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Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a procedure to remove excess abdominal skin and fat, tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall, and stretch the skin of the abdomen. The goal is to achieve a flat stomach look, with tighter-appearing muscles and skin, resulting in the tucked-looking abdomen.
The tummy-tuck or abdominoplasty may include approximation of the rectus abdominalis muscle in the midline, which has been stretched by either pregnancy or pregnancies, weight gain, or both. Either pregnancy or obesity may cause the abdominal muscles of the anterior abdominal wall to lose its tonus, and to stretch laterally and vertically, weakening the midline area of the abdomen. This is noticeable after eating a large meal, or by having intestinal gases, which may protrude forward given the abdomen the aspect of the so-called beer-belly, or bloated stomach.
Liposuction may or may not precede the tummy tuck. Liposuction may be performed after the tummy-tuck in order to touch-up an area with excess fat produced by the newly created abdominal wall. Liposuction will also remove the fat in the lateral abdomen, in the flanks or love-handles, and help produce a tighter look in the waist, yielding an hourglass waist shape.
By combining liposuction, liposculpture, and abdominoplasty, a better cosmetic outcome is expected.
Some patients are not a candidate for the above procedures, which is addressed in the preoperative consultations.
Lastly, realistic expectations and limitations of the procedures are always discussed with our patients in detail, including the postoperative care, follow-up visits, the use of a compressive garment, and other individual measures.
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