If you’ve recently had a major weight loss or pregnancy, then you’re likely familiar with the loose, baggy skin, scarring, or stretch marks that a body change like this often leaves. The skin is an amazing organ with some truly wonderful defensive and regenerative properties, but it simply doesn't always have the ability to shrink itself after a weight loss or childbirth.
Not surprisingly, the number one reason that people choose to have a tummy tuck is that they are unhappy with the way their abdomens look following a major weight loss or pregnancy. Having to live with extra skin that refuses to go away despite persistent diet or exercise can be discouraging, especially for someone who has already worked so hard to make it to their goal weight.
For those individuals, a tummy tuck may be the ideal way to tighten the skin and instantly boost your health & confidence. Last year more than 117,000 patients had tummy tuck procedures, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and each year, that number has grown.
Officially, it’s still only a cosmetic surgery. However, there are several ways that a tummy tuck can boost your health, making you not only look better, but feel better and live better too. We’ve broken down five of them below.
1. Better Self-Esteem
One of the most obvious ways a tummy tuck can improve your health is by restoring body confidence. It’s not just intuitive —according to a 2012 study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 89 percent of patients who had a tummy tuck reported “high levels of patient satisfaction” after the procedure. In the same study, “85.8 percent of patients reported improved self esteem and 69.6 percent reported an improved quality of life” after their tummy tuck.
Feeling attractive in your own skin boosts your health & self-esteem, which sets individuals up for success in countless aspects of their lives. According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals with healthy self esteem are more confident in their decision-making abilities, more realistic in their expectations of both themselves and others, and more likely to form secure and honest relationships. A healthy self esteem leads to a healthy body as well as a good sense of self worth.
2. Increased Motivation
Sometimes there’s nothing like seeing progress to really motivate you to work harder on something. The same is true for many tummy tuck patients, who feel an extra boosts of health & motivation to continue on their fitness journey once they see their slim, new figure after an abdominoplasty.
Tummy tucks can give patients a “second wave of elation,” according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, keeping them on the path to fitness. Having put in the hard work to lose weight and gone through a body-changing surgery, the majority of tummy tuck patients redouble their efforts and actually end up losing more weight after the surgery.
In mothers who have had cesarean sections, it’s not uncommon for scar tissue to harden, making certain movements and positions particularly uncomfortable. If you enjoyed an active lifestyle before having children, this discomfort can feel debilitating.
For individuals who have had a significant weight loss, the excess skin left behind can feel equally debilitating. Your range of movement is hindered and your movements are slowed by the weight of extra skin around your midsection, making it more difficult to lead the healthy, active life that results in further weight loss.
Many tummy tuck patients find the procedure freeing for this very reason. You can bend and stretch farther and move more quickly. Activities that previously may have caused discomfort — like running, swimming, or yoga — frequently become much more enjoyable without the burden of extra skin around your middle. Not only do you feel more physically comfortable, but you’ll feel less self-conscious as well.
Like most plastic surgeons, Dr. Brown strongly encourages tummy tuck patients to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine following their procedure. While these are important for every person’s health, they are perhaps more important for those who have had abdominoplasty. After all, most tummy tuck patients have put in months of grueling work to lose weight before even considering the surgery. That impressive effort, combined with the necessary recovery period following your tummy tuck, represents a significant amount of time spent making your body healthier. A poor diet or exercise plan following the procedure threatens to undo the hard work that both you and Dr. Brown have put in to get your body back into top shape.
Related: Top 3 Surgeries for Men or Women Who Have Lost Weight
4. Smaller Appetite
It’s not uncommon for people who have a tummy tuck to have a smaller appetite for the first three to six months following their surgery. The tightening of skin and muscles in your abdomen may cause your stomach to feel constricted, encouraging you to eat less.
But there could be more at play here than your abdomen simply being smaller. In another study published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, women who had a tummy tuck reported greater feelings of satiety, also known as fullness, following their surgery. Those women continued to lose weight for the first year after the procedure. Interestingly, those who had more abdominal tissue removed during the procedure experienced the biggest weight losses over the following year.
According to researchers, this increase in satiety and continued weight loss could be due to changes in the body’s neuroendocrine system during the procedure — fatty tissues secrete hormones that encourage appetite, and some degree of fat will be removed along with excess skin in any tummy tuck procedure.
However, that doesn’t mean that a tummy tuck should be treated like any other weight loss procedure. Most plastic surgeons, including Dr. Richard J. Brown, strongly encourage patients to wait until they are at or near their goal weight before considering abdominoplasty to remove excess skin around the abdomen. For those stubborn pockets that simply won’t go away with diet and exercise, liposuction may be an option as well.
Related: Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
5. Lower Risk of Infection
One of the lesser-known facts about excessively loose skin is that it can lead to infections and other health problems if not cared for properly. Folds of skin that rub against each other as you move may chafe uncomfortably, causing irritation and tenderness. They may also trap moisture, like sweat or water, that can be hard to thoroughly clean. In some cases, this can lead to fungal infection or ulcers. A tummy tuck could be just that solution. The procedure smooths problem folds that cause discomfort and sensitivity, leaving you with a flat stomach that is easy and comfortable to clean.
Related: Taking Care of Yourself After Abdominoplasty
Many people have found a tummy tuck to be the perfect solution to the excess skin left behind from a significant weight loss or pregnancy. Not only does a tummy tuck restore confidence in your appearance, but it can also boost your health in several ways, dramatically improving your quality of life.
More Ways A Tummy Tuck Can Your Health
If you or a loved one is struggling with loose skin, give board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Richard J. Brown a call at 480-947-2455.