Question: I am 34 years old and have three children. I have a C-section scar and loose skin around my belly button. Even though I am the weight I was prior to having children and work out at least twice a week, I can’t seem to tighten my tummy. I’m not going to have any more children and would really like to get my figure back. I’ve thought about having a tummy tuck, but my husband thinks that if I exercise more I should be able to return to my pre-baby shape. Is surgery a good option for me?
Answer: Pregnancies, and the weight gain and loss associated with them, can cause several problems in the appearance a woman’s tummy. The stomach muscles that you most often see in body builders, known as the rectus abdominus muscles or “six pack,” can separate during pregnancy. This condition, known as diastasis, can worsen with each pregnancy and will not tighten to the pre-pregnancy state with exercise. The size of the baby/babies as well as the amount of weight gain during the pregnancy can result in stretch marks, or stria. These are merely visible damage to the elastic properties of the skin and cannot be reversed with the use of creams or topical treatments.
A flat, tight stomach requires tight muscles as well as taut skin. A tummy tuck procedure, or abdominoplasty, can achieve both of these. The muscles are returned to their pre-stretched position and the skin is tightened through a bikini-line incision. The belly button is also returned to the smaller pre-pregnancy shape as well.
I believe that surgery may be a good option for you, but a consultation is necessary to determine whether or not you would be a good candidate for this procedure. I recommend that you and your husband make an appointment with a qualified plastic surgeon who can take the time to explain in detail, all options, benefits and risks involved with this surgery.
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Questions are answered by Dr. Mark A. Foglietti, a nationally recognized board certified plastic surgeon and author.