Tummy tuck and waist size: Can this body contouring surgery result in a dramatic improvement in the size and contour of the patient’s abdomen?
Celebrity Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says the vast majority of tummy tuck patients can expect drastic narrowing of their waistline with the right combination of surgical maneuvers.
(Note: The only tummy tuck patients who would experience limited contouring effects are those who have lost large amounts of weight but still remain overweight, and those with diabetes and other conditions that compromise their healing. Since the large apron-like skin causes pain and tissue breakdown, their doctors are more focused on improving their quality of life than refining their physique.)
Traditional tummy tuck uses a hip-to-hip incision to remove the excess skin from the lower abdomen; the skin above the navel is then pulled downward to close the wound in a way that the scar settles very low and is concealed beneath the underwear. However, this method alone is not enough to narrow the girth.
Prior to the creation of hip-to-hip scar, Dr. Smiley occasionally performs liposuction of the flanks to remove the excess fat. In his recent Snapchat post, he said this allows him to tighten and pull more skin centrally during tummy tuck, further contributing to the tapered waist appearance.
To further reduce the waist size and correct the barrel-shaped appearance of the abdomen, Dr. Smiley also incorporates tummy tuck with muscle repair.
Prior to pregnancy or large weight fluctuation, the pair of abdominal muscles is positioned immediately side-by-side right and runs below the sternum and above the pubic hairline.
However, the abdominal wall becomes separated due to the stretching of fascia layer (connective tissue) during pregnancy or large weight fluctuations. Hence, the once flat and athletic-looking abdomen is turned into something that resembles a “barrel.”
To correct the barrel-shaped abdomen, Dr. Smiley uses permanent sutures to bring the abdominal muscles closer to each other, back to their original configuration. He said that he prefers the “individual suturing technique” to the “running stitch” due to the former’s stronger support.
“The individual suturing technique means that each stitch is as strong as the next one,” Dr. Smiley said in his previous Snapchat post.
On average, patients can expect to lose 2-6 inches off their waist following tummy tuck surgery. Nonetheless, the celebrity plastic surgeon said that its long-term success still boils down to the patient’s commitment to healthy lifestyle—i.e., sustainable weight management.