Abdominoplasty. Tummy tuck. Apronectomy.

As a result of post-pregnancy changes, most women simply cannot completely “flatten” their abdominal area despite rigorous exercise and dietary control. Part of the reason for this is the irrecoverable stretch of the abdominal skin which exists in the majority of the population. The other less known reason is the irrecoverable stretch of the underlying Rectus Abdominis (“six pack”) muscle, known as rectus diastasis. Irrecoverable, that is, other than from surgical correction!

As the foetus grows within the uterus and causes expansion of the entire abdomen of a pregnant woman, the rectus muscle is stretched in all directions, including sideways. Because the tissue that encompasses the muscle is not elastic (that is, it doesn’t spring back), once the stretch has occurred, it remains in that position. A good analogy of this anatomical finding is to consider a corset that wraps around and gives shape to the waist of the woman wearing it. If the corset looses it’s elasticity, it can no longer retain it’s function of giving shape to the waist. This is why, in the majority of cases, post-pregnancy women will have a less curved waist as compared to their pre-pregnancy state.

A standard abdominoplasty should always include repair of the underlying musculature. Failure to repair the muscle back to an anatomical position risks giving a less than optimal result after an abdominoplasty. Although removal of excess skin and fat in itself will improve the appearance, tightening the muscle will further enhance the natural contour of the waist.

Much of plastic surgery has to do with restoring the face and body to as close as possible to a pristine state, and to mend what nature and the wears and tears of life has brought. Abdominoplasty is no exception.