Tummy Tuck: What Does It Really Do?

Dr. Seaberg, a tummy tuck plastic surgeon in Columbia, MO, explains issues the surgery may solve.

Going into any plastic surgery procedure with realistic expectations of your results is the key to long-term satisfaction here at my Columbia practice. Tummy tuck surgery is no different. While it’s tempting to fantasize about recreating the abdomen of your teenage years, the truth is that a transformation that drastic simply isn’t possible.

Instead, my objective through tummy tuck surgery is to tighten and tone the abdomen in a way that’s age-appropriate and complements your natural curves and contours. In short, we want to work together to reveal the best possible version of you.

A tummy tuck addresses multiple concerns in the abdomen. If any of these are making you dissatisfied with the appearance of yours, the procedure may be right for you.

Extra Skin

After pregnancy or a significant weight loss, empty, hanging skin is likely to remain. What makes this doubly frustrating is that it can’t be remedied with diet or exercise. Indeed, many of my tummy tuck patients are actually in good cardiovascular shape — but the loose, flabby, hanging skin belies their physical fitness.

During tummy tuck surgery, much of this extra skin can be removed. The remaining skin is then redraped over the abdomen, creating a smoother, more taut contour. In my photo gallery, you can see that nearly all of my past tummy tuck patients had at least a little loose skin that needed to be removed.

Mild Fat Reduction

Keep in mind that fat reduction is not the primary goal of tummy tuck surgery. The procedure can address some localized areas of fat, but more significant fat deposits and fat on the hips or “love handles” may be better served by liposuction.

If you have both significant excess skin and stubborn pockets of fat, we can perform liposuction and tummy tuck during the same surgery for a more comprehensive and transformative result.

Navel Repair

Pregnancy and significant weight fluctuations can leave the navel with an irregular appearance. Navel reconstruction is a common (and simple) addition to tummy tuck surgery.

 Abdominal Wall Repair

Pregnancy puts women at risk of a condition called diastasis recti. This occurs when the abdominal wall separates, causing an abdominal bulge that doesn’t go away after baby is born, no matter how many crunches you do.

Although diastasis recti isn’t medically harmful, per se, it can be uncomfortable both physically and mentally.

During a tummy tuck surgery, I can repair the abdominal muscles by undoing the separation, strengthening them and creating a more resilient core.

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John J. Seaberg, MD, FACS