Medically reviewed by Mr. Omar Tillo — MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)
A tummy tuck, clinically referred to as an abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery to remove excess skin to flatten and tone the abdomen. In this article, we will discuss the extent to which this cosmetic surgery can be used to address stretch marks so that you can better understand if a tummy tuck is right for you.
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are caused by, as the name suggests, the stretching of the skin. The abrupt growth and shrinking in an area cause the collagen and elastin that support the skin to rupture. Stretch marks then appear as the skin heals. Common areas where stretch marks appear include the stomach, buttocks, and thighs, as these areas tend to experience weight gain more frequently.
Does a Tummy Tuck Get Rid of Stretch Marks?
Skin excess in the lower abdomen, which often features stretch marks, is removed during a tummy tuck procedure. However, stretch marks on the skin in the upper abdomen that is pulled tightly and re-covers the abdominal muscles will remain unchanged.
In general, few people have extensive stretch marks in their upper abdomen. Most patients tend to have stretch marks on the lower abdomen, meaning a tummy tuck can be a viable option for removing these abdominal stretch marks.
Other Tummy Tuck Benefits
A tummy tuck procedure can have several benefits in addition to removing lower abdominal stretch marks. As the excess skin is removed, a tummy tuck enhances the abdominal region and creates a flatter, more toned tummy.
In addition, during a full or traditional tummy tuck, any abdominal muscle separation is repaired. This has a multitude of benefits, including a stronger core and improved posture. Tightening the abdominal muscles can also help to address any related physical health issues, such as back pain and urinary incontinence.
What a Tummy Tuck Can and Can’t Do
Remove Extra Fat
A tummy tuck involves the removal of excess skin and fat. Many patients also opt to combine a tummy tuck with liposuction, which can remove a significant amount of fat deposits for further sculpting and definition to the abdomen.
Remove Extra Skin
Excess skin is removed during a tummy tuck which helps to add tone and definition to the area, revealing a flatter stomach. This can help patients feel more comfortable fitting into smaller and tighter clothing.
Prevent Future Weight Gain
Patients usually lose a small amount of weight from a tummy tuck due to the removal of excess skin and fat. However, a tummy tuck cannot prevent future weight gain. As such, patients should maintain a stable weight through a balanced diet and exercise routine.
Remove or Prevent All Stretch Marks
A tummy tuck can only remove stretch marks in the excised skin of the lower abdomen. It cannot, however, remove stretch marks in the skin of the upper abdomen, which is ‘re-draped’ over the abdominal muscles.
In addition, a tummy tuck cannot prevent stretch marks. Therefore, patients are advised to maintain a stable weight to prevent their skin from stretching any further.
Ideal Candidates for Tummy Tuck
At the CREO Clinic, you will have a full consultation with our body contouring surgeon, Dr Omar Tillo, where he will assess your suitability for a tummy tuck. Generally, patients in good health looking to flatten and contour their abdomen are good candidates for a tummy tuck procedure. Patients should be at their desired weight, and women are advised to wait until after their last pregnancy to undergo a tummy tuck.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
During a consultation, your cosmetic surgeon will discuss the type of tummy tuck most suited to your needs. If you have less lax skin to remove, a mini tummy tuck may be most suitable for your needs. You may also consider liposuction as an alternative if you have a lot more excess fat deposits to remove.
A standard tummy tucks procedure is completed under general anaesthesia or sedation and requires an incision along the bikini line and around the navel (belly button). The lax skin is then removed and any muscle separation is repaired. The skin is then tightly pulled over the stomach muscles, and the belly button is repositioned for a natural-looking finish.
Typically, it takes at least 12 weeks to fully recover from a tummy tuck, at which point you will be able to resume all activities, including vigorous exercise. Patients usually feel well enough to recommence work and light, daily activities 1-2 weeks after cosmetic surgery. However, patients should wait 3-4 weeks before resuming light exercise.
You will also be required to wear a compression garment for at least the first 6 weeks after tummy tuck surgery. This will help to reduce any swelling after a tummy tuck and further contour the abdomen.
You will immediately be able to notice your slimmer abdomen as the excess skin will have been removed. However, it may take up to 6-12 months for swelling to completely disseminate. After this, you will be able to enjoy the full effect of your flatter, more toned abdomen.
Is a Tummy Tuck Worth It?
A tummy tuck surgery can improve the appearance of the abdomen as well as address related physical issues such as urinary incontinence or back pain. Due to this, many patients consider a tummy tuck to be a worthwhile procedure.
Schedule a Consultation with CREO Clinic Today
If you are looking to create a more toned, flatter stomach area or want to repair muscle separation in your abdomen, a tummy tuck may be suitable for you. At the CREO Clinic, our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr Omar Tillo, specialises in body contouring surgeries. Dr Tillo combines clinical excellence with the fine art of shaping the body, personalised to address the patient’s needs.
If you are interested in undergoing a tummy tuck, contact the CREO Clinic today, and we can arrange a consultation with our surgeon to see how this procedure can be modified for your tummy.