Everybody wants a taut, flat stomach but this look is increasingly difficult to achieve as we get older. Weight fluctuations, including from pregnancy, can make a flat abdomen impossible to achieve without surgical intervention, which is why Spectrum Plastic Surgery offers the tummy tuck. It is very popular to pair with liposuction or a set of surgeries often dubbed a “mommy makeover.” Let’s take a look at why getting a flat stomach isn’t easy and when you should consider opting for a tummy tuck.

There are a few issues to think about when wondering why no amount of diet or exercise is giving you the abdomen you want. Stubborn fat is one reason why an abdomen won’t become flat. Even people who are at their goal weight or very slender might have pockets of fat in the abdominal area. This might be due to weight changes, pregnancy, or genetics. We are all born with unique amounts and distribution of fat cells, and many people simply don’t have perfectly distributed fat in the stomach to allow for a flat look. Diet and exercise can reduce the size of fat cells, but you can’t spot reduce. Liposuction can permanently remove unwanted fat, but does not address skin laxity or underlying conditions such as weakened abdominal muscles—but a tummy tuck does.

Skin Laxity and Tummy Tucks

Fat is one issue, but skin is another. Our skin is the largest organ we have. When we are young, our skin produces a lot of collagen and elastin, which are the key tools in helping skin “snap back” when it’s stretched. We produce less of these proteins as we age, but pregnancy, weight fluctuation, and genetics also play a role. Women are particularly prone to sagging in the abdomen, although many men struggle with this as well. It doesn’t matter how little fat you have in the stomach or how large your abs are—if skin is lax on the abdominal area, it is not going to look flat and you might not want to show it off.

There are some non-surgical ways to tighten skin a little bit, such as Ultherapy or Thermage, but these treatments are better suited to address very minor skin laxity on the face and neck. If the skin on your abdomen appears crepe-like or sags, the only option for addressing this is a tummy tuck. Tummy tucks trim away excess skin to achieve a flat, taut look. Incisions are always kept below the belt line so that you can wear whatever you like, including swimsuits, with confidence. Tummy tuck incisions can be quite long, often hip bone to hip bone, but are hidden. You can also choose to reduce scar visibility with a variety of non-surgical treatments after the initial tummy tuck healing.

Muscle Matters with Tummy Tucks

Finally, the muscles themselves play a role in the stomach’s appearance. A lot of people think a tummy tuck involves only removing excess skin, but it’s a much more complicated procedure. The majority of people combine liposuction with a tummy tuck to optimize the outcome, but a tummy tuck also includes the strengthening of the abdominal muscles. In fact, this part of the procedure is identical to the medical surgery to correct diastasis recti.

Strengthening these muscles not only improves the aesthetic outcome but also makes your core stronger. When muscles get weak and worn out, as it often happens in very active places, that is also going to lead to an unappealing look.

Finishing Touches of Tummy Tucks

A full tummy tuck is what most patients choose to get. There is also a mini tuck, which only addresses the sagging skin below the belly button. Full tummy tucks usually require the recreation of a belly button since removing excess skin can distort it. This surgery is “built in” to a full tummy tuck and today’s techniques ensure that your “new” bellybutton looks and feels completely natural. This is the final surgical aspect of a tummy tuck.

As you can see, there is a lot more to achieving a flat stomach than a healthy diet and routine exercise, although they are both important. If you’re struggling with the way your abdomen looks, maybe a tummy tuck is the solution. Connect with Spectrum Plastic Surgery today to schedule your consultation and find out what you can expect from this popular surgery.