What Are the Benefits of a Tummy Tuck?
Aesthetically, the ideal abdomen is flat, well-toned, and proportionate to the rest of the body. However, both men and women know that this midsection can often be one of the trickiest areas to tame: According to Kathleen Zelman, RD, MPH, 60% of adults carry extra weight around their midsection. If you’re a smoker, indulge in a few daily alcoholic drinks, or you’re a woman after after menopause, you’ve probably especially struggled to tame that tummy area.
For some, the solution can be as simple as making lifestyle or diet-related changes. For example, a switch from refined grains (white bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, baked goods) to whole grains (whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, barley, quinoa, millet) has been proven to make a significant difference in trimming the midsection. If you’ve never worked your abdominal muscles by doing sit-ups or core work, it’s helpful to understand that belly fat responds well to exercise. Harvard Medical School notes that 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day, when compared with weight training, helps to shed both visceral and subcutaneous belly fat for obese people. You can read more about how to lose belly fat specifically here, although there are many factors that contribute to weight gain in the midsection.
At the end of the day, there are those who just can’t lose those love handles or sagging skin around their waist. Or, maybe you’ve lost that weight, and are unable to get rid of the sagging skin from that former fatty surface area. Frequently, liposuction can be used to remove excess, stubborn fat. Tummy tucks, on the other hand, are used for any stomachs that are subject to “generalized weakness and protrusion of the abdomen with loose overlying skin that often has visible stretch marks.” Liposuction is not the right operation for patients with sagging skin, but is often used in combination with a tummy tuck to achieve the aforementioned tight and toned tummy.
As it turns out, appearance isn’t the only benefit of a tummy tuck. In fact, there are numerous physical and lifestyle perks that come along with the surgery for many patients, including some that you might not expect. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to undergo the procedure, remember that a smaller dress size isn’t the only thing you have to look forward to post-surgery.
Lifestyle Perks of a Tummy Tuck
Okay, so some of these benefits are indeed aesthetic, but not in the sense that your waist will be a few inches smaller. Rather, many tummy tuck patients find that their entire lives are affected by the surgery, and it enables them to be happier and healthier in several different areas.
- Maintaining Weight Loss is Easier: If you’ve lost weight and are undergoing surgery to remove excess skin (and often, fat you just can’t shed), like Lizanne Haddadin of Discovery Bay, California, you might find that you’re more comfortable wearing workout clothes and engaging in your typical workout routine when you’ve had some help removing the floppy skin. Haddadin tells the WSJ that tightening her muscles in a tummy tuck procedure makes it easier and more comfortable for her to work out and thereby, maintain her weight loss: “I feel like clothes fit me better and I feel much better when I jog and exercise,” she says. “I was really uncomfortable having all that extra skin.” When you’re excited to put on exercise gear and jog without fear of flapping skin, you’re able to keep extra fat at bay. Often, tummy tucks can actually help strengthen abdominal muscles which may have loosened, so a stronger core will help support you in running, yoga, or your workout of choice.
- Your Posture Will Improve: Especially if you’re a woman who’s just given birth or lost significant amounts of weight, you probably have a relatively weak core. Not only will strengthening your weak muscles with sutures help you work out, the sutures will help correct poor posture. If you have too much excess skin or belly fat, plastic surgeon Robert J. Spies notes that “our muffin top affects posture while sitting or standing because the excess weight on the front of your abdomen pulls your body forward. The extra weight and weak stomach muscles force your back muscles to overcompensate and strain themselves to hold you upright, causing back pain.” So, if you have back pain related to poor posture and weak muscles, the tummy tuck can make a world of difference.
- Stress Urinary Incontinence Solved: Often called SUI, stress urinary incontinence is a bladder control problem in women where urine leaks uncontrollably, triggered by coughing, sneezing, and even laughing. Women with this problem who’ve had vaginal births find that tummy tucks can alleviate the symptoms of SUI by 60%. According to James D. McMahan, pulling up sufficient soft tissue in the pelvic area helps suspend the urethra, creating a bladder outlet obstruction to reduce incontinence. Even if the tummy tuck isn’t specifically designed to cure SUI, it can be a welcome (and unexpected!) benefit for new mothers.
As the Minneapolis tummy tuck experts at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery explain, an abdominoplasty can provide these benefits (and more!) for those looking to finally achieve their ideal stomach: However, the key is to ensure that you’re working with a professional surgeon who knows and understands your desires. If the tummy tuck is being pitched as a “budget” tummy tuck or is done by a non-ABPS certified plastic surgeon who calls themselves a “cosmetic surgeon,” make sure that you’re not setting yourself up for subpar work done by a subpar surgeon.