What are the long term effects of a tummy tuck?

Thomas A. Imahiyerobo, MD
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Long term effects of a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, include improvements in core strength and mechanics. A tummy tuck is effective at improving the contour of the abdomen while also tightening the abdominal wall. However, if there is significant fluctuation in weight following surgery, specifically weight gain, then the results can be affected or masked.
Tara Whitworth
Nursing
A tummy tuck procedure involves making an incision just above the pubic hair line, removing the excess skin and fat, and tightening the abdominal muscle. The result is a firm, flat stomach. Before you consider a tummy tuck procedure, you should try to reach your target weight and maintain it for several months. You should also be finished having children, as pregnancy will stretch the skin and muscle. The scar from a tummy tuck is large, but it is usually just above the pubic hair line, so even in a swimsuit it should be hidden.
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
Patient's who undergo tummy tuck or abdominoplasty procedure usually have a longstanding and enduring result. During an abdominoplasty procedure skin and fatty tissue is removed from the abdominal wall. Suctioning is often also accomplished through tumescent liposuction technique on the hip areas. Once this fat and skin is removed it is permanently removed. It shall never come back. However the residual fat cells certainly can become hypertrophied and enlarge if a patient has increased weight gain through poor diet or exercise. The tightening of the rectus sheath and rectus muscles is a permanent tightening. In general this can be however enhanced with significant abdominal wall exercising with a trainer post surgically. In general, the majority of patients who have undergone abdominoplasty procedures have been content with the result and many years later still have flat stomachs. Certainly the scarring associated with the bikini like scar extending from hip to hip as well as around the belly button region can be unpredictable and therefore the scarring associated with a tummy tuck should be weighed against the improved result of the flattening of the abdominal wall.
Erik A. Hoy, MD
Plastic Surgery
Obviously the tissue that is removed in a tummy tuck procedure does not grow back, but patients who gain weight postoperatively will compromise their result. Weight gain adds to the residual adipose (fat) tissues and can result in a recurrence of the belly fat that the tummy tuck was meant to eliminate. Men who gain intraabdominal fat can stretch out the rectus muscles and will have a suboptimal result. The same is true with pregnancy after a tummy tuck procedure. The rectus muscles, or "abs" or "six-pack" muscles, are a big part of the maintenance of a flat abdomen. If they are stretched by weight gain or pregnancy, they often remain lax or stretched to the sides of the abdomen. For this reason, women should wait until they are no longer planning to become pregnant and all patients who undergo a tummy tuck should remain committed to a healthy lifestyle and stable body weight.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.