When we think of tummy tucks, we often think of two types of possible patients: The formerly overweight patient who has lost the pounds but not the extra skin, or the mother who is looking to tighten lax skin or make her C-section scar less noticeable.
While these two types of women do make good candidates for the procedure, there is another type of tummy that’s looking for a tuck, but it’s not your typical tummy, and it’s not your typical tuck. Physically fit mothers that work out almost every day or are even fitness professionals are undergoing mini tummy tucks to tighten the abdomen muscles unhinged from carrying a baby.
“We get a lot of thin women, or even fitness instructors, working out rigorously five times a week, coming in for modified tummy tucks to get their abs flat again after pregnancy,” says Reston, VA, plastic surgeon Byron Poindexter, MD. After carrying a baby, often twins, there is a gap between the abdomen muscles that won’t come back together no matter how much you workout. The only thing that can bring the abs back together again and get rid of the tummy pooch caused by the separation is surgery. “You have to address the laxity of the rectus muscles caused by pregnancy. There is nothing a personal trainer can do to take out the laxity without sutures,” says Beverly Hills, CA, plastic surgeon Ritu Chopra, MD.
If you think you might be a candidate for a mini-tummy tuck, it is important to know that the term actually refers to a few different types of procedures, says Dr. Poindexter. “There is no true definition of what a mini-tummy tuck is—it could encompass a many multitude of types of procedures. A mini-tummy tuck could mean liposuction with removing skin in the lower abdomen—not addressing the muscles. It could also mean getting rid of loose skin and tightening muscles with no liposuction. If you have areas above the belly button that need to be addressed, a mini-tuck won’t cut it—you will need a full tummy tuck,” he says. This makes it imperative to consult a well-trained, board-certified surgeon about the results you specifically want. “Communication will be a big factor in determining what’s right for you,” he says.
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