From far eastern cultures to central Hollywood, a toned midriff is a source of beauty and can create supreme feminine confidence. But for many of us, no matter how hard we try on the treadmill or how strictly we regulate our diet, having a flat, tight midsection remains a frustratingly elusive physical trait.
Gradually as we age or after major body-changing events such as pregnancy, the musculature and skin of our abdominals may become stretched and loosened. This makes obtaining a flat stomach all the more almost impossible without surgical intervention. However, if the muscles and other tissues of the abdomen become structurally compromised, there can also be other, non-aesthetic medical implications.
Fortunately, a “tummy tuck,” or abdominoplasty, is a highly-effective surgery that can address both the cosmetic and the medical concerns associated with a stretched abdomen. Here, Dr. Robert Singer outlines precisely how a tummy tuck could provide benefits in ways you may not even expect.
The Cosmetic Benefits of a Tummy Tuck
One of the top five cosmetic surgeries in the U.S., more than 130,000 tummy tucks are done in America every year. During the procedure, excess skin and body fat are removed by a highly skilled and experienced surgeon. As a result, the midsection is given more support, new contours, and a shapelier figure can be achieved.
The stomach is the center of our physique. It holds our frame together both functionally and aesthetically. However, for many people, particularly those who have recently lost significant amounts of weight, those getting older, or women who have just gone through pregnancy, the stomach may become a “problem area.” Amongst other measures, one of the most frequently listed aspects of a desirable body is a firm, flat stomach. In particular, the waist-hip ratio significantly influences how people perceive themselves and others as attractive.
Getting down to a primal level, the shape of our bodies tells the opposite sex a lot about us. Although characteristics differ between men and women, what we perceive as “attractive” all revolves around how suitable a mate the other person appears to be.
During puberty, hormones produced in men and women cause fat to be stored in different parts of the body. For men, this is around the lower abdomen, and for women around the hips and buttocks. Biologically, this is so that women have energy stores to support pregnancy, and men can endure times of hardship to search for food to support the family.
As such, women who have small waists and larger hips, or a low waist-hip ratio, are subconsciously perceived to be fertile, reliable mating partners – thus they are generally considered attractive in our instinctual ways of assessing the body. Similarly, men who have a flat and toned belly, are successful hunters and do not need to store excess body fat. For this reason, we assess a masculine flat stomach as attractive.
With this in mind, it is easy to see the cosmetic benefits of a tummy tuck. As an abdominoplasty gives a tighter, flatter midsection, the profile of the midsection for both sexes is made more appealing. And, having a flat, toned stomach also tells people something about how you live your life.
A tight midsection is more than a sign of fertility. Toned and contoured tummies belong to those people who lead healthy, active lives – people who have achieved a balance between work, play, and exercise.
However, as we have said, specific life events may compromise the structure of the fascia and skin of the midsection, making it hard or even impossible for some to achieve the flat stomach they deserve.
While Dr. Waltzman emphasizes that abdominoplasty is not a weight-loss procedure, it can definitely help patients to “cross the finish line” in achieving a body that reflects their lifestyle. What’s more, a tummy tuck procedure also directly impacts the health of a patient, with numerous medical benefits associated with the procedure.
Medical Benefits of a Tummy Tuck
The role of our abdominal region is highly functional. For instance, your abdominal wall must protect and support the musculature of the back and spine, keep your abdominal organs (stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys) in place, and help you to breathe.
When the structure of the midsection becomes compromised, through stretched, weakened, or separated muscles, the function of the abdominal region suffers. Because a tummy tuck realigns and tightens the abdominal muscles, there are various medical benefits associated with the procedure.
Decreased Back Pain
It is estimated that up to 90% of people will experience some form of lower back pain during their lives. While this can be due to several reasons, one of the most common causes of back pain is improper muscular support of the spine and back muscles.
The abdominal muscles provide primary and secondary support to the back musculature. As such, when the abdominal muscles are compromised, they no longer adequately assist the back muscles in supporting our physique. This forces the back muscles to overcompensate, which frequently leads to back pain, cramps, and spasms.
If improperly supported, the integrity and positioning of the spine suffers. The protective discs that separate the spinal vertebra become stressed and worn down, which can lead to slipped discs or spinal herniations – both severe back injuries associated with high levels of patient discomfort.
During a tummy tuck, your surgeon can pull the abdominal muscles back together in a way that provides additional strength and support once you heal from the procedure. This will, in turn, protect the spin and may relieve back pain in many individuals.
Spinal posture is a crucial element to our physical and mental wellbeing. If you observe any human of great stature, you will notice that they all carry themselves upright, shoulders pulled back, chest out – all outward signs of power and self-belief.
Moreover, an erect posture also maintains healthy muscle position, which prevents injuries to the neck, shoulders, and upper and lower back. The abdominal muscles play a vital role in enabling us to comfortably hold ourselves upright.
If the abdominal muscles are weakened, they are unable to maintain the firm positioning necessary to hold the upper half of our bodies upright. Loose abdominal muscles may cause a bend at the hips, hunched shoulders, a drooping heading – a generally unhealthy posture that can undoubtedly lead to neck, shoulder and back injuries.
By tightening and repositioning the tissues and musculature of the midsection, tummy tuck surgery helps us maintain good posture and protect ourselves from injury.
Reduce Stress Urinary Incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI), is a condition that will affect up to 50% of people at some point in their lives. Women are more likely than men to be affected, usually due to pregnancy.
The condition occurs when external pressure is exerted on the bladder and urethra, leading to a loss of bladder control. Generally affecting people as they get older, SUI is associated with the abdominal organs lacking appropriate support and thus ‘leaning’ on each other in ways they should not.
The bladder and urethra are responsible for storing and releasing urine, and they are highly sensitive to pressure. When the internal pressure of the bladder reaches a threshold, signals are sent to our brain telling us we need to urinate. If there is an additional external force pushing on the bladder and urethra, as is the case in SUI, the pressure may cause urine to be released involuntarily. Often, sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercising may cause an unwanted leaking of urine.
In many instances, SUI is treated without surgery. However, due to the supportive nature of tummy tuck surgery, the organs of the midsection become realigned and supported, and this may relieve abnormal pressure that is exerted on the bladder. Thus, an abdominoplasty can be an effective treatment for SUI.
Correcting a Hernia
Another problem associated with weak and loose stomach muscles is the risk of abdominal hernias. A hernia is a protrusion of a part of the stomach that is caused by the intestine or abdominal tissues popping through the musculature of the abdominal wall. This problem is especially common for those who have weakened their stomachs in some way, such as pregnancy.
A hernia can be incredibly uncomfortable and, left untreated, can cause issues with digestion and nausea. People who lift hefty weights or those who suffer chronic constipation, significant weight gain, or constant coughing and sneezing all are at increased risk for hernia due to the heightened internal pressures of their bodies.
Fortunately, the strengthening properties of a tummy tuck restore the natural strength of the abdominal wall and prevent hernias from occurring.
When surgeries can serve multiple purposes, we can benefit in ways that are both cosmetic and functional in nature. However, you must consult with your doctor about what you desire and what you can realistically expect from a tummy tuck procedure.
Relying on years of experience and a clinical eye for the aesthetic, Dr. Waltzman will reshape your midsection and support your abdominal region to the highest possible standard. If you are considering a tummy tuck in Long Beach, contact Dr. Waltzman at (562) 448-6100!