A “tummy tuck” aka abdominoplasty is the fourth most-popular plastic surgery procedure for women (fifth for men). You’re never too old for this to be an attractive choice: while 56% of those who opted for it were 35-50, a quarter were 51-65-plus.
You might have been a diligent dieter and enthusiastic exerciser, lost weight, but can’t seem to get rid of that belly fat. Many who feel the need for a tummy tuck have already gotten close to their target body max index (below 25), but those stubborn fatty pockets remain. Often a protruding abdomen or sagging skin across the stomach is due to weakened muscles or stretched connective tissue from pregnancy.
Abdominoplasty is not meant to be primarily a weight loss procedure, though sagging skin is surgically removed and the tuck is usually combined with liposuction to reduce fat in the midsection. But a preliminary study reported in the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons provides evidence that it does help individuals maintain weight loss over the long term.
Three quarters of those studied had lost more weight a year later than the amount of tissue resected, which was an average of five pounds, and the more overweight they were before surgery, the more likely they were to increase the amount lost. But even the other quarter of patients did sustain some of the weight taken off by the abdominoplasty.
The authors of the study reported that most of these individuals said they felt more satiety, not only after eating, but throughout the day, which helped with their weight loss program. The authors hypothesized that this feeling could be due to changes in the neuroendocrine system due to the removal of fatty cells, which reduced the levels of hormones affecting appetite.
Other surgeons believe that the procedure gives patients more confidence about exercising with a smaller waistline, and they can more readily see results. A tummy tuck can have some less-known benefits, including strengthening your core so that your posture is improved, back pain is reduced, and incontinence is less of a problem.
To achieve the optimal results from abdominoplasty, it would be wise to have already developed good health habits, including stopping smoking, reducing the amount of sugar in your diet, drinking more water but eliminating sodas (even diet versions contribute to obesity and Type 2 diabetes), eating more vegetables, fruits, and whole foods (whole wheat instead of white flour), and having healthy snacks handy to satisfy cravings.
Getting enough sleep can also contribute to weight loss and make you less anxious, so that you are not tempted to reach for unhealthy “comfort food” to offset those feelings.
A tummy tuck can be the first step to a new, healthier, and more confident life.