Flat, tight, toned, flab-free—whatever your mission is when it comes to your midsection, knowing what can make a difference in getting there, as opposed to what won’t provide a good end result, is key. Surgical intervention is still the surefire way to slim and trim your middle, but with any type of procedure there are a few “gray” areas to discuss with your plastic surgeon.
Myth 1: A tummy tuck can make you constipated.
False: When done properly, a tummy tuck should have no bearing on your digestive tract since no incisions are made near the digestive system.
It’s rarely discussed, but some women have complained about changes to their digestive system post-tummy tuck. As Encino, CA, plastic surgeon George Sanders, MD, explains, only skin, fat and muscle should be addressed during a tummy tuck, nothing else. “Even if the muscles are tightened there should be no cuts or disruptions made to the digestive tract,” he says. “The only time that problems can arise is if a large hernia is in the nearby space. If there is one, it should be addressed.” There is always the potential for some swelling in the stomach that could temporarily affect the bowels but in most cases, once the area is fully healed and you are no longer in a compression garment, no problems should persist. In fact, Birmingham, AL, plastic surgeon James Grotting, MD, says that more often than not patients talk of improved bowel and bladder function. “And, in some, a tummy tuck can even help alleviate back pain.”
Myth 2: During a tummy tuck the belly button is removed and a brand new one is made.
False: Regardless of if you undergo a traditional tummy tuck or a variation of it, the belly button remains intact but the surrounding skin may be excised.
The belly button is never removed during a tummy tuck but rather the skin around it, which oftentimes is loose, may be excised. “The belly button is a remnant from being in utero and the stalk of the tissue is deep down in the stomach and cannot be removed,” says Las Vegas plastic surgeon Terrence Higgins, MD. “The stalk is always retained and the surrounding skin is eliminated, not the belly button itself.” Because any extra skin is detached from below the belly button, the belly button itself can be reshaped to some degree—repositioning the skin alone can result in a different shape and location of the belly button. “We simply leave the belly button where it is and bring it back out through the skin that has been tightened over it,” explains Dr. Grotting. Your plastic surgeon should create a scar tucked inside the belly button so when you are fully healed, the scar is barely detectable.
Myth 3: You can’t undergo a tummy tuck right after a C-section.
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