Our tummy – and hips – is the area of predilection of small localized and stubborn fat deposits, often causing hang-ups. Sagging skin following pregnancy, changes in weight or just passing time, excess fat and lax abdominals, when exercise and good nutrition are not enough it is possible to correct these defects and recover a flat stomach with surgery.
Let’s take a look at the different techniques available for men and women and their indications for a flatter, more harmonious stomach.
Why do we tend to store fat around the tummy?
Unfortunately, it is genetic and an issue for both men and women. Although men have a greater tendency to acquire visceral fat, both sexes tend to store fat around the abdomen. This fat, often deep – known as steatomery – is particularly stubborn and is more severe in some individuals depending on their morphology, in the same way as saddlebags or the fat on the thighs and knees in women.
After one or more pregnancies, a small bulge can linger even if you are slim and have a balanced healthy lifestyle.
The skin of the body is also susceptible to aging and loss of tone. Thus over time, following one or more pregnancies, weight loss or gain, these localized fat deposits can contribute to skin slackening to varying degrees, even resulting in what is known as an « apron belly ».
Although non-invasive body contouring techniques – cryolipolysis, radiofrequency or electrostimulation – are sometimes enough to lastingly firm the tummy and eliminate minor bulges, surgery is sometimes the only lasting solution to recover a more elegant and shapely silhouette.
Tummy liposuction to eliminate excess fat
Abdominal liposuction is a common and rapid aesthetic procedure with excellent results that bring patients great satisfaction. Furthermore, only small incisions are made leaving minor scars (3 to 4 mm). In some cases, it can even be carried out under local anesthesia or with mild sedation.
A very fine cannula is inserted under the skin to suck out the excess fat. The quality of the skin is fundamental: if it is firm and very elastic, liposuction alone can be enough. However, with sagging, damaged tissue, and excess skin, redraping the skin using Renuvion (an appliance that heats and thus tightens the tissues from the inside) or even a lift – abdominoplasty – will be necessary.
With lax muscles (except for diastasis), I recommend core muscle building sessions to my patients.
Liposuction is not a slimming method: it lastingly reshapes the tummy but weight loss is generally minimal (even inexistent). So your weight must be stable before any operation and even more so after.
An abdominoplasty to recover a flat, firm tummy
As mentioned previously, an abdominoplasty is indicated when there is a considerable amount of excess skin that requires skin redraping (or simply a tummy lift). This redraping of the damaged, stretched skin can also be combined with liposuction of the abdomen, hips (love handles), and/or back (360° liposuction). Moreover, if you have diastasis (separation of the vertical abdominal muscles, after a pregnancy), this defect can be corrected during the abdominoplasty.
As the skin is tightened, an abdominoplasty requires an incision that is made horizontally along the pubic hairline (like a large Caesarean scar) and is thus hidden by underwear. With normal healing, it is almost invisible and in any case, it can be hidden using micropigmentation techniques.
The procedure is longer than tummy liposuction alone and is performed under general anesthesia.
A body lift for a more comprehensive impact on the silhouette
Generally indicated in people who have lost a lot of weight following a diet or obesity surgery (gastric band, gastrectomy sleeve or bypass), a body lift is a 360° (circular) repairing aesthetic procedure that aims to remedy excess skin and fat around the tummy, hips, back but also the buttocks and thighs.
The incision is circular and goes right around the lower abdomen. It is also concealed under underwear and remains quite inconspicuous. However, it is important to carry out the necessary post-operative care and keep it out of the sun for at least 12 months.
It is the most invasive surgery of the three and often requires several days in hospital as the recovery phase is longer.
Cryolipolysis: an alternative to liposuction for small tummy bulges
A non-invasive, non-surgical method of body remodeling, lipolysis using cold is ideal to treat a « small tummy ». Cryolipolysis is intended for slim patients with a small bulge who do not wish to undergo surgery. In one single session, it is possible to remodel the area using cold, eliminating approximately 30 to 40% of the fat cells. The results are not immediately visible, you have to wait for around 6 to 8 weeks and the final result can be seen after 3 to 6 months.
Liposuction, tummy lift, or gentle methods such as cryolipolysis, I will advise you on the best approach during the consultation depending on your case, your expectations, and your constraints.