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What Is a Tummy Tuck? Dr. Havard Explains

Body Contouring Surgery is a Popular Way to Create a Tone & Fit Look

You can have a slim abdomen again, regardless of genetics, childbearing or fluctuations in weight.

Some people are troubled by the appearance of excess abdominal fat, stretched skin or separated muscles even after reaching an optimal weight. And while diet and exercise can be effective at weight loss and improve your overall fitness, they do not always address these aesthetic concerns.

That’s where body contouring procedures can help. A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that flattens protruding skin and fat to achieve a smooth and firm abdominal profile.

“For women who want to reclaim their figure, the tummy tuck delivers the most dramatic results,” said Richard Havard, MD, FACS, board-certified plastic surgeon with Samaritan Plastic, Reconstructive & Hand Surgery.

Many women choose a tummy tuck to address changes in the midsection that accompany pregnancy and childbirth. And although a majority of tummy tucks are performed on women, men also can benefit from the procedure to restore taut and youthful abs. With more than 152,000 tummy tucks done each year in the United States, it is one of the most popular options to refine areas that don’t respond to other toning measures.

“A tummy tuck improves the appearance of the abdomen for a flat profile,” said Dr. Havard.

Our skin is elastic and able to stretch and shrink as changes in the body occur. But significant weight loss, such as after bariatric surgery, or pregnancy can affect skin’s elasticity, causing it to sag. And some people still struggle with stubborn belly fat even after reaching their target weight because you cannot control where you lose weight.

A tummy tuck is not a substitute for weight loss. In fact, people who’ve had a tummy tuck might not notice much of a difference in what they weigh. But their clothes will fit better, and they may feel more confident about their appearance.

Before undergoing a tummy tuck, you should be at or near your ideal weight and able to maintain it. That’s because any significant fluctuations in weight after surgery can reverse the results.

People also need to quit smoking before they undergo a tummy tuck. Nicotine use restricts the blood supply and can inhibit healing, which puts people at higher risk for complications. 

“Because a tummy tuck is an elective procedure, we want people to be healthy enough that risk of complication is minimal,” Dr. Havard explained. 

During a tummy tuck, the sheath of abdominal muscles is surgically repaired, and loose skin is tightened and smoothed. Excess skin and fat are excised. It is a major surgery, and recovery time is needed to heal. For the first week, patients will need to stay home. It can take three to four weeks for the incision to heal, and people will need to limit abdominal exercises for six to eight weeks after surgery.

There are other surgical and non-surgical options for body contouring, including liposuction and SculpSure. Dr. Havard recommends talking with a plastic surgeon to learn more about the different procedures.

“Your needs are unique,” said Dr. Havard. “During a consultation, we can go over your questions and make recommendations that are appropriate based on your goals.”

Take the first step to learn about body contouring options by requesting a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Call 541-768-4370 to request an appointment with Dr. Havard, or Kevin Day, MD, of Samaritan Plastic, Reconstructive & Hand Surgery.