Fact Check: 8 Common Tummy Tuck Myths Debunked
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, eliminates loose or sagging skin in the belly and tightens abdominal muscles for a flatter, more toned look. Before you decide if a tummy tuck is right for you, let’s debunk some common tummy tuck myths.
Myth #1: Tummy Tucks are a Weight Loss Procedure
A tummy tuck is not a bariatric procedure, and differs greatly from lap-band surgery. While a tummy tuck procedure does remove excess fat, it also tightness lax muscles and eliminates the excess skin which is frequently the result of fat loss. It’s a plastic surgery procedure focused on transforming the abdomen. A tummy tuck can also correct skin that’s lost its elasticity due to pregnancy or age.
Like liposuction, a tummy tuck procedure should be considered for cosmetic enhancement. Ideally, candidates for tummy tuck have consistently been within 5-10 pounds of their ideal weight for 6 months or longer. Tummy tuck outcomes are best in those with active, healthy lives, as future weight gain or significant weight loss can negate results.
Myth #2: Tummy Tucks are Only for Women
It’s true that abdominoplasty is among the more popular plastic surgeries for women. Many women experience loss of skin elasticity and abdominal muscle atrophy following pregnancy and childbirth. However, that doesn’t mean men cannot undergo tummy tuck procedures too.
Men who are healthy and fit, yet find themselves with loose skin around the belly that’s unresponsive to exercise may be good candidates for tummy tuck.
Myth #3: Some People are Too Old for Tummy Tuck Surgery
Most tummy tuck patients fall between 35-50 years of age, but that doesn’t mean older patients cannot undergo abdominoplasty procedures. It’s not your age but general health that indicates your candidacy for a tummy tuck.
When considering if you qualify, your surgeon will take the following into account:
- Your General Health: Are you in good overall health and could you recover from an invasive, major surgery?
- If You Smoke: Smokers are at greater risk for complications before and after surgery. If you smoke, your surgeon will ask you to quit.
- Your Body Weight: Your weight should be healthy and stable, as tummy tuck surgery is not a weight loss procedure.
- Your Expectations: A tummy tuck will flatten the abdominal area but cannot completely reverse the signs of aging. At any age, it’s important to have realistic expectations regarding potential outcomes.
Myth #4: Tummy Tucks Result in Major Scarring
Scarring is unavoidable after any surgical procedure, but can be minimized by a skilled and experienced board-certified surgeon. Most scars heal into thin, fine lines that are barely noticeable. In addition, your tummy tuck scar will be placed low on the belly where it can be hidden by swimwear or undergarments.
In some cases, scars heal more visibly than expected. If this happens, scar revision treatments can help reduce a scar’s visibility.
Myth #5: Pregnancy After a Tummy Tuck is Unsafe
There is no risk to mothers who become pregnant after their tummy tuck. That said, pregnancy does cause your skin and abdominal muscles to stretch, which can undo the results of your tummy tuck surgery. For this reason, most women choose to have a tummy tuck only when they are done having children.
Myth #6: Tummy Tucks are the Same as Liposuction
Tummy tucks are not the same as liposuction. While a tummy tuck does remove unwanted fat, it also tightens abdominal muscles and removes excess, sagging skin around the abdomen. Liposuction, on the other hand, solely addresses isolated fat pockets. It does not have the ability to correct loose skin. Liposuction is typically recommended for those with stubborn pockets of fat, but youthful elasticity in their skin.
The two distinct procedures, tummy tuck and liposuction, can be performed together to address both loose skin and small, localized areas of fat.
Myth #7: Tummy Tuck Procedures Are Risky
A tummy tuck is an invasive surgical procedure which requires anesthesia. There is always some risk associated with this and other types of plastic surgery. Choosing an experienced, board-certified surgeon will reduce your risk of unwanted side-effects.
Myth #8: Tummy Tucks May Cause Nerve Damage
While some patients report numbness after surgery, this side effect is often temporary and subsides within a few weeks. Permanent nerve damage, while possible, is highly unlikely. It’s important to discuss the risks of any tummy tuck procedure with a board certified plastic surgeon during an in-person consultation.