Are Their Any Options for Tightening the Skin on my Abdomen Besides a Tummy/mini Tummy Tuck?

After multiple pregnancies I would like to tighten the skin on my abdomen. I also have a herniated belly button. I am happy with the way my abdomen looks if I pull up on the skin above my naval (see third photo). Would a reverse abdominoplasty or umbilicoplasty improve my appearance?

Doctor Answers 6

Are Their Any Options for Tightening the Skin on my Abdomen Besides a Tummy/mini Tummy Tuck?

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       A reverse abdominoplasty is a possibility, but umbilicoplasty will not help to any appreciable degree.  However, you will get the best result from a short scar tummy tuck with plication.   Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tucks each year.  Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Tummy contouring

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Given your multiple pregnancies, residual excess loose skin, you will most likely benefit the most from a full tummy tuck.  In addition, you will need to get your belly button hernia repaired before, during, or after your tummy tuck procedure.  

A tummy tuck can be an effective tool for shaping and sculpting the body for better body appearance and improved self esteem.
Sometimes no amount of diet and exercise can create a flat tummy. Tummy tuck plastic surgery actually tightens abdominal muscles and removes excess fat and skin from the stomach area to create a tighter, slimmer, smoother belly. A tummy tuck can be combined with other procedures such as liposuction of your waists or flanks (i.e. love handles) to fine tune your result.

Patients choose abdominoplasty cosmetic surgery for a number of reasons, including:
Excess abdominal skin following weight loss; Weight gain (beer belly or spare tire) from a sedentary lifestyle; Abdominal fat that is resistant to diet and exercise; Stretched stomach muscles from pregnancy; Desire for a thinner profile; Desire to look younger and fitter; Desire to fit into clothes better.

I recommend you visit with an ASPS member plastic surgeon to further explore your options and to find out if you are a candidate for this procedure.
Best wishes!
Dr. Basu
Houston, TX

Options for Tightening the Skin on my Abdomen Besides a Tummy/mini Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question and pictures.  There are no good options to improve your situation, besides tummy tucks surgery.

I think that you will be much better off undergoing a standard tummy tuck operation, rather than any of the options you mentioned. Any “lesser” operation will likely leave you dissatisfied with the outcome of the procedure performed. Removal of a significant amount of loose skin/subcutaneous tissue, repair of the hernia, and re-approximation of the abdominal wall muscles, should leave you with an excellent outcome.

I have also attached some advice that I provide to my patients who are about to go tummy tuck surgery (in the event that you do decide to proceed):

1. Make sure you are doing the procedure for the right reasons (for yourself)  and that you have realistic expectations.  Be aware that an improvement in the “problem area” may not translate to an overall improvement in your life   situation.  You are bound to be disappointed with results of the procedure if your motivation for doing the surgery is not internally driven.

2. Time your surgery carefully; generally, it is not a good idea to have surgery done during or immediately after a stressful period in life (for example divorce or death of a loved one). The additional stress of surgery will undoubtedly be  more challenging to deal with if a patient's emotional reserves our already exhausted. Remember, that an improvement in your physical appearance will not translate to an improvement in your life situation.

3. If possible speak to patients who have undergone similar procedures and query them about the toughest times of their recovery period. Any practical hints previous patients can provide may be very helpful.

4. Make sure you are aware of potential complications that may arise how to reach your surgeon if necessary.
5. Make sure you have a strong and patient support system (several people if possible) in place who have time/patience to take care of you. Arrange for professional nursing if any doubt exists regarding the availability and/or stamina  of your caretakers.

6. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. It may also take many months/year to see the end results of your surgery.

7. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies.

8. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work, school or chores too early and let others take care of you (for a change).

9. Pick your surgeon carefully (a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon) and trust in his/her advice. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the   emotional swings that you may experience.

10. Resume all medications that you were using preoperatively when cleared by your plastic surgeon and stop the use of narcotics and sedatives as soon as feasible after surgery.

11. Keep in mind the end results as you go through the tougher emotional times after your surgery. 

I hope this,  and the attached link, helps.

Abdominoplasty is necessary

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Unless you want to walk around with your abdomen taped up, you need a full tummy tuck. You haven't explained why you would rather not have the only procedure that is appropriate. Whenever there is excess skin above the umbilicus, mini tuck is not an option. See a board certified plastic surgeon who can explain the surgery to you.

Need a standard abdominoplasty

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Short answer, NO.  You are only a candidate for a standard abdominoplasty that involves excision of redundant skin and tightening of the underlying fascia.  Do not even consider a mini-abdominoplasty.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Abdominal rejuvenation

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Your photos demonstrate significant muscle issues with diastasis recti. By simply pulling the skin in a reverse abdominoplasty will tighten the skin, but it will not correct the umbilicus or the protruding deep tissue.

I think your best option is a traditional tummy tuck as this will address every issue of your abdomen (excess skin, umbilical hernia and rectus diastasis) and give you a MUCH better result. 

Brian J. Lee, MD
Fort Wayne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.