Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When Crunches Don't Work

Tummy Tuck: When crunches and sit ups don't work
by Dr. Diane Gibby • M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S 
Most people want a flat, trim stomach. Crunches and sit-ups often aren't enough to tighten loose muscle and skin. It can be difficult to strengthen these muscles after multiple pregnancies have stretched the abdomen to the limit. Weight loss can cause loose skin in the abdominal area which may be resistant to improvement by exercise.

One solution has been a  "tummy tuck" which removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen and tightens muscles of the abdominal wall, reducing the appearance of a protruding abdomen.

If the loose skin is limited to the area below thebelly-button, you may benefit from a simpler procedure called a "partial abdominoplasty," or "mini tummy tuck" since it requires a smaller incision and less time in surgery and recovery.

If the loose skin extends above the belly button, a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is usually a better option. A tummy tuck is more complex and  requires a longer incision and repositioning of the naval. Scars are the inevitable results of any surgery, but every effort is made to keep scarring to a minimum. Placing the incision inside the bikini line helps conceal the scar.

Combining a tummy tuck with liposuction to remove fat deposits is a way to produce more dramatic results.

Surgery can take around one hour for the "mini tummy tuck" to four hours for a complete "tummy tuck"(adominoplasty). Recovery time for a tummy tuck varies from person to person.

The first two days following surgery, your abdomen will be swollen and tender. You should start walking as soon as possible to speed the recovery process. The stitches will be removed within seven days.

Patients having abdominoplasty often experience a feeling of tightness and diminished sensation in the abdomen; This should subside within several months after surgery.

Some patients recover and return to work in two weeks following surgery; others take up to four weeks to return to work. I recommend that patients should begin an exercise program to reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone muscles. Vigorous exercise should not be done until after four weeks following surgery. A supporting girdle may help healing and contouring.

I have found that abdominoplasty can provide excellent results for patients with weakened abdominal muscles or excess skin. In most cases, the results are long-lasting if a balanced diet and exercise regimen are followed.
Diane Gibby, M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S  Licensed in Texas, Dr. Diane Gibby is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and the founder of The Women's Center for Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery.  http://www.drgibby.com

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