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Pregnancy and excess weight gain cause irreversible changes to the abdomen. The muscles of the abdomen are stretched by the growing baby during pregnancy. Excess weight gain can also cause this. In addition to stretching the muscle, pregnancy and weight gain can also stretch the skin of the abdomen. Some people even develop hernias of their umbilicus ("belly button"). Once these changes occur, it is impossible to restore the muscles and skin to their original appearance, even with a strict diet and active exercise. Liposuction alone is also not adequate. 


A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a procedure that is designed to tighten the muscles of the abdomen and to remove loose and excess skin, as well as excess fat. This procedure is extremely popular for women who have been pregnant or for anyone who has had excess weight gain. Hernias of the belly button can also be repaired during a tummy tuck. 


A tummy tuck removes the extra loose skin and fat of the abdomen and also tightens the muscles of the abdomen. It can also repair hernias or distortion of the belly button. A tummy tuck can restore the abdomen to a flat contour and can improve the appearance of the waistline


There are various options available. For someone who has had minimal weight gain and has minimal amounts of loose skin, loose muscle and excess fat, and stretched muscles, a full tummy tuck will be needed. A full tummy tuck allows for more dramatic contouring of the abdomen by removing more skin, more fat and creating more tightening of the muscles. Liposuction can be added to either technique in order to enhance the result.


The recovery is easier than most people think. Patients are instructed to rest for the first 24 hours after surgery. Light walking is recommended as soon as possible. Most patients are able to resume light activities within 4-5 days. Drains are used to remove excess swelling fluid after surgery. These are removed after approximately one week. A compressive garment around the abdomen must also be worn for the first few weeks. Most patients can return to work after 7-10 days. Full activites can be resumed after 3-4 weeks.


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