighten the muscle through exercise, you can’t get the muscles to come back together. Some women have looseness from top to bottom. The muscles are separated along the whole abdomen. In that situation, we stitch the muscles from the top all the way down to the bottom. This brings the muscles together; you can think of it like an internal corset.”
Mini Tummy Tuck for Mini Problems
Some women have a small pooch at the bottom of their abdomen. While the top half of their abdomen may look just fine and respond well to diet and exercise, the bottom part won’t respond. “Some woman just have a bit of a bulge at the bottom. In that situation, we would consider a mini tummy tuck,”describes Pinksy. “The idea of a mini tummy tuck is to flatten the lower part of the abdomen so that it equals the upper part of the abdomen.”
The Final Result…
A tummy tuck procedure can be the final step at achieving physical and mental revitalization after pregnancy.
“As the muscle gets pulled in, we actually redefine the waist-line to recreate a beautiful contour. In the end, we get a super flat tummy where the skin is tight and the muscles are flat,” says Pinsky. Imagine that…. a house full of children and your body looking as great as it’s ever been! Renewed confidence and self-esteem; these are the reasons patients seek out a tummy tuck.