Ask Dr. Elliott: Do I Need a Tummy Tuck, or Just to “Lose the Baby Weight”?

No matter how happy a new mother is with her “bundle of joy,” it’s natural to feel disappointed and self-conscious when your midsection isn’t as slender after pregnancy as it once was. However, figuring out how exactly to get back to your slimmer figure can be more difficult than you would expect. So how do you know if you simply need to improve your diet and exercise habits and get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, or whether a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) is what you actually need?

Tummy_tuckStep 1: Decide whether you want slimmer contours for your entire body, or just your abdomen.

A tummy tuck is a surgery which specifically addresses the cosmetic appearance of your abdomen. It can be an impactful and confidence-inspiring surgery for many mothers, but it’s only ideal if your tummy is your primary area of concern. It tends to produce the best results for patients who are at or very near their ideal weight with an unwanted “pooch,” but if you also want to lose fat throughout the rest of your body, reduce your overall weight, and enjoy the medical benefits of a healthier weight, it may be best to start with conventional weight loss. If you reach your goal weight and are still unhappy with the appearance of your abdomen, then it may be the right time for a tummy tuck.

Step 2: Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

If you’re happy with your weight and are solely looking for aesthetic improvements for your abdomen, the next step is to find out what type of tummy tuck (or other procedure) is the right fit for you. For those with only stubborn fat on their abdomen and a high degree of skin elasticity, liposuction alone may be able to achieve the results they want. However, for most mothers, their concerns are a combination of excess fat, lax skin, and separated abdominal muscles which for a “pooch” and cause a less flattering appearance. A traditional tummy tuck with liposuction can address each of these issues individually, but some patients may also be candidates for a mini tummy tuck, which is a less invasive procedure which doesn’t address the full abdominal muscles, can be performed with a smaller incision.

At the end of the day, your appearance should make you feel confident and empowered, and together we can determine the best way to make this happen. Regardless of where you are in your decision-making process, working with a board-certified plastic surgeon like me can give you crucial information about your options. Contact my offices in Alpharetta or Atlanta to schedule a consultation. Or, for more helpful tips about plastic surgery, join me, Dr. Franklyn Elliott, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.