Is a tummy tuck right for me?

As more and more people, from celebrities to average Janes, come forward with stories of their personal experiences of tummy tucks, the procedure is becoming much less stigmatized. Abdominoplasties are very popular because they help flatten and shape the abdomen and waist by removing excess skin and tightening muscles. The result? A firmer tummy and more defined waistline ideal for hitting the beach, jumping back into dating, going to a class reunion — or running around New York City and tackling any other daily activity with renewed confidence.

While everyone has different reasons for having an abdominoplasty and each patient’s experience is unique, there are some common motivations behind having the procedure. For example, many of my patients are mothers who are finished having kids and would like to go back to the way their bodies appeared before giving birth.

Having a baby is a beautiful gift, but it can bring a lot of dramatic changes to the way we look. Pregnancy alters everything from your breasts to your thighs to your arms. After birth, these body parts don’t just naturally go back to the way they were before, and the abdomen is no exception to this rule. By stretching and weakening the skin and muscles of the tummy and waist, pregnancy can leave you with loose skin, stretch marks, and a straighter waistline.

While great changes can come from exercise, breastfeeding, and appropriate dieting, a tummy tuck is sometimes seen as a way to finish up the process and obtain the complete desired outcome. Some patients even couple tummy tucks with others procedures, including breast lifts, breast reductions, and liposuction to have a full “mommy makeover” post delivery. It is important to note, however, that because of its nature, an abdominoplasty is only recommended for women who are finished having children.

Tummy tucks are also a popular option among those who have undergone bariatric weight-loss surgery. In these cases, excess skin and some stubborn fat remains in the abdominal area and is particularly challenging to lose. An abdominoplasty is a way to firm up those areas that patients have worked so hard to improve for health and aesthetic reasons. However, it is advised that patients avoid an abdominoplasty if additional significant weight loss is planned because the skin will likely loosen again.

Of course, weight loss and childbirth aren’t the only reasons you might be considering an abdominoplasty — and they aren’t the only reasons to have one. If your body has changed as you aged or you are simply stuck with a few extra pounds that have bothered you for years, you are also a candidate for the procedure.

You deserve to feel comfortable in your own skin. If you are considering having an abdominoplasty and fit into any of the categories above, it’s important that you take time to discuss your expectations and understand all aspects of the procedure. Write down any questions you have about tummy tucks and come in to discuss your options in greater details.