Exercise may not shift baby bump

Exercise alone may not shift loose skin and flab caused by pregnancy stretching

This year a number of our patients will be feeling a whole lot better on the beach after undergoing one of the fastest growing cosmetic surgery procedures – the tummy tuck.

Many of them are mums, who opted for a ‘mum-tum-tuck’ after being left stretched, flabby and unhappy after pregnancies. Others have worked hard to lose excess weight only to find themselves with an apron of impossible to shift flabby skin around their middles.

Whatever brought them to our clinics, they all had one thing in common – they were unhappy with the appearance of their bodies and in many cases felt ashamed or embarrassed to strip off, even in front of loved ones.

One of our patients, Kay, underwent eight surgeries – including partial bowel removal and a hysterectomy – in four years. The procedures, and subsequent battle with weight after being put on steroids, left her with terrible scarring, baggy skin around the middle and suffering depression.

Kay told us: “I hated my tummy so much I would not get undressed in front of my husband. I became really self-conscious about what I wore and began wearing only baggy body suits. It made me feel drab and depressed.”

For Kay, surgery was a last resort. She had done well losing weight, ate a healthy diet and exercised regularly. But nothing changed the stretched, sagging skin around her middle that left her feeling self-conscious and miserable.

As with so many of our patients, Kay stresses that the surgery did not just change how she looked it changed how she felt.

“It has given me back my confidence. I used to love dancing before all my problems but for years if I went out I would sit in a corner, arms crossed over my middle, trying not to be noticed. Now I am back on the dancefloor again. No more shrinking violet for me, I am really confident again and it feels wonderful.”

Kay’s story highlights just why tummy tuck surgery is fast becoming one of the most sought after cosmetic surgery procedures. It is not about trying to look perfect, for most people undergoing this surgery it is putting right a problem that has been bothering them for a long time – and one they cannot do anything about without surgery.

Surgery can improve stretch marks as well as flatten the tummy, as with this patient

Surgeon Dr Teresa Bernabeu, who consults at Medcare, says: “Once the skin and muscle of the abdominal area have been stretched and torn beyond a certain point, there is no going back. Diet and exercise will simply not address the problem. I see this all the time with women whose skin and muscles have stretched to the limit through pregnancy, and with patients who have successfully slimmed down from obesity. The simple fact is that the only thing that will make a difference in these cases is surgery.”

And it’s not just for women. One of our male patients says: “The consequences of being obese followed by a weight loss of four stone (64lbs or 29 kilos) over two years meant that I was left with excess skin and fat on my tummy.”

With surgery the only solution, he chose to see Dr Bernabeu. Six weeks post op he is thrilled that he did.

“The operation was very successful and I am delighted with the results. There was a small amount of pain – which was controlled – and some expected discomfort, but all-in-all I look and feel a million times better for having had the procedure.”

Tummy tuck surgery – otherwise known as abdominoplasty – is a major surgical procedure. However, advances in recent years mean that recovery times are now faster and complications fewer.

tummy tuck man

Overhanging aprons of flesh can be removed, as with this patient

The surgery itself involves making an incision from hip to hip, usually below the bikini line. Excess fat and skin are removed and remaining skin and muscles pulled taught to create a tighter, flatter stomach. As an added benefit, stretch marks may be reduced, or even eliminated, as they are taken away with excess folds of skin.

Depending on the amount of fat and the individual clinical needs of the patient, liposuction may be used as part of the procedure.

For best results and safety it is important that you choose an experienced surgeon. You should get a chance to meet your surgeon and have your questions answered before deciding whether to go ahead. We always offer free consultations with the surgeon so you can find out if abdominoplasty is right for you, what results you can expect and how the procedure will be conducted.

To book a free tummy tuck consultation with Dr Bernabeu, just call us on 966 860 258 or email doctors@medcarespain.com