Did pregnancy leave you with prune-like paunch?
Ask any mother, and she’ll tell you that your body goes through all kinds of changes while you’re pregnant. Once you’ve given birth,many of those changes to are there to stay whether you like it or not.
For most women these changes center around the abdominal area. Your skin expands and stretches to accommodate your baby during pregnancy which can lead to excess drooping skin on your stomach. The muscles inside your abdominal may also become loose and lax due to pregnancy, which further exacerbates that saggy look.
Some women get lucky, and they experience only minimal stretching from pregnancy which they can counter with a healthy lifestyle (Giselle anyone?). The majority of women, however, don’t get off so easily and for them, no amount of fresh vegetables and exercise will restore their tummy to what it was before they had children.
When weight loss and toning aren’t enough to banish that bulge you may consider plastic surgery. Everyone knows that liposuction and tummy tucks work wonders for smoothing your stomach, but it can be confusing to decide which one is the right choice.
Here is a quick guide to when to suck it up and when to tuck it up. Read on for more about liposuction vs tummy tucks for smoothing your post-baby bump!
The Lowdown on Liposuction
People tend to view liposuction as a cure-all when it comes to tightening up flab, especially on the stomach. This isn’t entirely a misconception. In some cases, lipo really is the best option to deal with unwanted bulges and bumps.
However, lipo isn’t meant as an instant weight-loss procedure. It’s meant to reshape and contour areas that stubbornly resist all other efforts to change them. Liposuction is primarily used to target pockets of fat that simply won’t go away, even after dieting and exercising.
Liposuction won’t cure sagging (or cellulite), because it only targets the fat deep down, not excess skin. In fact, immediately after the fat is removed the skin may actually be somewhat loose for a while until it retracts and tightens itself back up. If your skin isn’t elastic enough to do that you might even end up with more flab than you started out with!
With that in mind, yes, liposuction can do great things for tummy with a little extra fat on it. The catch is that it only works if you have very little excess skin in that area. So if your problem is stretched-out stomach skin, lipo is probably not the way to go.
The Truth About Tummy Tucks
Where liposuction can’t, a tummy tuck can!
Abdominoplasty can both tighten the lax muscles in your abdominal wall and get rid of the excess skin on your stomach that pregnancy has left behind. Many women will end up with a better belly than before their baby arrived!
The main reason that a tummy tuck can do more than liposuction is because it is a far more involved and invasive procedure.
Liposuction is generally an outpatient procedure, using only small incisions to insert the cannula that suctions out the fat being removed. Abdominoplasty is surgery. That means deeper incisions, physical removal of excess skin and fat, and guaranteed tightening and lifting.
It also means a more extended recovery time, to ensure proper healing and the best result possible. On average, that means about two weeks of taking it easy, so you will need to plan ahead, especially with a baby at home.
The Best of Both Worlds
If the stretched-out skin on your stomach is getting you down, take heart in the knowledge that there is something you can do about it. If the stretching is severe, liposuction alone probably isn’t going to get the job done, but a tummy tuck probably will.
Every case is unique, so your best bet is to make an appointment with a well trained plastic surgeon to talk about your options, and to get a professional opinion about which procedure will work best for you. Remember, feeling good about your body is something we all deserve and that positive attitude will be passed on to your baby too!
Dr. Usha Rajagopal
San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center
Photo Credit: Vogue; babyrazzi.com
NOTICE: None of the celebrities or individuals discussed here have ever received treatment, surgery, medical advice, or evaluations from any author, physician, surgeon, or representative of this blog. All images and photos in this article represent models only. No actual patients or clients are shown.