Becoming a mom transforms you, inside and out. It’s the most wonderful, terrifying, exhilarating, exhausting, and surprising experience. And for many moms, one of those surprises is the not-so-great effect pregnancy has on your body.
After giving birth, sometimes the post-baby body doesn’t quite look like the pre-baby body. Some moms can’t take the baby weight back off; others end up with excess flabby skin on the belly.
Sound familiar? First, let’s get one thing out of the way: There’s no reason at all to feel guilty about considering plastic surgery to correct it. Liposuction and tummy tuck both work wonders with abdominal contouring, and thousands of moms decide to undergo plastic surgery every month.
So, which one is right for you? To help you make sense of liposuction versus tummy tuck, try asking yourself the following 5 questions:
Do I have a lot of extra skin?
Extra skin is one of the key indicators many surgeons use when evaluating a patient for abdominal contouring. The midsection is especially prone to the accumulation of loose, empty skin after giving birth.
According to Dr. Max Gouverne, a plastic surgeon who performs both abdominoplasty and liposuction in Corpus Christi, when excess skin is present, tummy tuck is probably best. Liposuction is primarily a fat removal technique, so it can’t adequately reshape the abdomen when skin is involved.
Occasionally, it can be difficult to tell whether your abdominal bulge is made up of skin, fat, or both. An experienced plastic surgeon can help you determine the underlying cause and develop a plan from there.
Are my muscles involved?
Pregnancy can lead to weakened, displaced, or damaged abdominal muscles. That can work against the flat, toned look you want. For cases like these, liposuction is insufficient — and it may even exacerbate the condition, because there would be less fat for the muscle to “hide” beneath.
Tummy tuck surgery is the way to go if abdominal muscles are involved. Surgeons can tighten and strengthen muscles that have separated, for a deep-down improvement in the abdominal wall.
Will I get pregnant in the future?
Most surgeons discourage tummy tuck surgery if pregnancy is part of your future plans. A tummy tuck has no bearing on your ability to carry a child, but getting pregnant after surgery can essentially negate the work from your procedure.
That doesn’t rule out a flat stomach altogether, though. If you’d like to have another child in the future but want to improve the look of your abdomen now, liposuction may be a more practical choice.
Are the scars worth it?
The overwhelming majority of plastic surgery patients find that the resulting scars are well worth the long-lasting results. That’s why procedure after procedure earns a high “Worth It” rating on RealSelf, an online community for plastic surgery patients and surgeons. But if you’re considering any sort of cosmetic improvement, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before going under the knife.
Tummy tuck typically requires a long, low horizontal incision that extends from one hip across to the other. The incision is significant, but well hidden: Most surgeons do their best to make it as low on the abdomen as possible, so it remains concealed under regular clothes and swimwear.
Am I willing to maintain my results?
This is probably the most important question of all. Whether you ultimately choose liposuction or tummy tuck, the results your surgeon achieves are only the beginning. If you want to hold on to your new body for as long as possible, you’ll need to hold up your end of the bargain. In general, this means following a healthy lifestyle — the same healthy lifestyle you want your kids to emulate. A reasonable diet and regular exercise can go a long way toward staving off unwanted weight and maintaining your new, slimmer contours.