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Abdominoplasty: To Tummy Tuck or Not To Tummy Tuck

Aug 17, 2007
A friend of mine lost over 60 pounds by eating well and exercising. She looked marvelous except for the extra padding around the abdomen, which refused to budge, despite her exercise and diet regimen. That was when she considered a "tummy tuck."

Maybe you're lucky. Maybe you don't have a tummy that protrudes a bit more with each passing year, no matter how often you go to the gym and how faithful you are to the south beach diet. If you're not one of the lucky ones though, you might consider abdominoplasty, otherwise known as a tummy tuck.

It's a surgical procedure which means there are the risks associated with it. But the wisest thing to do is to look at your situation carefully and see if the benefits outweigh the risks. Because of new developments in the procedure, the benefits are considerable.

What exactly is a tummy tuck? Abdominoplasty is the reduction of excess skin and fat from the abdomen and the tightening of muscles of the abdominal wall. Depending on the needs of the patient and the methods of the surgeon, a tummy tuck can vary in scope and process. Some doctors combine abdominoplasty with liposuction, for example, while others do not.

Why have a tummy tuck? It reduces the normal sagging that is part of the aging process. For women, childbearing can accelerate this sagging. Pregnancy stretches the abdominal skin which loses its original elasticity. A tummy tuck can get your tummy closer to a youthful, flat state. For many, this provides not only a physical lift, but a mental lift as well. The results can be dramatic.

This procedure is especially appropriate for middle-aged women and men who are in good health and who have tried diet and exercise but have not been able to reduce the fat deposits and loose skin around the abdomen. If you're in the process of losing weight, it's better to wait until you've reached your goal before you have the procedure. Look at the tummy tuck as that extra bonus you give yourself for reaching your weight loss goals.

And if you are indeed considering the procedure, read as much as you can about it before you make the decision to go ahead. Are you willing to risk side effects and even death (extremely rare) to look better? Many of us are. But if you are not, then forego the decision or wait until you can better assess the situation. If you feel that looking good is vital for you, then you need to consider the selection of the surgeon. This selection of a competent surgeon is critical to your successful outcome. Interview several candidates and ask for references. You need a surgeon who is not only highly skilled and experienced, but who makes you feel comfortable, answers your questions--someone you have confidence in. And there's no substitute for talking with other people who've had the procedure.

Financially, you're probably going to have to foot the bill yourself. For most people, tummy tuck is an elective procedure not covered by health insurance policies. It's always wise to check with your insurance companies because your doctor and insurance company may deem the procedure necessary for special reasons. If, for example, your overall weight threatened your health and you had stomach reduction surgery, then tummy tuck is necessary because now your body needs some toning and tucking due the results of the reduction surgery. Checking out with your insurance company is worth a try.

One final word of advice: make sure that you have tried the diet and exercise routines and that these routines are a regular part of your lifestyle. A tummy tuck should not be a short term solution; it is part of a long term solution that you already have in place for yourself. My friend looks wonderful; she has continued her exercise regimen; she eats well; is active and vibrant in the community; she continues to be part of weight watchers and has become a prominent example of healthy living for all of us.
About the Author
A weight consultant, Mary is helping people reclaim their bodies through nutrition, exercise, positive vision and creative engagement. Visit her atGreatBodyat50 or at
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