Medical Benefits of a Tummy Tuck – Abdominoplasty Health Benefits
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgery that removes excess fat and skin from your abdominal region. The goal of this surgery is to achieve a tighter, flatter, and more defined abdomen. While a tummy tuck is often performed for cosmetic purposes, an overwhelming amount of clinical studies suggests that it also offers a broad range of medical benefits.
What is Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgical procedure that is done to remove extra fat and skin from your abdomen. There are two popular types of Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty:
- Firstly, there is a full tummy tuck, this involves tightening the muscles and removing excess skin to achieve a more toned abdomen. A full tummy tuck is best performed in overweight and obese patients with severe sagging of the abdominal skin.
- Secondly, is the Mini (skin only) tummy tuck, this tightens the lower abdomen and removes the protruding skin in the area. A mini tummy tuck is recommended for patients with mild skin sagging of the lower abdomen.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Guide
Read more about Tummy Tuck Surgery
What causes excess Abdominal Fat and a bulging belly?
Abdominal fat or belly fat is usually caused by the following:
- Alcohol consumption: Increased alcohol consumption causes weight gain and fat build-up around the stomach. 
- Genetics: Unfortunately, those that have a family history of obesity, are more likely to gain more abdominal fat.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Being physically inactive can increase your risk of developing belly fat.
- Stress: High-pressure situations cause you to release more cortisol (stress hormone). This in turn stimulates your appetite, resulting in “stress eating.” 
- Unhealthy food selection: Sweet foods and drinks like cakes, candies, juice, and sodas are the main cause of obesity. This can lead to increased amounts of belly fat. Eating a high-carb diet can also contribute to increased abdominal fat.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck?
The procedure is not for everyone so your surgeon will first conduct a detailed health assessment during your initial consultation. This not only helps achieve optimal results but also reduces the risk of complications. In general, the following are considered good candidates for the procedure:
- People who are in good health: Heart disease, diabetes, or serious medical conditions can increase the risk of complications.
- Non-smokers: Smoking not only increases the risk of tissue damage but also slows the healing process.
- People who have had significant weight loss: The procedure can help remove excess or loose skin in the abdomen resulting from a major weight loss.
- People who have undergone liposuction: The procedure can help remove loose skin associated with the removal of fat.
- Those who have abdominal fat that doesn’t respond to diet and exercise: People with this condition may consider tummy tuck as a last resort.
- Women who don’t plan to get pregnant: Pregnancy after the procedure will stretch your skin and muscles.
- Women who have had enough children: This is perfect for women who have loose and weak abdominal wall due to previous pregnancies.
- People with realistic expectations: The procedure also has its limitations and may not meet all of your cosmetic goals.
How is Tummy Tuck performed?
How the procedure is performed will depend on the type of tummy tuck that you have. In addition, the type of anaesthesia that you receive will also depend on your surgeon and the results you desire.
During a full tummy tuck procedure;
- Firstly, the incisions will be made around your belly button to expose the muscles.
- Secondly, your surgeon will tighten the muscles with sutures.
- Then, the remaining skin will be repositioned and
- Finally, your belly button will also be sutured in place.
A mini tummy tuck is less complex because it doesn’t involve repositioning your navel, it only needs an elliptical shape incision (just above your pubic hairline) to expose your abdominal muscles.
- Your surgeon will adjust the position of your muscles to tighten them, they will also remove excess skin, if necessary.
- Then, the remaining skin is stretched downwards to achieve a flatter and firmer abdomen.
Whether it’s full or partial, the procedure involves placing two small tubes below the cut to help prevent fluid accumulation beneath your skin. The entire procedure usually takes between two to three hours to complete, however, this depends on a number of factors.
Pros and Cons of a Tummy Tuck
What are the Cons of a tummy tuck?
Before having a tummy tuck, there are some important things that you should keep in mind like the disadvantages of the procedure. These include the following:
- Unfortunately, a tummy tuck cannot prevent the effects of ageing on your abdominal region.
- It should also be noted that the outcome of the procedure will vary from patient to patient and depends on several factors. For Example; age, body type, and desired results.
- The surgery has its risks and complications.
- If you are planning to get pregnant in the future you should not have the procedure.
- You need to maintain a healthy weight because weight gain can affect the results of the procedure.
- And, you will have a permanent scar in your abdominal region.
What are the Pros of a tummy tuck?
The procedure offers the following advantages:
- It can be combined with other cosmetic procedures like liposuction to improve your results.
- Not only can it boost your self-confidence, but it can also improve the quality of your life.
- In addition, it can help restore a flatter and firmer tummy.
- This in turn allows patients more freedom in their choice of clothing.
- And, last but not least, it offers permanent results.
What are the Medically Proven Health Benefits of a Tummy Tuck?
Help Reduce Back Pain
Evidence suggests that a tummy tuck can help relieve back pain. In a study of 214 patients from nine centres;
- First of all, all methods of abdominoplasty resulted in a significant improvement in the functional symptoms of low back pain. 
- While for patients who had an excessive drooping belly and hernia, abdominoplasty produced satisfactory elimination of back pain. 
- And in a study of patients who had abdominoplasty, researchers also observed significant improvements in chronic back pain. 
Repairs Abdominal Wall Hernias
Studies also support the beneficial effects of tummy tuck on abdominal wall hernias (weakness of abdominal wall muscles).
- Firstly, patients who underwent hernia repair with abdominoplasty found the procedure reduced the recurrence of hernia with a low risk of complications. 
- Whilst, in patients with umbilical hernia, full abdominoplasty treated the condition without any complications. 
- And lastly, patients who had hernia repair combined with abdominoplasty had a significant improvement in symptoms. 
Improves Body Posture
Studies also show that tummy tuck can help achieve a good body posture.
- In patients affected by excess abdominal skin who had abdominoplasty, improvement in posture, (as evident by the advancement of the head and shoulders) was observed after 1 year. 
- Researchers concluded that this improvement was due to increased self-confidence.
- In women who had abdominoplasty, the procedure also improved body posture, this was evident by improvements in vertebral-column angles. 
- Moreover, researchers reported that this improvement was achieved by tightening the thoracolumbar fascia, a muscle found in the back.
Helps Urinary Incontinence
A good deal of evidence also supports the benefits of tummy tuck on urinary incontinence or unintentional passing of urine.
- In a study of patients from nine centres, all methods of abdominoplasty resulted in a significant improvement in the functional symptoms of urinary incontinence. 
- In addition, for those patients who had an excessive drooping belly and hernia, the abdominoplasty reduced their symptoms of urinary incontinence after 14 months. 
- While for those patients with stress urinary incontinence, the abdominoplasty improved their body contour and alleviated symptoms of the disorder. 
Improves Overall Quality of Life
A convincing number of studies also found that tummy tuck has a positive impact on the quality of life of patients.
- In a study of patients who had abdominoplasty, researchers observed a significant improvement not only in the quality of life and self-esteem of patients but also on their emotional stability. 
- Most patients had high scores in the different tests assessing the quality of life such as Questions on Life Satisfaction, the Rosenberg Self -Esteem Questionnaire, and the Freiburg Personality Inventory.
- While, in a study assessing the impact of abdominoplasty on the quality of life and psychological status of obese patients, a significant improvement in these parameters was also observed. 
- Most patients who had the surgery reported not only improved quality of life and psychological status but also better sexual relations, and a higher satisfaction rate.
- In another study that focused on assessing the effects of abdominoplasty on the quality of life and psychological status of women with symptoms of an eating disorder, researchers observed significant improvements in the different aspects of health. 
- Patients who had the surgery reported improvements in not only their body satisfaction and self-esteem but also their sexual function.
- Patients reported improvements in their general quality of life as well as, their Mental health and symptoms of eating disorders.
Furthermore, in a study assessing the impact of abdominoplasty on the quality of life of women, significant improvements in body image, self-esteem, and mental health were found at 1-6 months after the surgery.  Whereas, the above improvements were not observed in women who did not undergo the procedure.
It can also help prevent Skin Problems associated with Sagging Abdominal Skin
- Evidence shows that tummy tuck does not only improve abdominal contour but also helps prevent skin problems that sagging skin can cause.
- Furthermore, a study assessing the effects of abdominoplasty on obese, elderly females found that the surgery reduced the incidence of skin problems like intertrigo.
- Intertrigo is a condition that can be characterized by the presence of skin rashes that are a result of sagging skin constantly rubbing. 
Do you lose weight after a tummy tuck?
- The results of the procedure may vary, in general, you can achieve a weight loss of around a few kilograms.
- This is mainly due to the removal of the excess skin.
Does a tummy tuck make your waist smaller?
- Yes, this is due to the fact that during the procedure excess fat and skin is removed from your abdomen, which in turn makes your waist smaller.
Does a tummy tuck lift your pubic area?
- Yes, during a tummy tuck an elliptical shape incision is made just above your pubic hair, this allows your surgeon to tighten the muscles in the area.
How long do the results of a tummy tuck last?
- How long your result last largely depends on you and how you care for your body
- If you maintain a healthy weight, the results can last for several years.
- However, it cannot prevent the effects of ageing on your abdominal region.
Is getting a tummy tuck worth it?
- Without a doubt, yes the procedure not only boosts your self-confidence but also offers a wide array of medical benefits.
Suggested Further Reading
Medical References for Tummy Tuck Surgery Benefits
- Firstly, Traversy G, Chaput JP Alcohol Consumption and Obesity: An Update Curr Obes Rep 2015;4(1):122-130. doi:10.1007/s13679-014-0129-4 Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4338356/.
- Secondly, Hewagalamulage SD, Lee TK, Clarke IJ, Henry BA Stress, cortisol, and obesity: a role for cortisol responsiveness in identifying individuals prone to obesity Domest Anim Endocrinol 2016 Jul;56 Suppl:S112-20. doi: 10.1016/j.domaniend.2016.03.004. Epub 2016 Mar 31. PMID: 27345309. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27345309/.
- Thirdly, Taylor DA, Merten SL, Sandercoe GD, Gahankari D, Ingram SB, Moncrieff NJ, Ho K, Sellars GD, Magnusson MR Abdominoplasty Improves Low Back Pain and Urinary Incontinence Plast Reconstr Surg. 2018 Mar;141(3):637-645. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000004100. PMID: 29481394. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29481394/#:~:text=Conclusion%3A%20Abdominoplasty%20with%20rectus%20repair,back%20pain%20and%20urinary%20incontinence.
- Then, Petrakis I, Xenaki S, Andreou A, Panagiotakis G, Chalkiadakis G Therapeutic abdominoplasty: Report of a case Int J Surg Case Rep 2015;8C:96-99. doi:10.1016/j.ijscr.2015.01.039. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4353935/.
- Soteropulos CE, Edinger KM, Leibl KE, Siebert JW Improvement in Back Pain Following Abdominoplasty: Results of a 10-Year, Single-Surgeon Series Aesthet Surg J 2020 Nov 19;40(12):1309-1315. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjaa032. PMID: 32003775; PMCID: PMC7676454. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32003775/.
- Also, Robertson JD, de la Torre JI, Gardner PM, Grant JH 3rd, Fix RJ, Vásconez LO Abdominoplasty repair for abdominal wall hernias Ann Plast Surg 2003 Jul;51(1):10-6. doi: 10.1097/01.SAP.0000054240.21252.64. PMID: 12838119. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12838119/.
- Dean RA, Dean JA, Matarasso A. Secondary Abdominoplasty: Management of the Umbilicus after Prior Stalk Transection. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2019 Apr;143(4):729e-733e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005415. PMID: 30921121. Retrieved https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30921121/.
- Moreno-Egea A, Campillo-Soto Á, Morales-Cuenca G. Does Abdominoplasty Add Morbidity to Incisional Hernia Repair? A Randomized Controlled Trial. Surg Innov. 2016 Oct;23(5):474-80. doi: 10.1177/1553350616646480. Epub 2016 Apr 28. PMID: 27130646. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27130646/#:~:text=Conclusions%20Postoperative%20in%2Dhospital%20stay,quality%20of%20life%20when%20indicated.
- Mazzocchi M, Dessy LA, Di Ronza S, Iodice P, Saggini R, Scuderi N. A study of postural changes after abdominal rectus plication abdominoplasty. Hernia. 2014 Aug;18(4):473-80. doi: 10.1007/s10029-012-1015-1. Epub 2012 Nov 8. PMID: 23132640. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23132640/.
- Temel M, Türkmen A, Berberoğlu Ö. Improvements in Vertebral-Column Angles and Psychological Metrics After Abdominoplasty With Rectus Plication. Aesthet Surg J. 2016 May;36(5):577-87. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjv257. Epub 2016 Jan 12. PMID: 26764262. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26764262/.
- Carruthers KH, Kocak E, Hulsen JH, McMahan JD. Improvement in stress urinary incontinence after abdominoplasty. Aesthet Surg J. 2014 Sep;34(7):1091-8. doi: 10.1177/1090820X14544023. Epub 2014 Jul 29. PMID: 25073582. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25073582/.
- Papadopulos NA, Staffler V, Mirceva V, Henrich G, Papadopoulos ON, Kovacs L, Herschbach P, Machens HG, Biemer E. Does abdominoplasty have a positive influence on quality of life, self-esteem, and emotional stability? Plast Reconstr Surg. 2012 Jun;129(6):957e-962e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31824ecc2b. PMID: 22634693. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22634693/.
- Lazar CC, Clerc I, Deneuve S, Auquit-Auckbur I, Milliez PY. Abdominoplasty after major weight loss: improvement of quality of life and psychological status. Obes Surg. 2009 Aug;19(8):1170-5. doi: 10.1007/s11695-009-9883-x. Epub 2009 Jun 11. PMID: 19517201. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19517201/.
- Saariniemi KM, Salmi AM, Peltoniemi HH, Helle MH, Charpentier P, Kuokkanen HO. Abdominoplasty improves quality of life, psychological distress, and eating disorder symptoms: a prospective study. Plast Surg Int. 2014;2014:197232. doi: 10.1155/2014/197232. Epub 2014 Nov 24. PMID: 25506426; PMCID: PMC4259081. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25506426/.
- de Brito MJ, Nahas FX, Barbosa MV, Dini GM, Kimura AK, Farah AB, Ferreira LM. Abdominoplasty and its effect on body image, self-esteem, and mental health. Ann Plast Surg. 2010 Jul;65(1):5-10. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e3181bc30f7. PMID: 20467297. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20467297/.
- Finally, Wollina U, Heinig B, Nowak A Treatment of elderly patients with advanced lipedema: a combination of laser-assisted liposuction, medial thigh lift, and lower partial abdominoplasty Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 2014;7:35-42. Published 2014 Jan 23. doi:10.2147/CCID.S56655. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3904776/.