Summary: To be sure, tummy plastic surgery is not an official thing. Indeed, most plastic surgeons will want you to be somewhat specific about the kind of operation you’d like performed around your abdomen. What’s true, however, is that many people simply feel that their tummy could use a little work—they’re just not quite sure how.
Talking About Tummy Plastic Surgery
When you talk to people about their bodies, it’s amazing just how often people seem to have an issue with their tummies. That’s why what I’m calling “tummy plastic surgery” seems to be so popular. Now, before we get into what “tummy plastic surgery” is and means, it might be useful to think about why it’s such a problem area.
There’s no doubt that modern society places an emphasis—even a premium—on slenderness. There’s a certain social cache that comes with being skinny. I’m not advocating for that—I don’t necessarily think it’s right. But there’s little doubt this premium exists (or if you think about it in the opposite way, there’s certainly a social penalty for being overweight).
It makes sense, then, that people would focus on that area of the body. The place that people tend to most associate with being “overweight” is the tummy. So tummy plastic surgery makes sense.
What is Tummy Plastic Surgery?
When people inquire about “tummy plastic surgery,” they might mean a few different things. Generally, however, they’re pretty clear on the results that they want: they want a lean, fit-looking tummy. There are some ways that plastic surgery can help patients do this. But there’s one thing that I should probably make clear right now.
Plastic surgery is not necessarily ever going to be a massive weight loss solution. There surgical procedures that are designed to help patients lose a significant amount of weight, but those procedures aren’t necessarily plastic surgery. In fact, most of those procedures are known as “bariatric surgery,” and they’re performed exclusively to help people lose weight.
A gastric bypass and liposuction are two vastly different procedures, and it’s important to keep that in mind as we discuss “tummy plastic surgery.”
Tummy Plastic Surgery Procedures
Instead, when we talk about “tummy plastic surgery” procedures, we’re usually talking about procedures that are designed to fulfill aesthetic functions. In other words, they’re procedures that are designed to nip and tuck—although, sometimes those smaller changes can produce significantly bold transformations.
The two primary tummy plastic surgery procedures are liposuction and tummy tuck. Both procedures are responsible for doing very different things.
- Liposuction: Perhaps the first procedure that comes to mind when we think of tummy procedures, liposuction is designed to eliminate unwanted fat. Now, I said earlier that liposuction is not a fat “loss” procedure, and that’s true. Liposuction these days is used as a fat contouring procedure. In other words, it’s used to help shape your body. In the belly, especially, people can develop areas of fat that just won’t go away—no matter how much you diet and exercise. Liposuction is a way to minimize these areas, to remove the fat and shape the rest of your body. The result is a body that looks leaner in the right areas without sacrificing the curves and contours you like.
- Tummy Tuck: The other tummy plastic surgery procedure that comes up often is called the “tummy tuck.” This one even has the word “tummy” in it! Known more medically as an abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is designed to eliminate unwanted excess skin from the belly area. This excess skin can develop for a wide variety of reasons (including pregnancy or even good old fashioned aging), but it can often be confused for fat. In fact, your surgeon will often have to determine whether you suffer from excess skin or excess fat when trying to determine which procedure is best for you.
Combining Tummy Tuck and Liposuction
We commonly discuss tummy tuck and liposuction in terms of one-or-the-other. You need a tummy tuck if you have excess skin and liposuction if you have excess fat you want to get rid of. But anybody that has struggled with an abdomen that’s a little out of control knows it simply isn’t that simple. In fact, in most cases, your abdomen is a little out of shape thanks to a conspiracy between your excess skin and a bit of excess fat.
Each can be difficult to address singularly. Combined, there’s no amount of diet or exercise that will give you the results you’re likely after. (Exercise simply is not capable of eliminating a significant amount of excess skin.) That’s why in most cases, tummy tucks and liposuction procedures are combined.
In fact, in many cases, this is necessary, especially if the patient was originally interested in a liposuction.
Why Combine Liposuction and Tummy Tuck?
When surgeons perform a liposuction procedure in the belly, they’re removing volume and removing fat. That’s the whole point of the procedure! But when that fat is removed, it leaves some empty space in its wake. That’s good (like we said, that’s the point of the procedure), but there’s a downside: loss of volume means extra skin. And that extra skin can interfere with your results.
In other words, if you’re left with significant enough excess skin, it can feel like your liposuction procedure was wasted, like it wasn’t worth the time or investment. You wont’ have the firm tummy you wanted to achieve with that liposuction.
This means that surgeons will often plan for and perform a tummy tuck in addition to the original liposuction procedure. This makes sure that even though you’re getting rid of some volume, your tummy will remain tight and athletic looking.
Getting the Body You Want
Sometimes it’s tempting to look down on tummy plastic surgery because we have this broader notion that one should be able to will one’s body into the shape you want. Diet and exercise, society seems to think, will allow you to sculpt your body into the shape you want it. But that’s simply not the case. Biology has a way of keeping your body the way it is.
The solution, then, to getting the body you’ve always wanted, is one of these tummy cosmetic surgery procedures, which are designed to help eliminate fat and diminish excess skin. If you want to know more about what these tummy procedures can do for you, contact your local plastic surgeon to schedule a consultation.
Your surgeon will be able to tell you whether or not you’re a good fit for a tummy tuck, a liposuction procedure, or some combination of both. If you have any questions at all, these consultations are designed to provide in depth and detailed answers that are specific to you and your body. The best way to make any of these decisions is to have a healthy conversation with your local plastic surgeon.